Over the past couple of years, WarbirdsNews has been reporting on efforts in Europe by the Bronco Demo Team to resurrect a trio of ex-Luftwaffe North American OV-10B Bronco target tugs. On November 25th, their third Bronco, “99+26”, made its first flight following a decade-long restoration program in Duxford, England. It was a momentous occasion for all concerned, and soon after the aircraft flew to the Bronco Demo Team’s base at Kortrijk-Wevelgem in Belgium. While the aircraft is flying again, it will still need several months of additional work to bring her up to display status. The Bronco will also receive a brand new paint job, returning her to as close to factory-fresh condition as the day she rolled of the production line in Columbus, Ohio nearly a half century ago.
The former West German Air Force OV-10B Bronco (now licensed as G-BZGL on the British civil registry) first arrived at Duxford on September 13, 2001. She had flown to England following retirement from the Luftwaffe technical school in Fassberg, Germany. The aircraft’s restoration has required considerable work to repair the Battle Damage Repair patches and other injuries she received while serving as a training aid in Fassberg. As would be expected, the restoration also involved the thorough inspection, overhaul and/or repair of the aircraft’s engines, systems, flight controls, propellers and undercarriage.
Following the additional work, “99+26” is expected to join her sibling “99+18” on the air show circuit in 2016. WarbirdsNews wishes to congratulate all at the Bronco Demo Team and the restoration crew in Duxford for a remarkable accomplishment in resurrecting an unsung hero of the Cold War. Here’s to a successful flying future for the two Broncos!