While we begin to explore the Stuart Air Show’s history over the past three decades to celebrate our 30th Anniversary, we want to start by learning more about aviation in our community. Inspired by the below video from the 1970s that highlights the conversion and aircraft restoration program here in Stuart, FL, we decided to share a little bit about our town’s history with the US Army Grumman OV-1 Mohawk.
The OV-1 Mohawk, was an armed military observation and attack aircraft, designed for battlefield surveillance and light strike capabilities. These aircraft were able to penetrate enemy held territory under the cover of minimum altitude. The Mohawk’s served in Europe, South East Asia, Germany, and Korea. Over the years, the mission and the aircraft underwent many changes and roughly 380 were built over all variants.
The US Army’s only fixed wing depot level overhaul repair and conversion facility in the 1970s was here at Witham Field, the Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corp. In 1965, once Grumman started working on the Mohawks, 50 to 60 new employees were hired, creating a total of about 225 employees by early 1966. In March of 1966, ground was broken for a $500,000 building which would house Mohawks. [via. TCPalm] Here, Mohawks that had been stored would begin the conversion and repair process here, that brought them to mission ready status, updated with the best technology at the time.
The OV-1 Mohawk was retired in 1996. Many of our flight line volunteers, past and present, worked on these aircraft here in our home town. Learn more about the Mohawk’s history in Stuart, in the video below.