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Spotted For Sale: Vietnam Era Lockheed YO-3A Quiet Star

 The pic above is one of several I found posted at this listing of a 1969 Lockheed YO-3A Quiet Star being offered for sale for $84,950. I don't know if it's still available, but it's a pretty interesting little warbird restoration project for someone looking for an unusual flying machine. I'm guessing it would attract a fair amount of attention at the airshows and fly-ins!

 The YO-3 started life as a Schweizer 2-32 sailplane and then grew into what you see in these pictures. With a 210hp engine in the nose spinning either the early 6 blade prop, or as the NASA pic below shows, a 3 blade wood prop, the Quiet Star was exactly that... quiet. Used by the U.S. Army to do low-level observation at night in Vietnam, the YO-3 was essentially undetectable at 1,000 feet. An extensive engine muffler along with the specialized prop were the primary tools put in place to keep it in the hush. Only 11 were built... you can learn more at


 NASA has used the YO-3A for various acoustic tests  (photo: NASA 2004)


Lockheed YO-3 as it looked during Vietnam era use

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Reader Comments (6)

I was lucky enough to see the NASA Ames YO3 operate while stationed at Moffet Field CA in the 70's/80's. The YO, which would chase a NASA Cobra, (a real hotrod) had microphones mounted on the wing tips to measure noise. They would mount different configurations of rotor blades on the Cobra in an effort to make them quieter. When the YO taxied by all you could hear was the whoosh of the propeller ticking over and a brake chattering. I was kind of eerie on takeoff, no real noise at all from our vantage point, looked like it was levitating.

December 31, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterseerjfly

seerjfly- Thanx for that info! That's a really interesting application of the quiet nature of the YO-3, to use it as an air to air listening platform - very cool. I hope to see one up close some day.

December 31, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMartt (admin)

Ex Viet-Nam vet. and member of the YO-3A, Asso. I use to fly in this plane during the Viet-Nam war. The link above is a story of restoration of one of our old war birds.

March 13, 2013 | Unregistered Commenternight rider 44

Flew this bird in Nam 71/72 out if Binh Thuy AFB.

Niterider 03

October 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDan Bowen

On the night of November 22, 1970, I was on the southeast perimeter at LTN, on Bunker 42, and watched as YO-3A s/n 69-180002 piloted by then Captain George S. Walker (Ret BG), along with TO Jim Drezska lost power due to fuel malfunction and crash landed out of sight just to our east past a banana plantation. Fortunately neither was injured ... though the area was a bit spooky with VC ... and the 002 never flew again. It was returned to the US in Jne of 1972.

September 17, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterVieteran


May 22, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterNOAH HOLLOWAY

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