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Category: News - Features (Archived) Created: 10/17/2001 05:35 PM
URL(s):  Updated: 03/23/2002 12:28 PM
GWOBA Returns Two Broncos To The Skies
First flights flawless; Planes to be based in UK
By Tony DeBruyn  &  Mike Whaley
GWOBA's OV-10B G-BZGK arrives at its new home with ARC in Duxford, Oct. 16, 2001 (Collin Swann/ARC photo)

The German Wing of the OV-10 Bronco Association (GWOBA) is proud to announce the successful first flights of both of their OV-10B Broncos. The B-model Bronco was built for the German government for target-tug duties in the late 1970s, serving into the 1980s. GWOBA formed in June 2000 and acquired two OV-10Bs for the purposes of restoring them to operating flight-demonstration status. The airplanes will be operated in cooperation with the Aircraft Restoration Company at Duxford, England.

On September 12, 2001, OV-10B G-BZGL (Serial: 338-11 Old Registration: D-9555 Last Registration: 99+26) took off at exactly 12:00 local time from Fassberg Air Base, Germany, piloted by GWOBA Commander Tony De Bruyn. This was a local test flight, which went to 10,000ft and lasted 41 minutes. De Bruyn said, "No faults whatsoever showed up. The plane flew absolutely flawlessly, although within a limited flight envelope due to the fact that the undercarriage remained locked down." At the end of the flight two touch-and-go landings were executed.

G-BZGK in a picturesque shot during the first flight at Fassberg AFB on Sept. 12, 2001. (Markus Rheinländer photo)

At 3:15 that afternoon, the aircraft made an uneventful one-and-a-half hour flight to Kleine Brogel Air Base in Belgium for refueling. Due to the previous days' terrorist attacks, the UK had imposed a ban on all private flying so there was an overnight stop at Kleine Brogel. After waiting for weather to clear, the aircraft left for the UK at 4PM. One hour and fifteen minutes later it arrived at the coastal airfield at Manston. After clearing customs, the trip continued for another half-hour to Duxford, landing at 4:33 PM local time. Total flying time accumulated on the ferry flight was 3 hours 19 min. in three legs for a distance covered of 447 nm.

Tony De Bruyn was very happy with the airplane's performance. "This Bronco behaved absolutely brilliantly throughout the whole undertaking, no doubt paying a tribute to the designers and builders at North American Aviation (later Rockwell/Boeing) and the engine manufacturer Garrett (Honeywell/Allied Signal). This aircraft is a great piece of kit, it has definitely got the looks and flies like a marvel - as I am now proud to testify."

On the weekend of October 6th, 2001, GWOBA repeated the events of three weeks before and flew the second aircraft into the air as well. G-BZGK (Serial: 338-17 Old Registration: D-9561 Last registration: 99+32) flew successfully as well, but due to bad weather it was held up from making the trip to Duxford until October 16th.

Said GWOBA member Markus Rheinländer, "I am very proud to show these pictures after a period of more than 10 years without an OV-10B in the German sky. It is really great to have them both back in the air."

OV-10B G-BZGL was the second of GWOBA's Broncos to fly. (Markus Rheinländer photo)
The "Without Whom" Dept: GWOBA thanks the following people who have been instrumental in realizing the goal of returning these planes to the air: Danny Nuydens, Jan Possemiers, Markus Rheinländer and John Romain and Nev Gradiner (of the Propshop Ltd). Thanks also go to our hosts at Fassberg: Luft-Sport-Club Fassberg, especially to Klaus Prägler, the aero club's President for the continued support. Furthermore our thanks and appreciation go to all the other individuals and organizations who have provided their help, input and expertise throughout this project - without their help, all this great achievement would not have been possible.

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