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thedrifter
04-30-03, 07:22 AM
April 29, 2003

Osprey is not failing tests, Pax River spokesman says

Associated Press


JACKSONVILLE, N.C. — A spokesman said Tuesday that the MV-22 Osprey program isn’t failing key tests, despite comments by a former test official and an internal document that cast doubt on the program.
The Osprey, which lands and takes off like a helicopter and flies like an airplane, can carry more troops and fly farther and faster than helicopters now in use, the Marine Corps says.

“It is a safe airplane,” said Ward Carroll, spokesman for the testing program at Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Md.

“It is not at all hogtied as some suggest. You want to take an airplane into a hot (landing zone), you want to go in an Osprey.”

Carroll disputed comments and an internal document cited in reports Sunday by The News & Observer of Raleigh that said the aircraft had failed a test of hauling a 5-ton cannon slung beneath it while keeping balance and carrying enough fuel for a 2,100-mile trip.

Carroll said no such tests have been performed, The Daily News of Jacksonville reported Tuesday.

He said the document wasn’t a test result but an engineer issuing a caution not to make the aircraft too heavy.

“Program engineers advise on certain issues,” Carroll said. “It said if left unchecked, an increase in (aircraft) weight (could cause problems). Obviously a program manager doesn’t allow that to happen.”

While there is a weight and performance trade-off when additional equipment is added to the Osprey such as sturdier oxygen tanks or heavier floorboards, this caution resulted in a false perception that aircraft had failed a test, Carroll said.

The current phase of developmental testing that began May 29, 2002, has nothing to do with the engineer’s warning, he said.

“(The caution) was from a program engineer risk management slide (and) it’s their job to track trends and flag things of concern,” Carroll said. “You can’t fail something you haven’t flown yet.”

In March, an official outlined an “increasing level of technical issues” facing the program, according to internal documents obtained by The News & Observer. The documents said the aircraft was at high risk of being late and not able to carry the 5-ton load because it was getting heavier.

The craft now weighs 33,400 pounds and will grow heavier as more demands are added, such as stronger floors for the on-board gun, the document said.

The latest tests, which could continue into 2004, typically include contractor test pilots putting the aircraft through its paces to gather performance data.

“We’re addressing aeromechanical issues such and night flight, form flight, austere flight and icing,” Carroll said.

The Osprey is scheduled to arrive at New River Marine Corps Air Station, N.C., this fall for flight testing. New River’s recently created Marine Tiltrotor Operational Test and Evaluation Squadron 22 will determine if the Osprey is suitable for fleet operations using Marine Corps pilots.

The squadron consists of 101 people who are expected to start work by Sept. 30.

But the Osprey has been plagued by problems, from unreliable warning lights to catastrophic crashes that have killed 30, including 23 Marines in 2000.

In December 2000, an Osprey crashed in a forest near Jacksonville, killing all four Marines aboard. That crash was caused by a leak in the hydraulic lines, compounded by faulty flight control software.

The aircraft was grounded after that crash, just days before the Navy was scheduled to decide whether to move the V-22 into full production.

Testing was ordered after the crashes that led to a credibility problem when it was disclosed that the Osprey squadron commander at New River had ordered falsification of maintenance records.






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Copyright 2003 The Associated Press.


Sempers,

Roger

Shilo
04-30-03, 08:31 AM
In December 2000, an Osprey crashed in a forest near Jacksonville, killing all four Marines aboard. That crash was caused by a leak in the hydraulic lines, compounded by faulty flight control software I remember that..We were there(in Jacksonville) when it happend... One of the Marines killed, lived right up the road from us..left a wife and kids behind..Stunk having to pass by their house knowing what happend..very sad.. I hope they can work out the problems with the aircraft.