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Warplanes in Action - The O-2 1969

Warplanes in Action - The O-2 1969

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Published by Matthew X. Hauser

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Published by: Matthew X. Hauser on Mar 19, 2012
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01/13/2013

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T
hemanufacturercalls
it
theSu-perSkymaster.TheAirForcehastagged
it
withthesimpledesig-nation0-2.WhattheVietCongcallsitisunprintable.
It
isacombataircraftbeingused
in
VietnamthatresemblestheLock-heedP-38LightningofWorldWarTwofameandisquietlymakingarecordofitsowninthefighttowinthepeaceinthatwar-tornnation.
With
thetwinboomandtailliketheLightning.it
is
poweredbypush-pulltwinengines.The0-2hasgonerelativelyun-mentionedinthereportsofthewar,butitisever-presentintheskiesoverSoutheastAsia.Thehigh-pitchedwhineoftheenginescanbehearddayandnightcriss-crossingthejun-gleslookingformovementbelow.Thereisgoodreasonwhytheenemyhalestohearthemosquitolikenoise:
If
theforward'aircontrollerflyingthe0-2detectsanyevidenceoftheenemy,fightersarecalledintodestroythetargets.
Icontinued
AIRPROGRESSOCTOBER1969
BYCOL.C.V.GLINES,USAF(RET.)ANDMAI.ROBERTC.MIKESH,USAF
TheaircraftisasfamiliartoStatesidepilotsasitistotheVietCong,forthe0-2,anobservationplaneflownbyforwardaircontrollersinVietnam,isthemilitaryversionoftheCessnaSuperSkymaster,
 
The02
Theuniquestructuralfeaturesofthe
0-2
markthefirsttimesince1938thattherehasbeenamilitaryaircraftbuiltfeaturingtwinboomswithapush-pulltwin-engineconfigu-ration.FokkerintheNetherlandscameforwardthatyearwiththeModelXXIIItwin-enginesingle-seatfighter.Rearenginecoolingandotherproblemshampereddevelopment,andthesoleaircraftwasdestroyedbyaGermanairattackontheFokkerhangarin1940.TheprincipalaiminboththeFok-kerdesignandtheCessnadesignoftodayisdragreduction,butthetan-dempowerplantarrangementoffersseveralotheradvantages,suchastheabilitytocruiseonthepowerofoneenginewithoutseriousyawanddrageffects.TheincreasedprotectionforthepilotprovidedbytheforeandaftenginesintheFokkeraircraftelimi-natedtheneedforextensivearmorprotectionagainstotherfighters;inthe
0-2
thishaslittleeffect,since
Thenew0-2T(above)hasAllison250-B
15
turbopropengines,increasedwingareaandhigh-liftdevicesforbettershort-fieldperformance.Pilotvisibility,isimprovedbyuseofbubblecanopy,andtheversionproposedforthemilitary-the0-2TT-hastandemseating.Survivingbattledamagewasnotoneofthespecificationsfortheoriginalcivilianmodel,butthe0-2(left)hasprovedtobearuggedfighter.
small-armsfirefrombelowisthema-jorconcern.Theneedforanairplanewithgoodtwin-enginecharacteristicsdevelopedoutofexperiencewiththeagingsin-gle-engineCessna
0-1
BirdDog.In-steadofreplacingtheBirdDog,however,the
0-2
complementsit,andtheolderplaneisstayinginthein-ventory.ThespecificrequirementthatledtothenewerplanewasthedifficultandruggedterrainthatisfoundinthenorthernpartofSouthVietnam,designatedICorpsbythemilitary.The
0-1
hadbeenoperatingthereforseveralyears,andwhileitisareliablecraft,enginefailuresinthismountainousareameantal-mostcertaindoomforthecrew.Anewplane,preferablywithtwoen-gines,wasbadlyneededrightaway.TheDepartmentofDefensestartedlookingforaproductionlightplanethatwouldfilltheneeduntilamili-tarymodelwithalltherequiredcapa-bilitiescouldbedesignedandbuilt.TheCessnaAircraftCompanyim-mediatelycameforwardwithapro-posalwhentheDoDdesireswereknown.Theyhadontheirassemblylinesthe1966civilianModel337Su-perSkymaster.Whendemonstrationsprovedthatitcouldperformwellononeengineandpresentednoprob-lemstothepilotwhomayhavehisattentionsintentonactivitiesontheground.themilitarywasveryinter-ested.Furthertestswerearrangedforpilotswhohadflownthe
0-1
incombatandknewwhattheyneededwhenflyinglowoverthejunglesofSoutheastAsia.Theysuggestedthatsomechangesshouldbemadeinthecivilianversionbeforethemilitaryplunkeddownthetaxpayers'money.Themajordrawbacktothecivilianversionwaspilotvisibility,becauseaFACsjobistolookdownonbothsidesoftheaircraft.Theside-by-sidearrangementmeantthatthepilotcouldnotseeverywellouttherightside.
It
couldmeanhemight
 
missenemytargetsontheground.Worstofall,itcouldmeanhislife.Oneofthechangessuggestedwasamodifiedfuselage-narrowerandwithtandemseatinglikethe0-1.Cessnaengineerswerewillingtomakethischangeindesignforthemilitary,butitmeantanunacceptableIS-monthdelay.Tocompensateforthereducedvisibilityoftheoff-the-shelfmodel,transparentfuselagesanddoorpanelswereinstalled.Otherchangesincludedheavierskinforthewings,externalpylonsforholdingrockettubes,andinstrumentchangestocomplywithmilitarystandards.SeveralnewfeatureswereaddedasmilitarySuperSkymastersstarteddowntheCessnaproductionline.Agunsightwasinstalledforsightingrocketstomarkthespotsonthegroundwhereenemyforcesarelo-cated.Asmokegeneratorwasat-tachedtotherearenginetoenabletheFACtoshowhispositiontothefightersflyingabovehim.Whenthese
Above:
All
0·2fliesformationwithearlierFACplane,the0-1BirdDog,alsobuiltbyCessna.BeIOlI':AtDaNang,anAirForce0-2isreadiedjaramission,whileMarineswaitforincomingcargo.

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