Aircraft: YO-3A (Lockheed Silent Star Airplane)
Tail: #69-18004 (Note: a picture of this specific airplane with these two crewmembers aboard is copied below) CW2 Carl W. Borchers [Pilot]
CW2 Martin E. Loving [Crew/Observer] Callsign: NIGHTRIDER II
Pilot advised that he was low on fuel and was breaking station to RTB. Also advised he was heading SW through their field of fire at nominally 1500 AGL. Arty advised they would check fire during acft transit through their area and requested notification when clear. NIGHTRIDER II “Rogered” request, but no further communication could be established. A/C was later found at at YT 1612 on 071 Degrees Magnetic heading. Impact estimated at 65-75 Knots at 039 degrees angle from horizontal.
This flight was going to be Lovings last recon flight before he was due to leave Vietnam.
Only nine production YO-3As were sent to Vietnam. The aircraft were used at night, at low altitudes. Observations were made visually (80%) and with followed on with a Night Vision Aerial Periscope developed by Xerox Electro-Optical, Pasadena California night vision devices. The YO-3A had a specially designed propeller operated by 12 belts, an exhaust system that ran the length of the aircraft and other sound quieting technologies. The mission equipment on the YO-3A was a Night Vision Aerial Periscope with infrared illuminator. One YO-3A was equipped with a laser target designator. The laser system was never used. The YO-3A operated silently at 1,000 feet, or lower, depending on terrestrial background noise. Some pilots were known to have gone unobserved over the enemy at 200 feet. Occasionally daylight flights were made over the rivers. Crew chiefs would listen to the YO-3A flying over the maintenance section prior to deployment listening for rattles, whistles or other noises. The propeller, even at 500 feet over the maintenance area made only a light flutter heard just as it approached the maintenance area. This was followed by a light rushing of wind over the wings. Once the plane had passed over, there was no audible sound.
The Army-Lockheed YO-3A group has posted a memorial to Carl on its website www.yo-3a.com. Those who knew Carl remember him as a good man, a good friend and a good officer.
Posted by: Kurt Olney
Sunday, September 12, 2004
I remember Carl Wilhelm Borchers (Panel 3 West Line Number 68) as a young go-get'em pilot, married only a few days before going to Viet Nam, a patriot, super trooper, and friend. We carved the "Tiki" for our Long Thanh O-Club out of a 10"x12' timber with his "Bowie" Knife. We had some good times, but too few.
Posted by: Dale Ross Stith
Tuesday, August 26, 2003