CAL FIRE’s OV-10s grounded after prop failure

OV-10 at Redding, CA
OV-10D at Redding, CA August 7, 2014. Photo by Bill Gabbert.

The Press Democrat is reporting that CAL FIRE grounded their 15 OV-10A Broncos Monday morning after a propeller on one of the aircraft failed while the plane was still on the ground.

Cal Fire Battalion Chief Scott McLean said mechanics had been dispatched to check on the fleet and by the afternoon five had been cleared for flying.

The OV-10s are usually used as air attack ships, serving as a platform for the Air Tactical Group Supervisor who coordinates the aviation assets working on a fire.

Some of CAL FIRE’s OV-10s are OV-10Ds that have have upgraded, more powerful engines with about 1,000 more horsepower than the OV-10A, a ramp worker at the Redding Air Attack Base told me last summer. The OV-10D has four props instead of three.

About 360 Broncos were produced between 1965 and 1986 and were retired from the U.S. military in 1995.

One of the OV-10s can be seen in the blurry webcam image at Ramona Air Attack Base.

OV-10 Redding Aug 7, 2014
OV-10A at Redding Aug 7, 2014. Photo by Bill Gabbert.

Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Barbara and Kirk.

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7 thoughts on “CAL FIRE’s OV-10s grounded after prop failure”

  1. Very scary deal. I am so glad it happened during pre-flight run-up. I also hope all inspections go well, it’s not like you can easily go to the aircraft parts store and pick up a new Bronco prop.

  2. That thar more powerful engine……..MIGHT be taxing those props unless those propellers were coupled with those engines during upgrades, sure that will be looked at…

    Good on CalFire and DynCorp being proactive in Aviation Risk Management

    1. Just talked with CDF in Sacramento. Failure happened on “A” Model.
      FYI: OV10A=715 HP, OV10D=1040 HP
      4 blade prop is installed on Marsh OV10D conversion.

  3. The OV10D did have 4 bladed props as shown and are very reliable for the most part. The D would be a big improvement over the A models CAL-FIRE flew. Great airplane for the mission.

  4. The OV10A has 700 HP engines and three bladed props. The OV10D has 1000HP engines and four bladed props.

    The 10A is the primary Air Attack ship, and the D model is used primarily for leading the LAT’s and VLAT’s

  5. The OV-10D is not the primary air attack ships because of maintenance issues. Due to the bigger motor and prop issues, the coupling has to be bore scoped something like every 20 hours.
    Also CDF changed the nose cone on their D models, so they don’t have the drooping nose of the military D.

  6. So how did the prop fail? Can’t anyone ask the question? What happened did the prop not unfeather? Good on the cal fire and dyncorp comon, what was the cause was it maintenance related or a part failure?

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