Our boney friend enjoying a little stick time around Sleepy Hollow. Happy Halloween!
When we founded OV-10 Squadron, our mission was two-fold. To protect and rebuild as many of these legendary aircraft as possible. And to keep the memories alive of American men and women whose lives were connected to them.
Since we started down our path, we’ve been joined by dozens of other supporters, cheerleaders, and champions. We’ve received thousands of emails from people who love what we’re doing, encouraging us every step of the way.
We’ve also been made well aware that both the OV-10s and those who served around them are departing us at an alarming rate. As part of a growing community of people working together to create legacies from these legends, we’re working at warp speed to save as many aircraft as we can and share the stories of their impact.
Last week, one of the original designers of the OV-10, KP Rice, passed away. It was his vision that helped change the way America tackles missions in hostile environments. And it’s our vision that will ensure his lives on.
Thank you to everyone who has supported us along the way. And to KP Rice for sparking the idea that impacted so many lives. We look forward to continuing our work together.
- Portability. The OV-10 was built so it could be transported on the back of a truck in a standard shipping container, then put back together with a box of ordinary tools stowed in the aircraft itself.
- No Runway Required. Because the Bronco was purpose-built for jungle warfare and environments where clearings were few and far between, it had the ability to use roads as runways. That was all made possible thanks to a compact 20ft wingspan and a heavy trailing arm type landing gear with a tread of 6.5 ft.
- Low and Slow. The twin-turboprop design meant that the aircraft could loiter for extended periods of time, perfect for reconnaissance and close air support.
- Low Cost. High Value. When the OV-10 was called back into active service to combat ISIS, it changed the way we think about aircraft deployment. At just a fraction of the cost per flying hour of the military’s most expensive fighter jets and bombers, the OV-10 proved that it could perform many of the same critical missions but for nowhere near the price tag.
- Versatility. From the desert to the ocean to the jungles of Asia and South America – the OV-10 proved it could handle just about anything the military could throw at it. It could pretty much fly or take off from anywhere and was just as good pounding enemy positions as it was at reporting them. It could even operate on high-octane automobile fuel if necessary with only a slight loss of power.
The Aviation World Lost a Legend Colonel KP Rice (Retired), A Creator of the OV-10, Passes Away in Laguna Beach California
As devoted fans of the OV-10 Bronco and its countless contributions to America’s military, we wanted to honor one of the visionaries who made it all happen; KP Rice. KP Rice passed away on December 25th, but not before leaving a huge mark on the aviation world.
A decorated Colonel in the United States Military, KP retired to develop an aircraft that was badly needed to fill the gap between helicopters and jets during the Vietnam war. The North American Rockwell OV-10 Bronco was born. A twin-turboprop light attack and observation aircraft was developed in the 1960s by KP as a special aircraft for counterinsurgency (COIN) combat, and one of its primary missions was as a forward air control (FAC) aircraft.
To say the OV-10 Bronco was a success would be an understatement. The legendary aircraft was a force that saved countless lives in Vietnam, helped crush drug cartels in South America, and decades after first taking flight was used to hunt down ISIS targets in the Middle East.
In terms of its design, 50 years later there is still nothing like it in the world today. It looks different. It flies differently. And it’s one of the most cost-effective military aircraft the US has ever had in its arsenal. KP Rice didn’t just help create an aircraft, he created a whole new way of tackling the challenge of counterinsurgency combat.
The unparalleled views from the cockpit, compact design, and flexibility to operate just about anywhere are three of our favorite design features of the OV-10. But we’d like to hear from you too. What is your favorite design feature of the OV-10?
In May 2015, the Pentagon initiated a secret program dubbed Combat Dragon II. Its purpose: to test the viability of the low-cost, Vietnam-era OV-10 Bronco in combat scenarios against ISIS.
Enjoy this well-produced documentary by Smithsonian Channel.
Photo: Will Campbell, Reno Air show 2019