Richard A. Osborne

Richard Osborne

Mr. Osborne has an impressive 60+ years of flight experience with over 27,000 hours of total flight time; over 4,000 hours of that as a flight instructor, and over 1,500 hours in seaplanes. Richard Osborne served his country flying the YO-3A Quiet Star airplane and logged over 600 hours of direct combat support flights during his tour of duty in the Vietnam War with the 73rd SAC, 1st Aviation Brigade (1970 – ’71). He also logged a few hours in the O-1 in Vietnam. Richard separated from the U.S. Army in 1972 with the rank of CW-2.

Richard Osborne’s impressive military and civilian flight experience includes:

  • Eastern Air Lines Pilot (prior to draft into Vietnam War).
  • YO-3A Army/Lockheed stealth plane Pilot in Vietnam
  • O-1 Pilot in Vietnam
  • Eastern Air Lines Pilot
  • World Airways Pilot
  • Specializes in amphibious seaplane operations and antique and warbird aircraft operations
  • Pilot of C-47 “D-Day Veteran” Skytrain for a Florida museum
  • Pilots ferry flights of single and multi-engine aircraft across the North Atlantic and to South America
  • Flew YO-3A from Edwards AFB to Vietnam Helicopters Museum April 2015

Dick’s first flight was on his 14th birthday in a 65 horse power 7AC Aeronca Champ. After that first flight he delivered newspapers and mowed lawns to earn money so he could continue flying. He finally soloed at age 16 in a Piper Colt using money he had earned flying on a B-17 spray plane working the pumps and valves in the back of the bird.

At the age of 24 Richard Osborne was drafted by the Army in 1969 to serve in the Vietnam War. He was already an Eastern Air Lines pilot with a few thousand hours of flying time, and he had worked his way through college as a flight instructor. After the Army learned of his flying skills and experience he was routed into their military pilot program. In mid-1970 the Army needed pilots for its small fleet of newly developed silent aircraft: the two-seater YO-3A Quiet Star.

Mr. Osborne was transferred to Vietnam in July 1970 and joined the YO-3 detachment at Long Thanh North Army Airfield, where the group was attached to the 73rd Surveillance Airplane Company (SAC). He was given the radio call sign “Nightrider 12”; and from his unit mates acquired the nom de guerre, “Whisperdick!” There he flew the YO-3A on low-altitude night-time surveillance missions over South Vietnamese combat areas from bases in Long Thanh North Army Airfield and Binh Thuy Air Force Base.

The typical mission profile was to fly the YO-3A at 1,000 feet above ground level (agl), but after gaining considerable experience, pilots found they could fly undetected at much lower levels. Several, including Mr. Osborne flew multiple missions at 100 to 200 feet agl (above ground level) without being detected by enemy troops below. The aircraft was so quiet that he and the other YO-3A pilots were never effectively targeted by the enemy.

When he returned from Vietnam he resumed his career as a commercial airline pilot with Eastern Air Lines and then World Airways. He has maintained activity in general aviation and, after retiring from the Airline, has specialized in amphibious seaplane operations and antique and warbird aircraft operations. Most recently he has maintained and flown seaplanes for several individuals and corporations throughout Florida and the Caribbean, and between New England and the East River Seaplane terminal in New York City.

To date he has experience with the following air carrier jets: DC-9, DC-10, MD-11, B-727, B-737, L1011, A300, and L188. He maintains the following FAA Licenses: Airline Transport Pilot, Airplane Single and Multi-Engine Land, with these type ratings: B-727, B 737, DC-3, DC-9, DC-10, Lr-Jet, and MD-11.

He holds an Airline Transport Pilot and Commercial Privileges license for Airplane Single and Multi-Engine Land and Sea.

Mr. Osborne is also a Flight Instructor for Airplane Single and Multi-Engine, Instrument Airplane, and an Advanced Ground School Instructor, Flight Engineer, a Turbo-jet, Airframe and Powerplant Mechanic, and maintains an Inspection Authorization.

Dick has also owned several DC-3’s, a “Great Bird!” in his opinion.



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