April 1, 2004: Citing a desire to keep the OV-10 Bronco fleet flying rather than to see them scrapped due to potential budget cuts, NASA recently announced that on April 1, 2004, it would transfer its entire fleet of OV-10s to the OV-10 Bronco Association (OBA).
| Maintenance crews prepare Bronco 524 for Thursday's ceremony. (NASA Photo) |
NASA administrator Sean O'Keefe is scheduled to turn over the keys to the first Bronco, N524NA, during an invitation-only ceremony to be held at 10AM Thursday morning at Langley Research Center in Hampton, VA.
In order to help celebrate this new chapter of Bronco history, the State Department and California Department of Fire will perform several flyovers during the ceremony, involving a total of eight Broncos - four D models and four A models. This is a very rare lineup to say the least. NASA will also have a Bronco participating in the lineup, which will represent all current domestic Bronco operators. There will also be tributes to the Bronco's military service, including the dropping of Army Rangers by parachute, shortf-ield operation demonstrations, and possibly a live-fire rocket demonstration. (Please note, all flight operations are dependent upon weather and range operations schedules.)
The OBA will pay NASA a symbolic fee of $1.00 to "purchase" the four OV-10s, which they plan to pay for with quarters... "Not just any quarters, mind you, but state quarters representing the states most involved in the OV-10's career," said NASA Langley Spokesman Garrett Ahresirch. These will include Ohio (where the OV-10 was built, and one of the locations that NASA has operated OV-10s from), Florida (where much training took place, as well as the current DOS operation base), California (home to CDF's large fleet of firefighting Broncos, and site of several military bases), and Texas (home of the OBA and the place where the NOS/NOGS system was developed.)
The ceremony will also feature a live introduction and words of welcome from the crew of the International Space Station. NASA-TV will carry the two-hour ceremony on a tape delay, check your cable or satellite provider for details.
More information and photos of the ceremony can be found at http://www.larc.nasa.gov/pao/events/releases/apr04/bronco-xfer-ceremony.html