Osprey makes surprise visit to Miramar
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION MIRAMAR, Calif. (Sept 24, 2004) -- An MV-22 Osprey from the Marine Corps' Tiltrotor Test and Evaluation Squadron 22, based out of Marine Corps Air Station New River, N.C., paid the air station a surprise visit Sept. 24.
Maj. Gen. Keith J. Stalder, commanding general, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing accompanied by a large crowd of curious Marines and spouses, greeted the future of Marine Corps aviation as it taxied to the front of the Air Operations Building.
According to 1st Lt. Katherine L. O'Neil, public affairs officer, MCAS New River, the visit was made with the idea that the aircraft has not made enough presence on West Coast air stations.
"This was a familiarization visit to let Miramar see the aircraft," she said. "We flew a demonstration with the MV-22 at our air show and the turnout was huge. The Marines are very curious about the aircraft and need to know as much about it as possible."
Lt. Col. Chris C. Seymour, chief of operational test and development, VMX-22, said the aircraft is going to advance the Marine Corps into the future of expeditionary warfare.
"This aircraft is like going from a 1968 Volkswagen to a Jaguar," said the former CH-46E Sea Knight pilot.
Compared to the aging helicopters, "it's three times as fast, has four times the payload and four times the range. It is better than any other assault aircraft in the world," Seymour said.
The MV-22, the potential replacement for the aging CH-53D Sea Stallion and CH-46E Sea Knight, has tiltrotor capabilities, allowing it to take off as a traditional helicopter, but maneuver like an airplane in flight.
"The MV-22 flies similar to the (CH-46E), but accelerates and decelerates much faster," Seymour added. "The capabilities through the tilt-rotor process are tremendous."
Gunnery Sgt. Edward R. Moran, crew chief, VMX-22, was a former avionics chief before being accepted into the tiltrotor test squadron, and said the aircraft is much more reliable and comfortable to ride.
"I was flying with a helicopter training squadron, and the difference between the aircraft is night and day," Moran said. "This aircraft is faster, smoother and has just as much power as the older aircraft. It has the same cargo footprint as the CH-46, but it's not limited to the weight standards."
The Marine Corps began fielding the new design more than 10 years ago, but the beginning showed signs of a rough road for the advancement of Marine Corps aviation.
In August 2000, an MV-22B crashed during a training flight in Arizona, killing its 19 passengers. Again that same year, four more Marines were killed when their Osprey went down in a forest in North Carolina.
Seymour said because of the aircraft's potential, the past incidents with the Osprey do not warrant a stop in training or production.
"The Osprey is a great aircraft with a bad reputation," he added. "We are working on increasing Marines' awareness of how much safer this aircraft is. The entire aircraft took on an overhaul to prevent mishaps it has had in the past."
Cpl. Isaac Lynn, awards noncommissioned officer-in-charge, Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron, MCAS Miramar, said the visit was unique for him because he has never witnessed a new aircraft firsthand.
"It was very interesting to experience the future of Marine Corps aviation from the inside out," he said. "I was surprised how small it is with more capabilities than the other helicopters we have here."
I think it horrible. We need an antimatter transport vehicle that can carry 6,000 troops at a time. That has death rays and can cloack. Also that can fold time and travel from one time to another.JMHO
It's overly complicated for it's intended role and I also don't think it will be as reliable as a helicopter. And when the entire fleet is grounded due to something happening, what are the Marines going to do then, swim?
I figured this was going to be about another crash.