July 16th is a special day each year on the BDT calendar as it is the day the first flight of the Bronco took place.

This year was even more special as it was exactly 50 years ago that the OV-10 Bronco prototype, BuNo 162879, first took the skies in the hands of Capt. USNR Ed Gillespie at around 11EST from the North American Rockwell plant in Columbus, Ihio.

In order to appropriately commemorate the occasion Invicta Aviation Ltd. put on a festive formation together with two other company Short Skyvan aircraft, planning an arrival at world’s the largest military airshow, the Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) at Fairford, UK. The landing was planned at about the same time as the first flight occurred 50 years earlier.

We had been in contact with Mr. Gillespie in the weeks leading up to RIAT and had even extended an invitation to him to join us as our guest of honour. It was sadly not to be as with his failing health Ed sadly passed away the week before on July 9th. Hence we carried flowers and an “In Memoriam” plaque to RIAT in his honour.

Many thanks to pilots Dan Griffith, Peter Thompson and Bruno Van Waeyenberghe (T6 photoship) for an excellent show and Norm Webster and Tom Gibbons of RIAT for the planning.


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