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G-ONAA "99+18" North American Rockwell OV-10B Bronco c/n 338-3 - German AF - Oostwold Airport in Holland - 24 May 2015 German Air Force

The North American Rockwell OV-10 Bronco is a twin engined turboprop light attack and observation aircraft. It was developed in the 1960s by North American Aviation (NAA) through the United States Marine Corps Light Armed Reconnaissance Aircraft (LARA) program, to meet the requirement for a dedicated counter-insurgency (COIN) aircraft. Convair produced the Convair Model 48 Charger and North American Aviation produced the NA-300 to meet the requirement for the light attack and observation aircraft that could operate from short and rugged runways. In August 1964, the North American Aviation NA-300 was announced as the winner of the LARA competition. In October 1963, a contract for seven YOV-10A prototypes emerged from the development of the NA-300. On 16 July 1965, the first YOV-10A prototype (No. 52879) Bronco flew first. The performance of the YOV-10A resulted in 1966 in a production contract for the OV-10A Bronco. The initial Bronco production model, the twin engined North American Aviation OV-10A Bronco was powered by two 660 hp Garrett Airesearch T76-G-410/412 series turboprops. The pilot and co-pilot sat in tandem in a full-windowed cockpit. The fuselage nacelle featured a cabin area at rear with space for two medical litters and one medical attendant or five combat-ready infantrymen. The OV-10A Bronco proved itself during the Vietnam War, mainly in the FAC (Forward Air Control) and helicopter escort role. The North American Rockwell OV-10B and OV-10B(Z) were both target tugs produced for Germany, the latter fitted with a General Electric J85-GE-4 small single-shaft turbojet engine on the top of the hull. Eighteen aircraft were delivered in the late 60's to the Feral German Air Force. These OV-10B Broncos were equipped with target towing equipment inside the fuselage. A clear dome replaced the rear cargo door and a rear seat was installed in the cargo bay to look backwards out of the dome. Designations for the OV-10C, OV-10E and OV-10F models were all for export to Thailand, Venezuela and Indonesia respectively and all based on the OV-10A production model.  The OV-10M was a modified OV-10A model for the Philippines Air Force. In March 1967, North American Aviation merged with Rockwell-Standard, and the merged company became known as North American Rockwell. In 1973, the company changed its name to Rockwell International and named its aircraft division North American Aircraft Operations.Production of the Bronco ended in April 1976 with 356 OV-10 aircraft built.

To replace the ageing Hawker Sea Fury aircraft in service as target towing aircrafts with the Deutsche Luftfahrt Beratungsdienst (DLB) from Lübeck-Blankensee, the Federal German government decided to ordered six OV-10Bs and twelve OV-10B(Z)s. The OV-10B(Z) carried an additional thrust General Electric J85-GE-4 turbojet, pylon mounted above the centre of the wing. A clear dome replaced the rear cargo door. The rear seat was moved to the cargo bay to look backwards out the dome. The target towing version for West Germany had no armament with c/n 338-1 / 18 were produced by North American Columbus, Ohio, under BuNo. 158292 / 158309. The aircraft were initially registered with the MBL (Materialprufstelle der Bundeswehr für Luftfahrgerät) registrations D-9545 / D-9562. From 1976, the German Bronco's received the Luftwaffe FDG (Flugziel Darstellungs Gruppe) 99+16 / 99+33 registrations. In active service with the Luftwaffe FDG, OV-10B 99+19; 99+22 and 99+23 were written off. From the1990s, the Bronco was replaced as target tug by the Pilatus PC-9 and all fifteen OV-10B aircraft were retired. Most of them ended their life in various museums or as instructional airframe, however some were kept airworthy and still show their performance during airshows.

On 24 May 2015, the 1971-built North American Rockwell OV-10B Bronco 99+18 was seen during the Oostwold Airshow 2015 at Oostwold Airport in the Netherlands. As can be seen on the image, this Bronco has a clear dome with a rear seat that gives a great view backwards. The North American Rockwell OV-10B Bronco c/n 338-3 was built under USA BuNo.158294 and registered D-9547 in West Germany. In 1976, the aircraft was re-registered as 99+18. In 1990, the 99+18 was withdrawn from service with FDG. In 1991, the Bronco was flown to Flugplatz Schwenningen to find a place in the 'Internationales Luftfahrtmuseum Pflumm' in Villingen-Schwenningen, that was founded in 1988. This museum, situated next to Schwenningen airfield (EDTS), is a privat museum founded and owned by Manfred and Margot Pflumm. On 28 June 2006, Schwenningen-am-Neckar was hit by a heavy thunderstorm with very fierce hail which damaged around 90% of the collection and even fully destroyed parts of the hangars and exhibits. As a result of the damage, the museum was in acute need for money for its rebuild. When Markus Rheinländer of the German Wing of the OV10 Bronco Association visited the museum to take some pictures of 99+18 for the Association’s website, he heard about the problems of the museum. To provide Manfred and Margot Pflumm the money for the rebuild of the museum, the idea came up to buy the Bronco and make it airworthy. The idea was worked out and an inspection of the 99+18 that followed gave as result that the idea of restoring this Bronco was realistic and the Bronco was bought the same year. Although the preparations for the restoration started already in late 2006, it would take until June 2011 before the actual restoration of the 99+18 began. On 30 november 2011, the aircraft was registered G-ONAA in the UK with Invicta Aviation Ltd., as owner. When the restoration work of the OV-10B under the leadership of Tony De Bruyn was finished and engine runs performed, the British CAA inspected the aircraft and a ferry permit was issued under its new registration G-ONAA. On 29 May 2012, Bronco G-ONAA started its ferry flight to the UK. In February 2014, Bronco 99+18 (G-ONAA) rolled out the paintshop. On 2 March 2014, with her restoration complete, OV-10B Bronco G-ONAA "99+18" was flown to her new home Kortrijk-Wevelgem airport in Belgium and added to the Bronco Demo Team’s fleet. In the winter 2014/2015, the aircraft received "Royal Bavarian Air Force" titles and colors. This Royal Bavarian Air Force scheme was already applied to 99+18 in the early 1980's, when the aircraft was based at München-Riem. When seen at Oostwold the OV-10B Bronco G-ONAA "99+18" was flown by the OV-10 Bronco display pilot, Tony De Bruyn.

page last updated: 21-06-2015
Copyright © Jack Wolbrink, Emmen, the Netherlands

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