America lost one of the good ones. One of the designers of the original OV-10 Bronco, KP Rice, passed away over the Christmas holidays. An aviation trailblazer who was also known for his efforts to bring the flying car to a two-car garage near you, we simply can’t thank him enough for his contributions to American innovation.
In honor of that, we’ve put together a list of our Top 5 Things We Love About the OV-10.
- 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.
Of course, there are dozens more great design features, but those are some of our top ones. A sincere thank you to KP Rice for being such a vibrant contributor to America’s military.