Where are they and what are they doing today?
- 104 lost in South East Asia (82 combat losses)
- 49 destroyed in peacetime accidents
- 35 were left in the Republic of Vietnam. Fate unknown, but there are rumors that some may yet be in storage.
- 20 were transferred to Chile (five may still be flying)
- 18 to El Salvador (8 may still be in service)
- 14 to the Republic of Korea
- 6 to Nicaragua (in addition to other, militarized C-337s)
- 9 to Botswana (Not in active service but 8 may be airworthy)
- 6 to Nambia
- 3 were sent to Costa Rica
- 2 to Haiti (along with several C-337’s)
- 2 to the Solomon Islands
- 2 were given to Zimbabwe (adding to the 21 French-built "Lynx" C-337 variants of the Rhodesian Air Force)
- 7 O-2A (and 1 O-2B) are in storage at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base
Somewhat more than 20 are on static display at various museums across the United States
That leaves about 200 airframes to account for. Of those:
5 are registered in other countries, 3 in Australia (and "good on 'em" as there were Australian O-2 FAC's in the SEA conflict) two in Canada (not counting N-registered airplanes that happen to live in Canada), one in the Czech Republic, and one is a recent arrival to the Netherlands (I had the pleasure of meeting the owner/pilot at Airventure 2013.)
There are 82 aircraft registered by the FAA as either O-2A or M337B (Cessna’s designation for the Military variant of the C-337B). Of those, 20 registrations have expired, leaving 62. That number is imprecise. Some of the expired registrations are due to the FAA being less than speedy in processing the registration renewals required every three years. Other aircraft may have current registrations, but are not flying or airworthy, the owner keeping up the registration in the hope that it will someday fly again. Altogether, estimates are that there are less than 50 O-2As flying (and only one O-2B.)
So where are they? What are they doing? What happened to the other hundred?
Here is a quick update as of October 12 2014. With some help from contributors to this website and deep diving into the FAA records, I have some numbers for 1967 (the year 424 was delivered)
There were 146 O-2A's delivered in 1967, of these:
55 were lost in Southeast Asia: 32 were shot down, 13 were other combat losses (like getting hit by artillery on the ground); 10 were lost due to accidents or mishaps
28 are in the FAA registry: 17 have current registrations and airworthiness certificates; 11 either have no airworthiness certificate on file or have expired registrations
10 are in Museums.
3 to foreign military sales
3 are on the Australian civil registry
2 are on the Canadian civil registry
If my math is right that leaves 45 with whereabouts unknown. The search continues...