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U.S. Bureau of Land Management BLM Broncos
The OV-10 Bronco: Made in the USA!!

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The federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) used to fly a fleet of seven OV-10As as firefighting lead aircraft, using the built-in smoke system to mark the proper path for tanker aircraft to fly over the fire. They were also used for land survey work, with camera and video equipment installed. They were basically flown in a standard military condition, with deactivated ejection seats. The BLM Bronco program suffered problems with obtaining parts, and the program was deactivated early in 1999 for mostly political reasons. The BLM Broncos were transferred to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CDF), where they fly in essentially the same role, however they have been reworked and modernized extensively. See our CDF pages for more thorough information on this successful program.

Random data point:

BLM aircraft N97LM was formerly a USMC aircraft, manufacturer's serial number 305-66M37 (The Nov. 99 issue of Warbirds International lists it as 305-66W.) It was manufactured in 1967 and carried BuNo 155426, and was a YOV-10 prototype. This plane is now a spare for the CDF Thanks to Kevin Stalder and Jack L. Durham (via Chuck Burin and Jim Hodgson.)
Here is a (probably partial) list of BLM Broncos, based on the list on the CDF page.


FAA       MANUF.       BUREAU
REG.      NO.          NO.


N646                   68-3825
N685      305-72M
N91LM                  68-3811
N93LM                  67-14615
N94LM                  63-3816 (Destroyed in crash 6/10/97)
N95LM                  67-14612
N97LM     305-66W (305-66M37?)


  Group: BLM010     Description: Bruce Heise BLM pics
The next fifteen photos come to us from an "inside source"!!! Bruce Heise is "a geologist for the National Park Service in Denver with a side interest (OK, obsession) with interesting looking aircraft." How fortunate for us that he is also a photographer! This good series of pictures of the BLM Bronco was taken at Centennial airport near Denver Colorado in 1994 and is provided to the Gallery courtesy of the National Park Service, Geologic Resources Division. I will let Bruce tell the details in his own words (I edited it together from two different emails but the words are all his):
I am a geologist for the National Park Service in Denver with a side interest (OK, obsession) with interesting looking aircraft. The Bronco has long been one of my favorites. About 1994, when the BLM acquired several for fire fighting duties, one was converted to a "photography platform". A variety of still and video cameras were installed and operated from the rear seat, including a video camera and a Hasselblad large-format camera installed in the clear bubble on the bottom rear of the main fuselage. The video camera was controlled by the box you see mounted on the floor of the rear seat, between the observer's legs. He had real time control, capable of moving and panning both cameras with a small joystick. The video was displayed on the monitor.

At that time, a huge expanse of BLM land in Southern California was transferred to NPS management, now called the Mojave National Preserve. There were, and are, something like 10,000 mines, mining claims, glory holes, pits, etc, and our office [The National Park Service - MSW] was looking for a relatively fast way to inventory all of them. Although it was a Bureau of Land Management project, the Park Service office contracted with them to fly a pilot study over the Mojave Preserve trying to get a preliminary inventory of abandoned mine sites. I remembered reading in a BLM publication about the converted Bronco and we were able to contact them in Boise. The photography crew arranged to meet with us at Centennial Airport just south of Denver. We spent an afternoon with them and eventually contracted to have them perform some preliminary work over the Preserve. I know that some flights were done and we received images, but a debate over funding killed the project. The last I heard from the OAS officer in the Colorado State BLM office was that the entire concept of a air photo platform was abandoned, the photographic gear was removed, and the plane reverted back to FAC for fires. That would have been around late 1995 or early 1996.

When the plane was at Centennial, I did a pretty thorough walk around with both 35mm slides and a Hi-8 video. I'd be more than happy to share all of it with you.

All you scale model buffs out there will probably love this color scheme. Well, here is the walkaround!

 
BLM OV-10A Left Front
ID: 70 GROUP: BLM010 - 01
PIC 1 (No Description) W=380  H=258   44KB
  Pix/USCivil/BLM/blm_ov10a_heise_01_left_front_1.jpg
PIC 2 None
PIC 3 None
A/C 1 OV-10A N91LM
A/C 2 N/A  
A/C 3 N/A  
A/C 4 N/A  
DATE 1994 LOCATION Centennial airport near Denver, CO
SENT BY Bruce Heise PHOTO BY Bruce Heise
WEB URL N/A
POSTED May 1998
         
This BLM OV-10A is shown at Centennial Airport near Denver Colorado in 1994. Photo provided to this site courtesy of the National Park Service, Geologic Resources Division. Photo taken (and provided to us) by Bruce Heise.

BLM OV-10A Left Front
ID: 71 GROUP: BLM010 - 02
PIC 1 (No Description) W=376  H=253   43KB
  Pix/USCivil/BLM/blm_ov10a_heise_02_left_front_2.jpg
PIC 2 None
PIC 3 None
A/C 1 OV-10A N91LM
A/C 2 N/A  
A/C 3 N/A  
A/C 4 N/A  
DATE 1994 LOCATION Centennial airport near Denver, CO
SENT BY Bruce Heise PHOTO BY Bruce Heise
WEB URL N/A
POSTED May 1998
         
This BLM OV-10A is shown at Centennial Airport near Denver Colorado in 1994. Photo provided to this site courtesy of the National Park Service, Geologic Resources Division. Photo taken (and provided to us) by Bruce Heise.

BLM OV-10A Front View
ID: 72 GROUP: BLM010 - 03
PIC 1 (No Description) W=380  H=253   17KB
  Pix/USCivil/BLM/blm_ov10a_heise_03_front.jpg
PIC 2 None
PIC 3 None
A/C 1 OV-10A N91LM
A/C 2 N/A  
A/C 3 N/A  
A/C 4 N/A  
DATE 1994 LOCATION Centennial airport near Denver, CO
SENT BY Bruce Heise PHOTO BY Bruce Heise
WEB URL N/A
POSTED May 1998
         
This BLM OV-10A is shown at Centennial Airport near Denver Colorado in 1994. Photo provided to this site courtesy of the National Park Service, Geologic Resources Division. Photo taken (and provided to us) by Bruce Heise.

BLM OV-10A Right Front
ID: 73 GROUP: BLM010 - 04
PIC 1 (No Description) W=374  H=253   18KB
  Pix/USCivil/BLM/blm_ov10a_heise_04_right_front_1.jpg
PIC 2 None
PIC 3 None
A/C 1 OV-10A N91LM
A/C 2 N/A  
A/C 3 N/A  
A/C 4 N/A  
DATE 1994 LOCATION Centennial airport near Denver, CO
SENT BY Bruce Heise PHOTO BY Bruce Heise
WEB URL N/A
POSTED May 1998
         
This BLM OV-10A is shown at Centennial Airport near Denver Colorado in 1994. Photo provided to this site courtesy of the National Park Service, Geologic Resources Division. Photo taken (and provided to us) by Bruce Heise.

BLM OV-10A Right Front
ID: 74 GROUP: BLM010 - 05
PIC 1 (No Description) W=382  H=247   17KB
  Pix/USCivil/BLM/blm_ov10a_heise_05_right_front_2.jpg
PIC 2 None
PIC 3 None
A/C 1 OV-10A N91LM
A/C 2 N/A  
A/C 3 N/A  
A/C 4 N/A  
DATE 1994 LOCATION Centennial airport near Denver, CO
SENT BY Bruce Heise PHOTO BY Bruce Heise
WEB URL N/A
POSTED May 1998
         
This BLM OV-10A is shown at Centennial Airport near Denver Colorado in 1994. Photo provided to this site courtesy of the National Park Service, Geologic Resources Division. Photo taken (and provided to us) by Bruce Heise.

BLM OV-10A Right Front
ID: 75 GROUP: BLM010 - 06
PIC 1 (No Description) W=378  H=250   16KB
  Pix/USCivil/BLM/blm_ov10a_heise_06_right_front_3.jpg
PIC 2 None
PIC 3 None
A/C 1 OV-10A N91LM
A/C 2 N/A  
A/C 3 N/A  
A/C 4 N/A  
DATE 1994 LOCATION Centennial airport near Denver, CO
SENT BY Bruce Heise PHOTO BY Bruce Heise
WEB URL N/A
POSTED May 1998
         
This BLM OV-10A is shown at Centennial Airport near Denver Colorado in 1994. Photo provided to this site courtesy of the National Park Service, Geologic Resources Division. Photo taken (and provided to us) by Bruce Heise.

BLM OV-10A Right Side
ID: 76 GROUP: BLM010 - 07
PIC 1 (No Description) W=375  H=250   15KB
  Pix/USCivil/BLM/blm_ov10a_heise_07_right.jpg
PIC 2 None
PIC 3 None
A/C 1 OV-10A N91LM
A/C 2 N/A  
A/C 3 N/A  
A/C 4 N/A  
DATE 1994 LOCATION Centennial airport near Denver, CO
SENT BY Bruce Heise PHOTO BY Bruce Heise
WEB URL N/A
POSTED May 1998
         
This BLM OV-10A is shown at Centennial Airport near Denver Colorado in 1994. Photo provided to this site courtesy of the National Park Service, Geologic Resources Division. Photo taken (and provided to us) by Bruce Heise.

BLM OV-10A Right Rear
ID: 77 GROUP: BLM010 - 08
PIC 1 (No Description) W=377  H=258   17KB
  Pix/USCivil/BLM/blm_ov10a_heise_08_right_rear_1.jpg
PIC 2 None
PIC 3 None
A/C 1 OV-10A N91LM
A/C 2 N/A  
A/C 3 N/A  
A/C 4 N/A  
DATE 1994 LOCATION Centennial airport near Denver, CO
SENT BY Bruce Heise PHOTO BY Bruce Heise
WEB URL N/A
POSTED May 1998
         
This BLM OV-10A is shown at Centennial Airport near Denver Colorado in 1994. Photo provided to this site courtesy of the National Park Service, Geologic Resources Division. Photo taken (and provided to us) by Bruce Heise.

BLM OV-10A Rear View
ID: 78 GROUP: BLM010 - 09
PIC 1 (No Description) W=374  H=244   18KB
  Pix/USCivil/BLM/blm_ov10a_heise_09_rear_1.jpg
PIC 2 None
PIC 3 None
A/C 1 OV-10A N91LM
A/C 2 N/A  
A/C 3 N/A  
A/C 4 N/A  
DATE 1994 LOCATION Centennial airport near Denver, CO
SENT BY Bruce Heise PHOTO BY Bruce Heise
WEB URL N/A
POSTED May 1998
         
This BLM OV-10A is shown at Centennial Airport near Denver Colorado in 1994. Photo provided to this site courtesy of the National Park Service, Geologic Resources Division. Photo taken (and provided to us) by Bruce Heise.

BLM OV-10A Left Rear
ID: 79 GROUP: BLM010 - 10
PIC 1 (No Description) W=382  H=253   16KB
  Pix/USCivil/BLM/blm_ov10a_heise_10_left_rear_1.jpg
PIC 2 None
PIC 3 None
A/C 1 OV-10A N91LM
A/C 2 N/A  
A/C 3 N/A  
A/C 4 N/A  
DATE 1994 LOCATION Centennial airport near Denver, CO
SENT BY Bruce Heise PHOTO BY Bruce Heise
WEB URL N/A
POSTED May 1998
         
This BLM OV-10A is shown at Centennial Airport near Denver Colorado in 1994. Photo provided to this site courtesy of the National Park Service, Geologic Resources Division. Photo taken (and provided to us) by Bruce Heise.

BLM OV-10A Cargo Door
ID: 80 GROUP: BLM010 - 11
PIC 1 (No Description) W=257  H=379   15KB
  Pix/USCivil/BLM/blm_ov10a_heise_cargo_area_1.jpg
PIC 2 None
PIC 3 None
A/C 1 OV-10A N91LM
A/C 2 N/A  
A/C 3 N/A  
A/C 4 N/A  
DATE 1994 LOCATION Centennial airport near Denver, CO
SENT BY Bruce Heise PHOTO BY Bruce Heise
WEB URL N/A
POSTED May 1998
         
This is a close-up of the cargo door, showing the camera mount underneath the fuselage. Photo provided to this site courtesy of the National Park Service, Geologic Resources Division. Photo taken (and provided to us) by Bruce Heise.

BLM OV-10A Video Camera Installation
ID: 81 GROUP: BLM010 - 12
PIC 1 (No Description) W=389  H=262   14KB
  Pix/USCivil/BLM/blm_ov10a_heise_vid_cam_plat_1.jpg
PIC 2 None
PIC 3 None
A/C 1 OV-10A N91LM
A/C 2 N/A  
A/C 3 N/A  
A/C 4 N/A  
DATE 1994 LOCATION Centennial airport near Denver, CO
SENT BY Bruce Heise PHOTO BY Bruce Heise
WEB URL N/A
POSTED May 1998
         
This is the video camera and protective bubble used on the Bronco, located under the rear fuselage. This photo was taken at Centennial Airport near Denver Colorado in 1994. Photo provided to this site courtesy of the National Park Service, Geologic Resources Division. Photo taken (and provided to us) by Bruce Heise.

BLM OV-10A Video Camera Monitor Installation
ID: 82 GROUP: BLM010 - 13
PIC 1 (No Description) W=384  H=265   16KB
  Pix/USCivil/BLM/blm_ov10a_heise_vid_cam_monitor_1.jpg
PIC 2 None
PIC 3 None
A/C 1 OV-10A N91LM
A/C 2 N/A  
A/C 3 N/A  
A/C 4 N/A  
DATE 1994 LOCATION Centennial airport near Denver, CO
SENT BY Bruce Heise PHOTO BY Bruce Heise
WEB URL http://www.nps.gov
POSTED May 1998
         
Here is the monitor used by the camera operator to aim the camera. Photo provided to this site courtesy of the National Park Service, Geologic Resources Division. Photo taken (and provided to us) by Bruce Heise.

BLM OV-10A Video Camera Controller
ID: 83 GROUP: BLM010 - 14
PIC 1 (No Description) W=384  H=259   33KB
  Pix/USCivil/BLM/blm_ov10a_heise_vid_cam_control_1.jpg
PIC 2 None
PIC 3 None
A/C 1 OV-10A N91LM
A/C 2 N/A  
A/C 3 N/A  
A/C 4 N/A  
DATE 1994 LOCATION Centennial airport near Denver, CO
SENT BY Bruce Heise PHOTO BY Bruce Heise
WEB URL N/A
POSTED May 1998
         
This is the controller for the video camera. Photo provided to this site courtesy of the National Park Service, Geologic Resources Division. Photo taken (and provided to us) by Bruce Heise.

BLM OV-10A Instrument Panel
ID: 84 GROUP: BLM010 - 15
PIC 1 (No Description) W=380  H=260   30KB
  Pix/USCivil/BLM/blm_ov10a_heise_instrument_panel_1.jpg
PIC 2 None
PIC 3 None
A/C 1 OV-10A N91LM
A/C 2 N/A  
A/C 3 N/A  
A/C 4 N/A  
DATE 1994 LOCATION Centennial airport near Denver, CO
SENT BY Bruce Heise PHOTO BY Bruce Heise
WEB URL http://www.nps.gov
POSTED May 1998
         
Here is a good detail shot of the rear instrument panel. Photo provided to this site courtesy of the National Park Service, Geologic Resources Division. Photo taken (and provided to us) by Bruce Heise.

  Group: BLM040     Description: Scott Richey - N94LM

 
ID: 86 GROUP: BLM040 - 01
PIC 1 Small W=665  H=333   80KB
  pix/uscivil/blm/blm_ov10a_richey_n94lm_small.jpg
PIC 2 Large W=1963  H=1088   452KB
  pix/uscivil/blm/blm_ov10a_richey_n94lm_large.jpg
PIC 3 None
A/C 1 OV-10A N94LM
A/C 2 N/A  
A/C 3 N/A  
A/C 4 N/A  
DATE Unknown LOCATION CDF aircraft maintenance and fire response base, Mather Airport, Sacramento CA
SENT BY Scott Richey PHOTO BY Scott Richey
WEB URL N/A
POSTED August 27, 1998
         
Here's a shot of N94LM courtesy Scott Richey.

ID: 87 GROUP: BLM040 - 02
PIC 1 Small W=429  H=300   77KB
  pix/uscivil/blm/blm_ov10a_richey_turbo_detail_richey_small.jpg
PIC 2 Large W=1933  H=1352   161KB
  pix/uscivil/blm/blm_ov10a_richey_turbo_detail_richey_big.jpg
PIC 3 Detail W=245  H=263   33KB
  pix/uscivil/blm/blm_ov10a_richey_turbo_detail_richey_detail.jpg
A/C 1 OV-10A Unknown
A/C 2 N/A  
A/C 3 N/A  
A/C 4 N/A  
DATE August 5, 1995 LOCATION CDF aircraft maintenance and fire response base, Mather Airport, Sacramento CA
SENT BY Scott Richey PHOTO BY Scott Richey
WEB URL N/A
POSTED August 27, 1998
         
Here is a Scott Richey picture of the right-side Garrett-AiResearch turbine from an OV-10A (probably N94LM) undergoing maintenance. This view is looking outboard from the center of the aircraft. The plane was in the CDF hangar and had been rebuilt and repainted in the red/black and white colors of the CDF, as they inherited BLM's fleet.

 
BLM OV-10A
ID: 66 GROUP: None
PIC 1 (No Description) W=459  H=300   40KB
  Pix/USCivil/BLM/blm_ov10a_flying_1.jpg
PIC 2 None
PIC 3 None
A/C 1 OV-10A Unknown
A/C 2 N/A  
A/C 3 N/A  
A/C 4 N/A  
DATE Unknown LOCATION Unknown
SENT BY Associated Airtanker Pilots' website PHOTO BY Unknown
WEB URL http://airtanker.com/aap/ov10.htm
POSTED 1998
         
This aircraft is owned by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. This picture was found at http://airtanker.com/aap/ov10.htm on the Associated Airtanker Pilots' website, although that address now has a picture of a CDF aircraft (visible on that page.) Unfortunately I cannot make out the N-numbers clearly in this photo, but the BLM operated several A-model Broncos in similar color schemes. These aircraft were used for aerial survey work, and also as firefighting lead planes (a role that continues today, all the BLM planes having gone to CDF.) The Bronco would find a good path to fly to attack the fire, then mark it using a smoke system (originally used to help fighter pilots find the Bronco FACs during an combat.) The aerial tankers then fly along the smoke trail to drop their load accurately on the fire. Neat, eh? :-)

BLM OV-10A
ID: 67 GROUP: None
PIC 1 (No Description) W=260  H=349   55KB
  Pix/USCivil/BLM/blm_ov10a_flying_2.gif
PIC 2 None
PIC 3 None
A/C 1 OV-10A Unknown
A/C 2 N/A  
A/C 3 N/A  
A/C 4 N/A  
DATE Unknown LOCATION Unknown
SENT BY Arizona Flyways website PHOTO BY Unknown
WEB URL http://www.amug.org/~azfly
POSTED 1997
         
This picture accompanied an article originally appearing on the Arizona Flyways magazine website - check 'em out, lots of aviation info there!!

OV-10A - BLM - N93LM
ID: 68 GROUP: None
PIC 1 (No Description) W=497  H=190   14KB
  Pix/USCivil/BLM/blm_ov10a_n93lm_ramp_1_burin_blm14615.jpg
PIC 2 None
PIC 3 None
A/C 1 OV-10A N93LM, USAF 14615
A/C 2 N/A  
A/C 3 N/A  
A/C 4 N/A  
DATE Unknown LOCATION Unknown
SENT BY Chuck Burin PHOTO BY Chuck Burin
WEB URL N/A
POSTED 1998
         
Chuck Burin provided this original photo of BLM Bronco N93LM on the ramp, showing lots of details about this eye-catching airplane's color scheme. In a former life I believe this aircraft was USAF number 14615.

BLM OV-10A with C-130
ID: 69 GROUP: None
PIC 1 (No Description) W=360  H=272   51KB
  Pix/USCivil/BLM/blm_ov10a_with_c130_headon_1.gif
PIC 2 None
PIC 3 None
A/C 1 OV-10A Unknown
A/C 2 C-130 Unknown
A/C 3 N/A  
A/C 4 N/A  
DATE Unknown LOCATION Unknown
SENT BY Jack L. Durham PHOTO BY Unknown
WEB URL http://www.id.blm.gov/iso/932/fire/aviation/ov10.htm
POSTED May 1998
         
Jack L. Durham lead us to this photo of a BLM OV-10A and a C-130 Hercules in formation.

BLM OV-10A Crash Site
ID: 85 GROUP: None
PIC 1 (No Description) W=597  H=448   100KB
  Pix/USCivil/BLM/blm_ov10a_hollister_ca_crash.jpg
PIC 2 None
PIC 3 None
A/C 1 OV-10A Unknown
A/C 2 N/A  
A/C 3 N/A  
A/C 4 N/A  
DATE June 1997 LOCATION 22 miles SE of Hollister, CA
SENT BY Unknown PHOTO BY Unknown
WEB URL http://www.oas.gov/OASSAFTY/mishaps/holliste.htm
POSTED 1997
         
This picture of an OV-10A crash was found at the site http://www.oas.gov/OASSAFTY/mishaps/holliste.htm. This OAS (Office of Aircraft Services) aircraft (ie, it was operated for the Bureau of Land Management) crashed on June 10, 1997, 22 miles southeast of Hollister California in VFR Flight conditions, killing the pilot, David Kyle. Official word is that it was the result of pilot error. Refer to investigation NTSB No. LAX97GA205 for more information.

On a personal note, I have been in communication with Mr. Kyle's daughter, April Hunter, and apparently he was an extremely experienced pilot. From what I know, it was probably just a small moment of something going wrong, which goes to show that sometimes fate does bad things even to the best of pilots. However, for those of us who have flying in our blood like Mr. Kyle, it's unthinkable not to fly. The possibility of dying young in an airplane is far better than even the thought of never knowing and experiencing the feeling of leaving the ground as often as possible!!


 

 
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