Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Another reason that I should not have gone to the airshow

Because, while we were there, I found this way-cool Cessna O-2A.
It's a Vietnam-era observation aircraft that was used extensively as a Forward Air Control (FAC) aircraft.

It has two engines, one in the front and one in the back.
It has twin tail booms to allow for that rear prop.
It also has retractable landing gear, constant-speed propellers, 300lbs of radios (as originally issued), a smoke generator, a gunsight, weapons hardpoints, and an austere but funtional cockpit.
Handicapped placard's a nice touch, eh?

I've been wanting one of these for years, and there are actually some out there that are in my price range if I'm willing to make ramen noodles a large part of my diet for a couple of years.
I knw that a couple of people here whose opinions I respect have done a wonderful job of talking me out of buying the last few O-2's that I found for sale, but this time, the owners were there--a nice husband and wife couple--and they did a pretty good job of dispelling my reservations about getting one. We talked operating costs and theirs seems to be pretty trouble-free and cheap to fly, 22GPH fuel burn excepted. (I could live with that for the increased speed plus the "cool factor", I'm thinking.) Worse--they gave me the contact info for a fellow who is probably the ultimate O-2 "go-to" guy, an A&P who brought most of the ones flying today out of storage at Davis-Monthan and restored them to flying condition. He's close, too, and they think that he can help me find a good one.

Oh, man. That sort of temptation I didn't need.

And then watching it fly...
Yeah, I keep looking at the A&P's number.

I may never be able to afford one of those all-powerful warbirds that brings the thunder to the bad guys on the ground, but maybe I can swing the bird that calls down that thunder and tells the bringers where to put it.


  1. I feel your pain. I want one too.

  2. When you went over the features "as originally loaded" you left off the rocket launchers!!!! How can you leave off the rocket launchers? I mean ROCKET LAUNCHERS!!!!!. A WP marking round could ruin someone's whole day....

  3. How can you not want one? The coolness factor alone...

  4. Ok, Ok, you did mention a gunsight and hardpoints....... But..... ROCKET LAUNCHERS!

  5. You only live once, go for it.

  6. That would be cool.

  7. But remember, that second engine only gets you to the scene of the crash.

  8. Well if it's got ROCKET LAUNCHERS you gotta have it! ;)

  9. Crazy as it seems, as a kid, I liked those bird dogs as much as I did F-4U Corsairs, F-4 Phantoms, and P-47 Jugs. . . I dunno why, they just seemed really cool.


    So if you have the moo laaa do it.

    Maybe even hold a fund raiser here to help a bit.

    But before you do it, go to several other air shows and maybe you will see something you like better!

  11. Loaded a lot of 2.75 FFAR on those puppies at Bien Hoa.
    Always came back. Sometimes with a few new vents, but they came home.

  12. And that one was smoking... All I can say is remember our conversation about corrosion and overstress... But it would be fun!

  13. DoninSacto: Thanks for your service!

    OldNFO: I remember. But that one's supposed to smoke, BTW. The better for the attack aircraft to see it.

  14. Two fans, front and back - gotta be noisy in the cockpit.

  15. So, you want a MixMaster do you? Yes, they are very cool War Birds but???

  16. I remember my Drill Sergeant telling me the nicest words you could ever hear over a radio were, "This is Mac the FAC in the Bluebird of Happiness, whaddya need?"

  17. Anonymous12:47 PM

    Guess I probably shouldn't mention they are a hoot to fly eh.

    I was lucky enough to get a joy ride in one back in '83 when I was TDY to Patrick A.F.B.
    Pilot was cool enough to let me steer (not going to say I actually flew it) for a while. So I can fully understand wanting one; of course, I would need a license to go along with it :(

  18. Ed: The engine noise is drowned out by the sound of pure awesome.

  19. There's one of those that flies out of the Torrance Airport (Zamperini Field) out here.

    LOUD they are!

    And they're not "Rocket Launchers", they're "Launch Rails".

  20. juvat:

    I think that only applies to normal twins. Side mount, off axis in other words. Can you say asymmetrical thrust?

    Shame there weren't a lot of DO-335's found at the end of the war. THAT would be a heck of a twin to play with!

  21. from Wiki: "One Do 335 (registration FE-1012) went to the USAAF and was tested in early 1946 at Freeman Field, Indiana. Its fate is not recorded."

    Now, there is a possible treasure hunt! That Dornier has to be worth a lot, no matter what condition, unless it was turned into beercans.

    Know anyone in Indiana that could be nudged into a bit of historical research? Someone who likes aircraft? Needs a hobby, perhaps? (coughTamcough)