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V-22 Osprey Lamb-Balsted in Time Magazine


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The V-22 Osprey is the cover story in the October 8th, 2007 issue of Time magazine...the sub-heading states:


"Special Investigation"

It's unsafe.

It can't shoot straight

It's already cost 30 lives and $20 billion.

And now it's headed for Iraq.

The long, sad tale of the V-22 Osprey."


If you get a chance to read it...do so. I'm not a huge fan of Time magazine...but I saw the Osprey on the cover of the magaziine in our office kitchen and just finished reading the article. It is a dismal portrayal, by Mark Thompson, of this beautiful machine. However, the article was very effective (to say the least) at convincing the reader that this tilt rotor aircraft is a major problem waiting to happen. Below are a few quotes from the 5 page article in case you don't get a chance to read it...




"...lacking both the firepower and the ability to land safely if it loses power at low altitudes"


"Although the Osprey combines characteristics of a helicopter and an airplane, it doesn't have comparable options for surviving a crash. In airplane mode, the Osprey could glide to a landing. but in helicopter mode --- when it's most vulnerable to enemy fire --- the Osprey can't autorotate to the ground if both engines fail. 'Such events would all be fatal,' a Pentagon report said.


"Compared with helicopters, the Osprey has a much larger danger zone in which a total power failure could be fatal"



"Planned Gun: ...nose-mounted .50 caliber..."

"Actual Gun: ....30 caliber machinge gun" (7.62)...mounted on the rear ramp that "must be opened for Marine to fire gun"


"The gun's rounds are about the same size as a .30-06 hunting rifle's, and it is capable of firing only where the V-22 has been --- not where it's going --- and only when the ramp used by Marines to get on and off the aircraft is lowered."


"The director of the Pentagon's testing office, in a 2005 report, put it more bluntly, If power is lost when a V-22 is flying like a helicopter below 1600ft., he said, emergency landings ' are not likely to be survivable.'


"Unable to rewrite the laws of physics, the Pentagon determined that the ability to perform the safety procedure (auto rotation) was no longer a necessary requirement and crossed it off the V-22's must-have list. 'An autorotation to a safe landing is no longer a formal requirement,' a 2002 Pentagon report said.' ...'The deletion of safe autorotation landing as a...requirement recognizes the hybrid nature of the tilt-rotor.'


"That prospect doesn't concern some V-22 pilots, who believe they'll have the altitude and time to convert the aircraft into its airplane mode and hunt for a landiing strip if they lose power. 'We can turn it into a plane and glide it down, just like a C-130,' Captain Justin (Moon) McKinney, a V-22 pilot, said...'I have absolutely no safety concerns with this aircraft, flying it here or in Iraq.'



You can read the rest yourselves or check out this link to a small synopsis of the article: http://www.time.com/time/2007/osprey/


Full article is here: http://www.time.com/time/politics/article/...1665835,00.html


My purpose in starting this topic is to discuss what this article says and hopefully find some strong counter-points from experienced pilots, or others with pertinent knowledge. I am a Marine (1989-1994) and I know the Corp is composed of "hard-chargers" that can improvise, adapt and overcome to make anything work. We've done it with hand-me-downs for decades.


However, the safety "short-comings" this article portrays about the V-22, concern me. I really want this article to be an exageration, I want it to be the standard media slant --- all the negative points presented with very little positive presented --- because I hope and pray that 20, plus crew, of our Marines are not flying around in poorly designed machines that can not make a relatively safe emergency landing. Our guys are way to valuable for that!!!


BTW -- They stated one of the reasons the V-22 project was born was the "Vietnam-era CH-46 choppers became obsolete" --- that doesn't sound true.


What do you think ??? What have you heard ??? Any V-22 pilots out there ???

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BAE Systems Begins Testing Of V-22 Defensive Weapon

Wed, 03 Oct '07


Would Give Ospreys Add'l -- Some Say Much-Needed -- Teeth

BAE Systems unveiled Wednesday its new remotely operated turreted weapon system, the Remote Guardian System (RGS), designed to provide 360 degrees of suppressive fire for the Marine Corps V-22 tiltrotor aircraft.


Company representatives tell ANN in recent stability testing at Camp Ripley, MN, the RGS -- sporting a GAU-17, 7.62 mm mini-gun -- was mounted on a moving land vehicle test platform. The testers demonstrated the weapon's accuracy, based on the three-axis stability and control.


"RGS performed admirably in the tests, demonstrating accurate fire on-the-move," Clark Freise, vice president of defense avionics for BAE Systems, said in introducing the system at the Modern Day Marine Expo in Quantico, VA. "Due to the support and feedback we received from the Marine Corps' requirements and user communities, we are now launching this as a mature system."


BAE Systems, which has been working with the user community to develop and demonstrate this capability since mid-2005, is planning to make the system available for installation beginning in the third quarter of 2008.


RGS, designed to be belly-mounted on the V-22, is the first remote weapon system capable of delivering accurate, sustained fire throughout the aircraft's entire flight envelope. It features a compact, retractable design that saves valuable aircraft cabin space and was designed to be completely compatible with the V-22's avionics suite.


Though initially designed to accomodate a nose-mounted .50-caliber Gatling gun, the only weapon now mounted on field-spec Ospreys is a tail-mounted .30-cal machine gun, meant to provide defensive cover for Osprey crews during takeoff from a combat zone. Critics of the aircraft have slammed the Pentagon's decision to go with the single, ramp-mounted weapon.


FMI: www.baesystems.com, www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/aircraft/mv-22.htm

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Bull$hit, I have flown the simulator with one of the test pilots. I asked the same question. He demonstrated an engine failure on final and then gave me one to do. The aircraft has redundant systems built in to over come a single engine failure. The aircraft can still fly with one engine out and drive both rotor systems. Which is a lot better then the helicopters we are using now. All these complainers of the V22 need to get their heads out of their a$$. This is a good aircraft and will be more effective for the mission then the CH-53s and CH-47s they are using now. Not that the CH-53 or Ch-47s are bad, just the V22 has a larger operating envelope.


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Not quite - the article talks about complete loss of power, not single engine failure.


Ok, what are the odds of a dual engine failure? Possible but highly unlikely. Granted there could be a fuel problem or enemy fire but those are not problems with the aircraft design. Single rotor system helicopters are exposed to the same risk. Most of the issues that lead to failures and accidents in testing have been resolved. The outstanding issues have work arounds to mitigate the risk. This is the same proceedure used for all other aircraft at this stage of deployment. This is a good aircraft and will be good for our military's mission and the civil market when it come out.

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The people who have flown it, or have flown in it, love it. Granted they're probably biased...


Weren't they also deployed last month (September) by the Marines to Iraq or Afghanistan (Afghanistan I think)? What have the reports been on its performance?


And as a side, what aircraft, fixed- or rotary-winged, wouldn't have some trouble losing all of its engines on final?




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Time is nothing but a BS rag at best. They do a hit piece on every single new weapon system for as long as I been born. Said the M-1 Abrams was a piece of junk from the get go, pretty much every single airplane the airforce developed from the F100 on , never mind about the subs missles and what have you. Look the V-22 has been in the works for a very long time, and its been a long time coming. Tilt Rotor is a whole new way to fly, its not a helicopter and its not an airplane, its a very good aircraft, I would love to fly one, but I am way to old. Every aircraft has its problems, thats why they have something called flight test and then operational testing before they turn the rank and file loose. The V-22 is no different, yea you break aircraft learning to fly, fixed wing rotor wing and now tilt rotor. They been writing the book.


They don't like the aircraft because for the first time, Marines will be able to deploy by aircraft from over the horizon. Just think of the kind of stuff they are going to be able to do with it. And its only the A model, The AH-64 D is not the same helicopter the AH-64A was even thou its the same airframe. Time thought that one was a waste too. After all The people at Time want america to loose the terror war, I guess they figuire they will get a better deal from the Mullah's and the Islmofashists.

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That was an article written by someone who knows nothing about aviation and has fallen prey to all the stereotypes of the V-22 from 10 years ago.


Ridicules quotes from the article…


“a V-22 will begin carrying up to 26 Marines into combat in Iraq, with no ejection seats — and no parachutes”


WHAT!?!? So does every Helicopter taking troops into battle.


“V-22 crashes have claimed the lives of 30 men”




“more than a third of Harriers have crashed, killing 45 Marines in 143 accidents.”


That’s a single seat jet with a worst fatality record than the V-22?!?!

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We'll just have to wait for the report card from the field. Anything else will just be "Monday Morning Quarterbacking".


And I hate to say it, but those early crashes may have been the best thing to happen to the V-22. All that bad press put the entire program under a very fine microscope and I'm sure the aircraft is ultimately better because of it. I'm sure it even delayed its deployments.


Time will tell,



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I don't think that helps your case...


The arguement made was that the aircraft was prone to crashes from dual engine failure, yet there is no record of that happening.


From the time article.

"Although the Osprey combines characteristics of a helicopter and an airplane, it doesn't have comparable options for surviving a crash. In airplane mode, the Osprey could glide to a landing. but in helicopter mode --- when it's most vulnerable to enemy fire --- the Osprey can't autorotate to the ground if both engines fail. 'Such events would all be fatal,' a Pentagon report said.


"Compared with helicopters, the Osprey has a much larger danger zone in which a total power failure could be fatal"



These two examples sited list hypothetical situations which are unlikely to happen. I have flown the sim and practiced single engine failure which is a more likely situation then a dual engine failure due to a design flaw. Again I state a "Dual" Engine Failure is highly unlikely, with the exception of enemy fire or bad fuel, both of which would effect "ANY" aircraft in our inventory.


My arguement is the article makes claims to a hypothetical situation as a claim for the danger of operation of the aircraft. Yet the facts do not support thier arguement becuse in 20 years of testing a dual engine failure has "Never" happend. There have been single engine failures and the pilots were able to recover the aircraft safely in most cases.


This is a safe platform and probably better then what we use today for the same mission.

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Is it true the HV curve extends to 1600ft at zero A/S and over 1000ft. at over 200mph?


What counter-acts the torque of the single engine that remains in a single engine failure? Is the opposite rotor all that is necessary to counter act that torque? Does the engine even produce torque that affects the yaw of the airframe?


(...Obviously a complex machine...or just complex to me :huh: )


Disclaimer: I am no fan of Time magazine and always suspect that their information is 98% biased left, especially regarding our military and the war. That's why I think this is a relevant discussion...I really want to know about this platform and its likelihood of being a relatively safe aircraft. Are there any positive articles or reports that anyone has read and can share with the rest of us?


I'm glad to hear about the 360 degree field of fire, turreted weapon...this would be a great plus in my eyes.


Thanks for the input so far...

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Since the single engine still drives both rotors (like a CH-46/47) there is no torque effect from SE failure. The power required v. power available will be a factor like any other SE failure in a multi-engine helicopter. The 53E has 3 engines and I think I would still rather be in the back of an Osprey :-)

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Just a thought

How long has the Harrier been in service, & how many units out there, what was main mission, combat, training, or flight test ?

Not a good analogy I would think, are the people killed in this aircraft test and development personnel .

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not to throw this thread off, the Harrier A version experienced alot of initial problems, the C model saw first combat in the falkland war and proved to be a wothy machine, so the fact that the early V-22 test saw problems is nothing new to new design concepts, many other aircraft at the developemnet stage went throught the same thing just look at the helicopter itself, it in theory is not suppose to be able to fly yet we see them flying everyday.

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