USAF Osprey Tiltrotor Lost Off Japan Coast: At Least One Confirmed Dead

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A U.S. Air Force CV-22B Osprey tiltrotor crashed yesterday (U.S. time) off the southern coast of Japan. One body has been recovered, and the remaining seven crew members were still missing as of 4 p.m. EST Wednesday (Nov. 29), according to the Japanese coast guard.

According to the USAF Special Operations Command statement, the Osprey was assigned to the 353rd Special Operations Wing at the Yokota Air Base. The tiltrotor departed along with a second Osprey from the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni in Yamaguchi and was bound for Kadena Air Base on the island of Okinawa. Six Ospreys were based at Yakota, including the accident aircraft. According to a U.S. military statement, the pilot “did everything possible until the last minute.”

According to local public television reports, a resident in Yakushima said he saw the aircraft inverted with one engine on fire, then an explosion before it hit the water’s surface. The crew requested an emergency landing at Yakushima’s airport just five minutes before radar contact was lost, according to multiple local news reports.

The Japanese coast guard reported it had recovered one male crew member who was later pronounced dead. The search also turned up debris from the aircraft and an empty life raft about a half-mile offshore from Yakushima. At press time the search remained ongoing.

Mark Phelps
Mark Phelps is a senior editor at AVweb. He is an instrument rated private pilot and former owner of a Grumman American AA1B and a V-tail Bonanza.

15 COMMENTS

    • AVweb Osprey Crashes Nov 29, 2023
      Time and again I have noted that planes were crashing because they were flying into a vortex of some type. Some of the Osprey plane crashes were noted in my book, Science About How Tornadoes And Vortexes Form And How They Are Causing Planes To Crash (Including MH370) available from Barnes & Noble and Amazon. My book can even be read online on Kindel for about one third the price. I have found about 3 more Osprey crashes due to bad weather conditions, like vortexes, since I wrote my book. This is what happened to the Osprey on November 29, 2023. The Osprey plane, like a helicopter, is very subject to air turbulence like vortexes. In all cases of Osprey crashes I have found atmospheric turbulences that were enough to cause the Osprey to crash. Read my book and you will understand what is happening and how planes should avoid certain areas at certain times, as I noted in my book, less they take the chance of crashing.
      Ronalds B. Hardwig, Professional Engineer

      • Anybody else here also frequent the AvHerald comments? Ronald’s vortex insistence reminds me of good old Ecumenico and his ice crystal theories.

  1. The 22 has had an ongoing, very poor reliability record since its acceptance and deployment. There never seem to be any successful proactive risk management action. There are no operational risks – only systemic.

    • The Osprey aircraft can successfully do a great deal of mission takings when all systems are functioning as they should be.

      However, when a system goes down, the aircraft is very difficult to control; especially an engine failure or fire or tilt rotor malfunction.

      There are little to none risk management mitigations in cases such as these unlike a fixed wing prop driven aircraft.

    • Conceivably deck operations may not need the transition phase from hover to nornal flight. BUT: it still has to land at and take-off from its objective.
      In any case the assymetric yaw with any drive train failure – as seems to be the common denominator- is barely manageable.

  2. RIP to the servicemen onboard.
    Unfortunately, our men & women in uniform cannot chose what they fly in. If they could, none in their right minds would fly in these death traps.

  3. …a lot of the comments seem to pretend history isn’t… history. Witness the BV-107 and BV-234, neither of which had a sterling initial deployment from a safety standpoint. A single failure of the shaft synchronizing the two rotors and in a second or two the aircraft was finished. The S-76A became the S-76B when asking an Allison 250 to run at 100 percent nearly 100 percent of the time mandated a containment ring after several grenade-like failures that took airframes and lives. The only difference in opinion between those three examples and today’s condemnation of the Osprey is simple to understand: No social media, and no platforms for uninformed “journalists” to post their blather on.

  4. The V-22 platform is an extremely very complex piece of machinery, much more than “simple” helicopters & thus it technically has multiple points of potential failure. Take note that it took almost 25 years for this aircraft to go from drawing board to operational status. At the time that was 25% of the entire modern age of aviation! But in saying that… it is an impressive, fast & agile aircraft (much faster than helicopters) and it carries a significant amount of troops. Remember too that the V-22 program started immediately after the Iranian hostage situation/rescue debacle when we had limited options to rescue the hostages. If we had an aircraft like the V-22 available, the rescue would have been much easier & quicker to execute. It’s simply a high risk aircraft with impressive capabilities (& expensive!) which sadly serves very little interest to our country’s defense in relative peaceful times like today (for the USA). But… during a war-time scenario though, we may see it quite differently!

  5. Too many single points of failure for a military aircraft without crew egress systems. It’s the bastard child of someone with too much power and the Military Industrial Complex run amuck. If I were a military member, I would be drummed out before boarding an Osprey for any reason.

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