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The National Aeronautics and Space Administration operates several OV-10s of various models for aeronautics research. These aircraft previously flew with both the U.S. Air Force and Marines, although one A model was officially a Navy machine that had been flown only by North American for testing. Another airframe is the first production OV-10A. NASA Broncos have operated from the Lewis Research Center (now known as Glenn Research Center) in Cleveland, OH since early 1984. Number N524NA has flown out of Langley Research Center in Hampton, VA since Sept. 3, 1991. The USAF has also participated in many joint research projects with NASA, as has the Bose Corporation.

Primary areas of research involving the OV-10 at Glenn Research Center are related to noise and acoustical research, while at Langley OV-10 research has been centered around wake vortex research and now has moved to the CERES atmospheric research program. For the aeroacoustic roles, the ability to easily switch the engines on a Bronco to produce any combination of propeller rotation directions between the two engines allows for research to be performed that would be more difficult with other airframes. In addition, the OV-10's propellers always turn at 2,000 rpm, and it has been written that the noise level remains constant whether you are sitting on the ramp at idle or are cruising at maximum speed. In addition to measuring acoustical characteristics inside and outside of the airplane, the Bronco has been used to test airborne voice recognition systems. The wake turbulence research involved flying through the wingtip vortex from a 737. We have vidoes of this and hope to someday convert them to a downloadable format. The CERES program, described more below, involves fitting several unusual pods carrying equipment to measure the atmosphere.

USAF/NASA test program patch, courtesy Brad Byron
Image of voice test program patch courtesy Brad Byron. Click for larger image: WIDTH=376 HEIGHT=290 SIZE=79KB

Image of CERES program patch courtesy Lil Birdie (nunya-dam-bidness@we_aint_tellin.net)

At least one aircraft is in the traditional clean white and blue NASA markings, while most of the other Broncos are still in their military colors and simply have N-numbers and a few other markings added and the service markings painted over. Externally at least, these aircraft are largely unchanged from when they were in military service. The OV-10s large cargo area provides a lot of room for instrumentation packages, and several aircraft have had large removable instrumentation booms added externally to the nose and wings to gather data.

Beginning in 1972, NASA also used the third YOV-10A prototype (registered N718NA, BuNo 152881) to test slowflight systems, including a very unusual system to drastically increase slow-speed performance. This included a large hydraulically-spun rotating cylinder at the leading edge between the added Fowler flaps and wing, which spun between 12-14,000 RPM. Lycoming T-54 turboprop engines, producing more than 1,000 shp each, were fitted with 10-ft, 4 blades composite props. The engines were interconnected by a driveshaft in case of an engine failure, and the aircraft had a short 30-foot wing. The aircraft could fly at 47 knots, but became unstable near 30. This aircraft flew out of Ames Field in California and has been described in Combat Aircraft magazine (Sept. 99) and FlyPast (May 99). This plane is visible in the OV-10 Bronco in Action book and by the summer of 1999, had been completely restored to its original off-the-assembly-line configuration by Richard Rice's team at the Yankee Air Museum, notably with the help of NASA-Lewis's chief Bronco pilot Bill Rieke and NA test pilot Ed Gillespie.

NOTE #1 Some NASA documents mistakenly refer to the "OV-1 OA" Aircraft.

NOTE #2 On March 1, 1999, Lewis Research Center officially changed its name to the John H. Glenn Research Center at Lewis Field. We have implemented the changes recommended by NASA to ensure that links still work with the new domain name... for an undetermined period the old domain (lerc.nasa.gov) will still work, but I have already converted all addresses here to the new domain (grc.nasa.gov)

HERE WE GO AGAIN!! Brian Nicklas of the National Air and Space Museum's Archives Division has done some research on NASA's numbering scheme, and shares it with us:

All NASA civil registrations are of the form NxxxNA, where xxx is the number as described below:

4xx = Wallops
5xx = Langley
6xx = Lewis (nee Glenn)
7xx = Ames (Moffett Field)
8xx = Dryden (aka Edwards)
9xx = Johnson (Ellington Field)

Thus, N524NA is assigned to Langley. Why it skips 1xx, 2xx,and 3xx, we don't know.

To add to the confusion is the NASA negative numbers used to designate NASA photographs. Langley uses L as a prefix. Lewis couldn't use L, and Goddard uses G, so nothing there for Glenn, so they end up using C for Cleveland. Of course, some places add a C for color, so this muddies the water. Headquarters H - uses Year-Designator-Number as in 99-H-123 or color 99-HC-123. Johnson got their photos from starting at Langley as the "Space Task Group", so they use S.


  Group: NAS020     Description: NASA Bronco N524NA: pre-CERES pods

 
OV-10A, NASA Number 524
ID: 31 GROUP: NAS020 - 01
PIC 1 (No Description) W=516  H=305   47KB
  Pix/USCivil/NASA/nasa_ov10a_n524na_flying.gif
PIC 2 None
PIC 3 None
A/C 1 OV-10A NASA 524, N524NA
A/C 2 N/A  
A/C 3 N/A  
A/C 4 N/A  
DATE Unknown LOCATION NASA Langley Flight Research Center, VA
SENT BY Unknown PHOTO BY Unknown
WEB URL http://atopsun.larc.nasa.gov/oeb/ov10.html
POSTED 1996
         
This is NASA Aircraft 524, which has been based at Langley Research Center in Hampton, VA since Sept. 3, 1991. It is a very nice-looking machine if you ask me. This aircraft is formerly USAF serial 67-14687 and was last assigned to the 507th Tactical Air Control Wing at Shaw AFB. One of our sources within the NASA network tells us:
524 was delivered to Langley by the military for use as a airborne test system. One of its current experiments is called CERES (Clouds & the Earth's Radiant Energy System) ... Langley flew 5 data flights in March (1999) with 524. We had a few maintenance problems (#1 prop change, #1 inverter, VHF/AM) but she performed like the lady she is. Some new sensors that are being added include a F-16 drop tank that has been modified with bi-fold doors to protect the down looking sensors and cameras [contained within] until airborne. An enclosure for the up-looking sensors and cameras is being built that will look similar to the jet pod that was on the German OV-10.
See the other entries for pictures of the pods. This particular aircraft has an info sheet (with this picture) at the URL http://atopsun.larc.nasa.gov/oeb/ov10.html. Believe it or not, it originally took me MONTHS of searching to find this, just because there is SOOOOOOOOOOO much stuff on the "Billlionz and billlionzz" of NASA Web sites, as Sagan would have said. (Thanks to NASM's Brian Nicklas for additional info on 524's history.)

OV-10A, NASA Number 524
ID: 33 GROUP: NAS020 - 02
PIC 1 (No Description) W=768  H=341   101KB
  Pix/UsCivil/NASA/nasa_ov10a_n524na_parked.gif
PIC 2 None
PIC 3 None
A/C 1 OV-10A NASA 524, N524NA
A/C 2 N/A  
A/C 3 N/A  
A/C 4 N/A  
DATE Unknown LOCATION NASA Langley Flight Research Center, VA
SENT BY Unknown PHOTO BY Unknown
WEB URL http://mohawk.larc.nasa.gov/ov10.html
POSTED 1996
         
This is a very commonly-seen photo, as NASA OV-10 photos go. It's the same one you find in the Squadron-Signal book, or you can do like I did and contact NASA to send you an original print. Very clean-looking aircraft!!! I got this graphic from the URL http://mohawk.larc.nasa.gov/ov10.html Original prints of this photo and photos of NASA Numbers 615 and 636 were sent to me by the joint efforts of Mr. Brian Beaton and Mr. David DeFelice (thanks again guys!!!)

OV-10A, NASA Number 524
ID: 34 GROUP: NAS020 - 03
PIC 1 (No Description) W=425  H=252   24KB
  Pix/UsCivil/NASA/nasa_ov10a_n524na_overhead.jpg
PIC 2 None
PIC 3 None
A/C 1 OV-10A NASA 524, N524NA
A/C 2 N/A  
A/C 3 N/A  
A/C 4 N/A  
DATE Unknown LOCATION NASA Langley Flight Research Center, VA
SENT BY Unknown PHOTO BY Unknown
WEB URL http://lisar.larc.nasa.gov/LISAR/ABSTRACTS/EL-1996-00055.html
POSTED 1997
         
This is also NASA OV-10A Number 524 and shows a rarely-seen view of the paint job on the inside of the booms. Based on seeing the astronaut's T-38s around here every time they launch a shuttle, this picture shows a shade of blue that I suspect is a bit closer to the truth than the other pictures I have seen of this ship. I got this from an automated NASA picture server at http://lisar.larc.nasa.gov/LISAR/ABSTRACTS/EL-1996-00055.html under the title EL-1996-00055.tiff -it was originally a nice overhead view of much of NASA Langley's aircraft fleet (also including a Boeing 737-100, UH-1H, T-38A, BE-80 Queenaire, U-21A, T-34C, Boeing 757-200, F-16XL) in front of a hangar - but it was a TIFF that was over 16 Megabytes in size!! Paint Shop Pro 4 allowed me to get it down to this. Hopefully you won't think the sharpness suffered too much from the extreme enlargement.

  Group: NAS040     Description: NASA N524NA - with CERES pods

 
OV-10A, NASA Number 524
ID: 32 GROUP: NAS040 - 01
PIC 1 (No Description) W=500  H=330   16KB
  Pix/USCivil/NASA/nasa_ov10a_n524na_flying_ceres_1199.jpg
PIC 2 None
PIC 3 None
A/C 1 OV-10A NASA 524, N524NA
A/C 2 N/A  
A/C 3 N/A  
A/C 4 N/A  
DATE Oct. or Nov. 1999 LOCATION NASA Langley Flight Research Center, VA
SENT BY Name withheld upon request PHOTO BY Unknown
WEB URL N/A
POSTED November 21, 1999
         
This is NASA Aircraft 524, showing off the CERES pods as of November 1999. Our source tells us, "This is the interim flight configuration. We'll have a slightly different look in the spring." Can't wait to see more...

OV-10s, NASA 524 and 636
ID: 35 GROUP: NAS040 - 02
PIC 1 (No Description) W=1280  H=659   170KB
  Pix/USCivil/NASA/nasa_ov10a_n524na_n636na_larc_hangar1.jpg
PIC 2 None
PIC 3 None
A/C 1 OV-10A NASA 524, N524NA
A/C 2 OV-10A NASA 636
A/C 3 N/A  
A/C 4 N/A  
DATE December 2, 1998 LOCATION NASA Langley Flight Research Center, VA
SENT BY Name withheld upon request PHOTO BY Unknown
WEB URL N/A
POSTED August 14, 1999
         
A picture of 524 in the hangar, with 636 in the background (636 is now just used to keep 524 flyable.) This picture was taken before the CERES pods were added.

OV-10A, NASA Number 524
ID: 38 GROUP: NAS040 - 03
PIC 1 (No Description) W=640  H=365   68KB
  Pix/USCivil/NASA/nasa_ov10a_n524na_ov10pod4.jpg
PIC 2 None
PIC 3 None
A/C 1 OV-10A NASA 524, N524NA
A/C 2 N/A  
A/C 3 N/A  
A/C 4 N/A  
DATE July/August 1999 LOCATION NASA Langley Flight Research Center, VA
SENT BY Name withheld upon request PHOTO BY Unknown
WEB URL N/A
POSTED August 17, 1999
         
Another view of the CERES pod on 524.

OV-10A, NASA Number 524
ID: 37 GROUP: NAS040 - 04
PIC 1 (No Description) W=640  H=512   71KB
  Pix/USCivil/NASA/nasa_ov10a_n524na_ov10pod1.jpg
PIC 2 None
PIC 3 None
A/C 1 OV-10A NASA 524, N524NA
A/C 2 N/A  
A/C 3 N/A  
A/C 4 N/A  
DATE July/August 1999 LOCATION NASA Langley Flight Research Center, VA
SENT BY Name withheld upon request PHOTO BY Unknown
WEB URL N/A
POSTED August 18, 1999
         
Head-on view of 524 showing the new pod. That's not an instrumented airflow probe, that's actually the experimental weapon developed in the unsuccessful Pave Pogostick program.

OV-10A, NASA Number 524
ID: 36 GROUP: NAS040 - 05
PIC 1 (No Description) W=640  H=512   53KB
  Pix/USCivil/NASA/nasa_ov10a_n524na_top_pod3.jpg
PIC 2 None
PIC 3 None
A/C 1 OV-10A NASA 524, N524NA
A/C 2 N/A  
A/C 3 N/A  
A/C 4 N/A  
DATE July/August 1999 LOCATION NASA Langley Flight Research Center, VA
SENT BY Name withheld upon request PHOTO BY Unknown
WEB URL N/A
POSTED August 14, 1999
         
Our little birdie passed along this picture of 524, with a new addition (as of July 1999)... two pods used for the CERES (Clouds & the Earth's Radiant Energy System) experiment. Flight tests in March 1999 were undertaken to characterize the flight characteristics of the OV-10 with the pods and adjust the designs to fit this particular aircraft. In October 1999, the real data-gathering flights begin. New sensors include an F-16 drop tank that has been modified with bi-fold doors to protect the down looking sensors and cameras (contained within) until airborne, and the dorsal enclosure for the up-looking sensors and cameras which is similar to the jet pod that was on the German OV-10B(Z) target tugs. Looks kind of neat eh?

  Group: NAS060     Description: NASA N636NA

 
OV-10A, NASA Number 636
ID: 40 GROUP: NAS060 - 01
PIC 1 (No Description) W=638  H=217   67KB
  Pix/USCivil/NASA/nasa_ov10a_n636na_parked.jpg
PIC 2 None
PIC 3 None
A/C 1 OV-10A NASA 636, BuNo 155390, N636NA
A/C 2 N/A  
A/C 3 N/A  
A/C 4 N/A  
DATE Unknown LOCATION Unknown
SENT BY David DeFelice and Brian Beaton PHOTO BY Unknown
WEB URL NASA picture C-84-1056
POSTED 1997
         
This is a parked shot of N636NA, the photo is NASA picture C-84-1056 sent to us via Brian Beaton and David DeFelice of NASA. There is also an enlarged view of the nose of this picture available. This aircraft was the first production Bronco, and formerly participated in acoustic research. It now sits at NASA Langley as a spare parts airframe to help keep N524NA flying. This image was scanned in from an 8x10 print by Mike Whaley, but lower quality scans are available at http://www.grc.nasa.gov/Other_Groups/AFED/facilities/flight.html and http://www.grc.nasa.gov/WWW/AFED/facilities/flight.html

OV-10A, NASA Number 636 Nose Detail
ID: 41 GROUP: NAS060 - 02
PIC 1 (No Description) W=756  H=369   133KB
  Pix/USCivil/NASA/nasa_ov10a_n636na_nose_detail.jpg
PIC 2 None
PIC 3 None
A/C 1 OV-10A NASA 636, BuNo 155390, N636NA
A/C 2 N/A  
A/C 3 N/A  
A/C 4 N/A  
DATE Unknown LOCATION Unknown
SENT BY David DeFelice and Brian Beaton PHOTO BY Unknown
WEB URL NASA picture C-84-1056
POSTED 1997
         
This is from NASA Photo C-84-1056 of OV-10A, registered as N636NA. This aircraft was the first production OV-10, and was used in the official acceptance ceremony in Columbus, OH in February 1968. The nose boom is instrumented to gather data about the free-stream airflow ahead of the aircraft, such as velocity, angle of attack and yaw via the vanes visible near the front of the boom.

David DeFelice at NASA sent me a nice 8 by 10 print of this photo which I scanned in to get this - thanks David! :-) Information about NASA-Lewis OV-10s and their research, as well as a lower-quality version of this picture, is available at the following URLs: http://www.grc.nasa.gov/Other_Groups/AFED/facilities/flight.html http://www.grc.nasa.gov/WWW/AFED/facilities/flight.html

(Note: I have seen this aircraft identified as an OV-10D, however to the best of my knowledge it was never upgraded to D standard and all indications are that it is about as much of an A model as you can get! If anyone knows differently, please speak up!)

This is, by the way, one of the aircraft involved in the ill-fated Combat Skewer program.


ID: 42 GROUP: NAS060 - 03
PIC 1 Small (with border) W=600  H=445   182KB
  pix/uscivil/nasa/nasa_ov10a_n636na_overhead.gif
PIC 2 Huge (detailed) W=1500  H=1050   467KB
  pix/uscivil/nasa/nasa_ov10a_n636na_overhead_big.jpg
PIC 3 None
A/C 1 OV-10A NASA 636, BuNo 155390, N636NA
A/C 2 N/A  
A/C 3 N/A  
A/C 4 N/A  
DATE Unknown LOCATION Unknown
SENT BY Mike Whaley PHOTO BY Unknown
WEB URL http://www.wl.wpafb.af.mil/flight/fcd/figp/figp1/voice/voice.htm
POSTED 1997
         
This is from the URL http://www.wl.wpafb.af.mil/flight/fcd/figp/figp1/voice/voice.htm which discusses some of the voice-recognition testing done by the USAF with NASA. The OV-10's constant-speed, counter-rotating, interchangeable engines and props (with their resultant constant sound levels) are well suited to acoustical research work. The researchers have found that if the engines are synchronized, but are precisely 180 degrees out of phase to each other acoustically, then each engine's sound will largely cancel out that of the other and produce a very quiet airplane!

The large, very detailed version of this picture was originally obtained from http://www.grc.nasa.gov/WWW/Photo_Lab/imagenet/images/archive/aircraft/ov10_h.jpg.


 
OV-10D, NASA Number 615
ID: 39 GROUP: None
PIC 1 (No Description) W=481  H=350   77KB
  Pix/USCivil/NASA/nasa_ov10d_n615na_bottom_left.jpg
PIC 2 None
PIC 3 None
A/C 1 OV-10D+ NASA 615, BuNo 155436, N615NA
A/C 2 N/A  
A/C 3 N/A  
A/C 4 N/A  
DATE Unknown LOCATION Unknown
SENT BY David DeFelice and Brian Beaton PHOTO BY Unknown
WEB URL NASA picture C95-4434
POSTED 1997
         
This OV-10D is NASA number 615 and bears Bureau Number 155436. It was being used for fiber-optics, 3-D audio, and speech recognition studies, but was flown to Patrick AFB and transferred to the State Dept. OV-10 program in early in 2000. This is NASA picture number C95-4434. Notice that the sponsons are removed, and it appears that foil tape has been used to cover the hole for wiring. This is an ex-Marine OV-10D+ formerly of VMO-4. Another picture of this ship can be seen in the Squadron-Signal book on pages 21, 26 and 49. I scanned this in from an 8 by 10 copy of the photo sent to me courtesy Mr. DeFelice, but I haven't seen it on the Web yet anyplace but here (so far!) (NOTE: This entry was previously listed incorrectly as 155435.)

Click to view movie
ID: 43 GROUP: None
PIC 1 (No Description) W=0  H=0   868KB
  Pix/USCivil/NASA/nasa_ov10_movie.mpg
PIC 2 None
PIC 3 None
A/C 1 Unknown Unknown
A/C 2 N/A  
A/C 3 N/A  
A/C 4 N/A  
DATE Unknown LOCATION Cockpit
SENT BY Unknown PHOTO BY Jim Sims
WEB URL http://www.grc.nasa.gov/WWW/Photo_Lab/scigallery.html
POSTED 1997
         
Neat MPEG movie showing a bit of the inside of a NASA OV-10's cockpit and looking up through the canopy from the back seat. The description says "In air restarts of the Twin Otter's engines were filmed from an OV-10. Filmed by Jim Sims."

 

 
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