Military Clears Osprey For Return To Service

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The U.S. military cleared the V-22 Osprey aircraft to return to service after an unprecedented component failure led to the death of eight service members in Japan last November. The nature of the failure was not released.

AP reported the crash was the second fatal in months and the fourth within a span of two years. As a result, it led to the grounding of some 400 Osprey aircraft across the Marine Corps, Air Force and Navy.

“Maintenance and procedural changes have been implemented to address the materiel failure that allow for a safe return to flight,” according to a March 8 press release. “The U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, and U.S. Air Force will each execute their return to flight plans according to service specific guidelines.”

Despite military officials expressing confidence in the Osprey’s safety and return to service, the decision to lift the grounding drew criticism from Rep James Comer, R-Ky., chairman of the House Oversight Committee. “DoD is lifting the Osprey grounding order despite not providing the Oversight Committee and the American people answers about the safety of this aircraft,” Comer stated. “Serious concerns remain, such as accountability measures put in place to prevent crashes, a general lack of transparency, how maintenance and operational upkeep is prioritized, and how DoD assesses risks.”

While the aircraft have been cleared to return to service, officials say it could be months before real-world flying missions resume.

Amelia Walsh
Amelia Walsh is a private pilot who enjoys flying her family’s Columbia 350. She is based in Colorado and loves all things outdoors including skiing, hiking, and camping.

9 COMMENTS

  1. Nope. Just wouldn’t be me sitting on the edge of that platform. Enclosed airplanes are great, but not open air stuff. I flew a totally open ultralight , like sitting in a lawn chair high in the sky. Almost felt panic. Kept my hand on the handle of the BRS. But, bless our boys and girls in the military

  2. I sympathize with the military and the congress. The congressional oversight want full transparency, but the military doesn’t want to broadcast to the world “here is where our gadget might have a weakness”. They both have good reasons for the positions they take.

  3. I think you are seeing the Military leadership accepting the V-22 Osprey accident rate as the cost of doing business.

  4. As officially no details of the failures have been published, one can only have theories. The Osprey has very stiff blades used at a relatively high (over 400/min) RPM. Cyclic control generates vibrations, which thus can reach the aircraft body with practically no attenuation.

    Hard shaking has never been good friends with any complex machinery. This can be the main source of many troubles.

    Have always wondered why Bell does not add a third rotor to the existing two, in order to get rid of the cyclic control of the blades. (And, of course, get rid of most of the vibrations too.) Keeping just the collective (for the three rotors!) would be sufficient to maneuver the aircraft well. Maybe even better than now. 😊

      • No – I am big fan of tiltrotors. Cyclic blade control however may spoil many characteristics. VTOL concepts with three tilting rotors have existed for a long time. You can check out my version (a fantasy 😊 ) at the stallfreepropellers-dot-com website.

    • No definitive details as to the cause of the mechanical failures have been provided yet, but the aircraft have been cleared for return-to-service anyway, so there’s no guarantee the same issue won’t happen again.

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