You might or might not have heard of the saying “Behind every great build is a great team”. In this case, it takes a squadron. The guys at OV-10 Squadron have been restoring the legendary OV-10 Bronco back to its former glory. For years, the team has put in the time and effort into restoring these epic warbirds. The team aims to have these iconic fleet of aircraft returned to their natural luster, much like how it rolled out of the assembly line back in ‘69. They see to it that the planes could once again soar and maneuver across the skies like a 9900-pound, reinforced, metal butterfly, capable of delivering its sting like a true light-armed, rocket-launching, payload-dropping, bullet-resistant bee even without any offensive measures ready.
The build team at OV-10 Squadron is composed of a handful of people, all of whom have their own specialties. John is one of our members here at the site. He used to work with the OV-10 Broncos in the Marines back during Operation Desert Storm. His deep knowledge about the warbirds makes him one of our assets for the project build. He works with the team and sees to it that every work done on the OV-10s is accurate.
Freddie, on the other hand, mostly handles metal work and riveting. With Jose, they work on the body of the aircraft, doing patchwork where necessary and fabricating components needed for the body. Paul works with Phil prepping the plane’s body; they also work on disassembling the plane for further procedures.
Paul has a mechanical background and works with the local aerospace museum when he’s not at the site. His mechanical skills are broad, ranging from aircraft restorations to military vehicles as well. He heads the motor pool down at the Planes of Fame Air Museum in Chino, California and enjoys working with tanks, ambulances and bikes as much as he enjoys working on the OV-10.
If there’s anything to know about the progress of the build, Brian’s your go-to guy. Brian works alongside the team and contributes with the mechanics and hydraulic components of the plane. He owes his mechanical skills from a Korean War veteran. Having restored a P-51 Mustang back in the day, he’s now currently providing his skills with the restoration of the OV-10 Bronco.
Matt is in charge of delegating the tasks required. He also screens the people who want to pitch in with the effort. As stated before, some drop by without prior experience to restoring planes. As long as they merge well with the rest of the team and don’t mind getting their hands dirty, they’re more than welcome to join the cause. It generally doesn’t matter how skilled a would-be member is, as long as they have the drive and passion for these planes.
The team has come a long way since being a five-man team. We’re seeing more and more people showing interest in the restoration of OV-10. And even though each team member has their own specializations, the restoration provides them with the opportunity to develop other skills. A team member might work on painting though he usually works on fabrication. If there’s anything they need doing, each member voluntarily pitches in.
The restoration itself is not a walk in the park. Every component has to be accurate and sturdily built to meet the requirements the team has set out – to have a fully restored plane that can also perform as well as it looks. Planes aren’t like cars where one could pull it on the side of the road if it breaks down. The restoration team cannot afford a breakdown during flight or they risk the safety of the pilot as well as wasting all their efforts in the project. That is why it is imperative that the team makes the plane work flawlessly. With this goal set for the OV-10 squadron, the team takes their time to make the OV-10 sky-worthy, and as Brian would state it: “it has to be done right, not right now.”
The restoration of the OV-10 Bronco is currently in progress, if you want to know more about the plane and the project, you can leave a message through our Contact page and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible. You can also drop by our headquarters located in the Leading Edge Avionics Hangar at John Wayne/Orange County Airport. The restoration hangar is located at Chino Airport, California. So if you have the skills and the passion for aircraft and would want to be a member of the OV-10 squadron crew, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.