The Sky-Rider had been in development and testing for many years before entering service in late AD 2989, alongside the Skyhawk Mk. 2.
The Sky-Rider is believed to be constructed at Reagan/Lubbock, as part of the same construction facility as the Skyhawk Mk. 1 and 2.
The Sky-Rider is a cargo and passenger vehicle built around the Skyhawk Mk. 2 airframe. The Sky-Rider has the same wingspan and motor, but the cockpit and body section is larger and it does not possess a gun. There is room for a pilot and co-pilot, and there is a small cargo bay in the rear of the plane (which, if required, can fit another person inside, and is pressurised for this purpose).
The fatter body section and the typically greater cargo capacity means that the Sky-Rider does not have the built-in range of the Skyhawk Mk. 2, but external fuel tanks can extend its range considerably. Additional fuel can be carried inside the cargo bay if needed.
The Sky-Rider allows for multiple people to be transported by one aircraft. Previously, uncomfortable 'buddy-frames' had to be used to carry people around strapped to the wings of the Skyhawk Mk. 1, which was an unpleasent experience for non-front-line troops who had never been airborne or even above-ground before. The Sky-Rider allows for multiple personnel to be carried in relative comfort. The Rider is also used to deliver top-secret orders and small amounts of cargo to front-line wagon-trains and way-stations.
AMEXICO employs a variation of the Sky-Rider which has a dark-coloured underside and usually flies at night. This variant may also possess other variations as it seems to be a considerably quieter and more stealthy aircraft than the standard Mk. 2. AMEXICO also employs 'listening' aircraft that criss-cross the skies over Ne-Issan collecting intelligence reports from operatives stationed within the country, which may be Sky-Riders or variants thereof.