The Birth of the Bronco

The constant challenge when it comes to air to air photography is never finding a subject, plenty of pilots want to go fly, but rather finding the right photo platform to use for the photo mission. There are many good aircraft that can be used but of the best is also one of the hardest to get a hold of. The North American built OV-10 Bronco was developed in the 1960’s as a turboprop light attack and observation platform. It’s first flight was today fifty nine years ago. It was designed to be used practically anywhere. With a short takeoff and landing ability and a rugged, easily repairable design, this plane was built to land on a carrier, a beach, a jungle or even a country road. It had enough fuel, with external tanks, for 5 1/2 hours of flight time. It’s underbelly was built to carry a multitude of weapon payload allowing for multipurpose operations during Vietnam. The one set back to the aircraft was it’s lack of power when at max weight. Pilots often struggled to climb when loaded down.

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It’s unique abilities did not included when built it’s versatility as an air to air platform, if one could be found. The back hatches can be popped off allowing for a clear field of vision, without heat exhaust from the engines behind the aircraft. Fifty nine years ago this wasn’t the intent when the plane first flew, but as history has shown us not everything is used for its designated purpose.

Not Every Warbird is a Racer

One of the great delights of working with planes is seeing planes come back to life after being derelict or not maintained over the years. The National Aviation Heritage Invitational started up in 1999 in conjuncture with Rolls Royce, Reno Air Racing Foundation and the National Aviation Hall of Fame. An award is given to multiple categories of aircraft restoration with the grand prize, the Neil A. Armstrong Aviation Heritage Trophy, being given out to one individual and there restoration project. All the aircraft below were part of various restoration categories. The Travel Air 6000 and Super Cobra both won in their categories.

Dad, Brent and I stood at the fence down at heritage a lot more this year than in the past. After the heats in the day the static display planes would fly in after hours. It was rather perfect for us. There was always great light on the aircraft as they flew in which made them more desirable to photograph.

In the Camera Bag:
Nikon D3, 200-400VRII, Sunbounce Sun-sniper “Steel” Strap, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film

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