UPDATED 14 September 2009

A "trail" of two aircraft---C-17 "King" and V-22 "pauper" and the forced-entry masquerade

V-22 "Albatross": Failures...crashes...wasted money, dead bodies...


From Camp Pendleton, Calif., all from the 3rd Battalion, 5th marine regiment, 1st marine Division:

Sgt. Jose Alvarez, 28, machine gunner, Uvalde, Texas
Pfc. Gabriel C. Clevenger, 21, machine gunner, Picher, Okla.
Pfc. Alfred Corona, 23, machine gunner, San Antonio.
Lance Cpl. Jason T. Duke, 28, machine gunner, Sacramento, Calif.
Lance Cpl. Jesus Gonzalez Sanchez, 27, assaultman, San Diego.
Lance Cpl. Seth G. Jones, 18, assaultman, Bend, Ore.
2nd Lt. Clayton J. Kennedy, 24, platoon commander, Clifton Bosque, Texas
Lance Cpl. Jorge A. Morin, 21, assaultman, McAllen, Texas
Cpl. Adam C. Neely, 22, rifleman, Winthrop, Wash.
Pfc. Kenneth O. Paddio, 23, rifleman, Houston.
Pfc. George P. Santos, 24, rifleman, Long Beach, Calif.
Pfc. Keoki P. Santos, 24, rifleman, Grand Ronde, Ore.
Cpl. Can Soler, 21, rifleman, Palm City, Fla.
Pvt. Adam L. Tatro, 19, rifleman, Brownwood, Texas

From Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif.:

Cpl. Eric J. Martinez, 21, a field radio operator, Marine Wing Communications Squadron 38, Marine Air Control Group 38, Williams, Ariz.


Maj. John A. Brow, 39, pilot, Marine Helicopter Squadron 1, California, Md.
Maj. Brooks S. Gruber, 34, pilot, Marine Helicopter Squadron 1, Jacksonville, N.C.
Cpl. Kelly S. Keith, 22, aircraft crew chief, Marine Helicopter Squadron 1, Florence, S.C.
Staff Sgt. William B. Nelson, 30, aerial observer/mechanic, Marine Tilt-Rotor Training Squadron 204, Richmond, Va.


April 20, 2001
Web posted at: 7:40 p.m. EDT (2340 GMT)
From Jamie McIntyre
CNN Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The marine corps on Friday released dramatic videotape showing the fiery crash of a V-22 Osprey that killed 19 marines last year in Arizona.

The April 8, 2000, accident was blamed on pilot error -- investigators found the pilot landed too quickly and at too steep an angle, causing the tilt-rotor plane to lose lift under its right rotor.

The videotapes include one recorded from equipment in the cockpit of a second Osprey.

On that tape the Marine pilot can be heard saying, "Oh, my God. They went down. They crashed. Oh, my God."

The audio continues:

Voice of pilot: "Crash! Crash! Crash! Crash!"

Controller: "Confirm crash, Seven. Is that for real?"

Voice of pilot: "Crash! Crash! Crash! It's real, man. An airplane on the ground."

A second tape taken by a marine with a hand-held video camera on the ground shows the fireball after the crash.

On that tape the marines can be heard talking:

Voice 1: "You can't do anything."

Voice 2: "Take it easy. I'm not going out there."

Voice 3: "They're dead, aren't they?"

Voice 4: "Yes."

Voice 3: "Damn!"

Earlier this week a special Pentagon panel recommended that the V-22 program be continued, but with minimal production until serious concerns about the craft's safety and design are resolved.

The Independent V-22 Review Panel gave the Pentagon a list of various repairs and improvements the aircraft needs before it should return to the skies.

In response marine corps commandant Gen. James Jones issued a statement saying, "I share the panel's concern about the V-22's maintainability, reliability and funding. The panel gave each of these issues careful consideration, and we will be looking very closely at recommendations made in the panel's final report."

Jones also said, "Although there are many issues to be resolved, I am encouraged by the panel's recommendation to pursue further development and fielding of the V-22. This is a capability our nation needs to meet the operational requirements of the 21st century."

The tilt-rotor Osprey has the unique ability to take off like a helicopter, rotate its propellers 90 degrees and fly like an airplane. The marine corps hopes to use the Ospreys to replace an aging fleet of CH-46 helicopters.


Your tax dollars at work! And you wonder why America is undefended and 9/11 attacks happen? V-22 Albatross crash video!


USAF Colonel Dunn exposes USMC Colonel Schultz's public V-22 lies!

V-22 Fails but corrupt USMC, DoD and Congress will not cancel the deathtrap

Carlton's revelations about the V-22 damn it forever as an unworkable flying deathtrap for our men:

1. V-22 cannot carry ANY vehicles even BS wheeled jeeps, floor is too weak. Its a bad helicopter with small rotors and a bad airplane with small wings.

Good helicopter with big rotors: the CH-47F Chinook can lift 25, 000 pounds---that's over 3 times the V-22's 7, 200 lbs

Good airplane with big wings: the C-27J Spartan can lift 25, 000 pounds---that's over 3 times the V-22's 7, 200 lbs

So much for AMS from the V-22!

2. The V-22 cannot carry more than 7, 200 pounds of payload---less than a UH-60L which can lift 9, 000! It cannot carry multiple guns and ammo to be a gunship much less and armor protection. It can't rescue downed pilots because its only going to be armed at the rear ramp and nose (maybe) and cannot take-off and land vertically fast. The USAF is no longer even considering V-22 for CSAR missions. So much for MAS!

3. Since the V-22 is un-pressurized and cannot fly high to attain 100+ mph faster than helicopter speeds and stay above 10K to avoid enemy air defenses. At lower altitudes it flies at helicopter speeds. It cannot fly long ranges. So much for OMFTS!

4. Despite these unsolvable failures NO ONE in USMC (real persons to blame here), DoD, or Congress has fought to cancel this deathtrap and waste of scarce resources lest they go up against the Bell helicopter corrupt empire. The media hasn't acted as the watchdogs of our society on the V-22, choosing instead to await the next fiery V-22 crash to say "we told you so". So much for honor and integrity in the vain and arrogant USMC!

V-22 Update - Blame the Engines - Call the FBI

Carlton Meyer
23 Mar 2008

I suspect V-22 program manager Col. Mulhern is in deep doo doo. There has been no official announcement of the V-22's major engine problems, which is not surprising since the Corps is about to ink a multi-year contract for 167 more V-22s. The Corps put out a glowing report on the V-22 in Iraq on Jan. 23, although it doesn't mention the squadron has a dozen highly experienced Boeing tech reps to help young marines fix things, or that the decades old marine helos that have been Iraq for years have a higher ready rate.


Perhaps the Colonel didn't realize his comments at an industry forum would reach the press, or perhaps he is falling on his sword to derail the plan, or perhaps there is a bureaucratic rebellion among Generals, and the Col. is part of the group.

Aviation Week posted an article, but it was then removed. A copy can be found here.


Mulhern hinted the V-22 may use the new engine destined for the new CH-53K.

www.flightglobal.com/articles/2008/02/12/221497/ge-cuts-metal-for-engine-to-power-sikorskys-ch-53k.html that will provide much more power, which the V-22 desperately needs. However, they just began building prototypes of the engine, and testing will not begin until 2009. The CH-53K will not enter service until 2013, so this engine would not be ready for V-22 testing until most V-22 are already delivered. Then a new engine will require an entire V-22 test program and certification, and the software changes will be immense. Why not just stick in the proven engines now used by the Corps CH-53Es that have operated in Iraq for years with no problem? Because they need the extra power to try to overcome the flawed tiltrotor design.

I suspect this is all a plot to blame Rolls-Royce and not the Bell-Boeing V-22. The V-22's engine is just a variant of those used by the new C-27J and C-130Js. They have reported no problems. The problem is likely the V-22 excessive downwash, which is twice that of similar size helos. Moreover, helicopter blades are mounted on the fuselage and blow dust and debris outward, while the V-22's side by side blades blow into each other, creating a tornado effect. This can be seen in the Univ of Maryland computer simulations, at the is youtube video,


and in recent pictures from Iraq


From afar, this may seem normal for helos in the desert, but the difference is where the dust and debris is thrown. Helos push it away, while tiltrotors push half of it away and half of it around back into the engines.

Meanwhile, Bell-Boeing will get a billion dollars to redesign and refit the V-22s once again. Then as the broke down V-22s and angry marines return from the secretive mission in Iraq with horror stories, everyone will be told that is "old news" because the problem is not with the aircraft design, but just the engines, and a solution is at hand. Complaints about poor lift performance will be explained as the result of "weight gain", They will act surprised that all the essential components left off for OPEVAL caused weight gain when finally added. However, this will be a addressed by a new more powerful engine (that doesn't yet exist) Meanwhile, production will ramp up as more and more V-22s reach their service life of two years and are placed in storage.

They've been using these engines since 1989, and they just discovered a problem? They signed a contract to buy 370 more of the engines last Sept.


Recall the prediction is the USMC message from last June about V-22 critical maintenance issues



I can send a copy of the lengthy message if anyone wants it.

This is from the Corps' 2003 study



Because of the high disk-loading of V-22, the downwash velocity is about twice that of any conventional helicopter, and because of the side-by-side placement of the prop-rotors there are two distinct downwash wakes that are transverse to the flight direction. This has several operational implications that bear on safety issues. The most critical one, I believe, is the effects of downwash on landings at night in a desert environment - a challenge in any helicopter, but more difficult, and potentially dangerous, in the V-22.

We have seen a limited number of operations under these conditions, and the experience has not been good. Aircrew comments from the OPEVAL are best for summarizing the concerns:

"During CALS it was extremely difficult to safely clear the aircraft in and out of the zone. . . . we are going to big landing zones right now and smaller landing zones will greatly increase risk of prop-rotor or fuselage contact with obstacles." (Flight Engineer)

"Poor visibility from aircraft under NVG's do not allow proper separation from terrain/trees etc. and are a high risk item." (Flight Engineer)

" Landing in the desert will prove to be a challenge to aircrew. . . . Brownouts will be a common occurrence." (Pilot)

"Could not land the majority of time because the rotor wash created a brown out condition." (Cabin Crewmember)

"High velocity rotor wash does not enable the V-22 to operate in the same environment as the aircraft it is replacing (CH-46E/CH-53D)" (Cabin Crewmember)

"Excessive dirt and sand intrusion is evident during desert landings. Numerous failures and faults post landing (DSIU, NIU, RAPS). Most problems can be cleared by restetting the circuit breaker, but dirt and sand is having negative effects on any system." (Pilot)

"Sand/desert landings were not possible this evening." (Pilot)

"Dust cloud was made even when hovering 150' up." (Pilot)

"Dust generated up to a 200' AGL hover - reduces vision significantly and also clogs the nacelle oil coolers causing PRGB/TAGB hot cautions." (Royal Navy OTD)

"True desert is extremely challenging to land in the V-22." (Pilot)

"The best way to fly this airplane is on a sunny day about 70 degrees, no humidity to a paved landing strip, this is from a maintainers point of view because this aircraft ingests all of the above and it ruins parts." (Crew Chief)


Here is a message I sent out to some a couple weeks ago, wondering why the Corps stop forming new V-22 squadrons while it has 42 extra V-22s somewhere.

There is almost no news about the V-22. All in Iraq is secret. It seems they are restricted to hard surfaces and non-combat missions. One could even crash and they could hide it. The Marine Corps recently accepted its 100th production V-22. It now has three squadrons with 10 aircraft each. According to the 2007 aviation plan, each should have 12. That report is interesting because future funding shows the Corps has no interest in retiring the CH-46Es, which we are told the V-22 is replacing. So the Corps has 100 new V-22s and has yet to retire a single 40-year old CH-46E.

What is interesting is that it has been one year since the third V-22 squadron "stood up" with no official announcements about future transitions. So the Corps has three squadrons with a total of 30 aircraft. Four V-22s are assigned to the test squadron, and a large number of 20 are with the pilot training squadron. Two production aircraft crashed. Last year, two were scrapped, one broke a wing and the other burnt up an engine and wing. This accounts for 58. (see that link)

So where are the other 42 aircraft that have been delivered to the marines? They are getting another 15 or so this year. It takes around a year to "stand up" a new squadron. So what is the problem? I suspect they take the new aircraft off the production line and replace V-22s that are 1-2 years old because by that time they have so many problems they are unusable. I also suspect that V-22s in the three operational squadrons that suffer major damage and will take weeks to fix are instantly replaced by a nearby "spare" V-22 to fudge the squadron readiness numbers.

Note that recent reports and pictures of a V-22 with a belly gun are nothing more than a computer generated image. In addition, it must retract as it nears an LZ, so when the bird is sitting on the LZ for three or minutes unloading its troops or cargo it is defenseless.

Meanwhile, the $100 million V-22 will "succeed" as a small transport aircraft used as "aerial scouts" and airbase-to-airbase cargo missions, something a safer and far more capable and far cheaper C-27J could perform. Once the V-22 buy is completed, the Corps will buy more CH-53Ks than they planned and begin to retire the CH-46Es.


They don't mind discussing maintenance issues because that can always be "fixed." They will not discuss the fact that tiltotors are a flawed concept. Here is something short I wrote last year to summarize.

Why Tiltrotors Failed
Posted: May/08/2007 at 7:53pm

There are two basic reasons that tiltrotors fail as viable aircraft. The first reason is because "proprotors" are a compromise between a helicopter's large flat blades, and a propeller's smaller twisted blades.

Large flat blades provide the most pulling power, which is why they are used by helicopters. However, these blades are horrible for aircraft. They provide great pulling power, which explains the V-22's great acceleration as it converts to the aircraft mode. However, as it builds up speed flat propellers cause massive drag. As a result, propellers are a compromise between the need to pull the aircraft forward without causing too much drag. This is why they are much smaller and twisted.

Most of this is because the Spartan has small twisted propellers, but also because the V-22 has short wings to save weight. In short, a tiltrotor can fly like an airplane, but with less than half its performance in payload and range. Cruise speed is lower as well, around 230 knots for the V-22 and 305 knots for the Spartan.

The most direct comparison with a helo is with the CH-53, which is the roughly the same empty weight, the V-22 is actually bigger. The V-22 can carry only one-third its payload and has less range. This is because the CH-53's big flat rotors are designed to pick things up, and since they don't tilt forward, they are not a major drag problem in forward flight. Nevertheless, the V-22 can cruise faster, 230 knots vs 150 knots for the CH-53. (The V-22 demonstrated 240 knots during OPEVAL, but has since gained much empty weight as it is fully outfitted)

The Center for Defense Information recently released a detailed report on the V-22 that covers why proprotors perform poorly. They are a compromise between propellers and rotors, so they perform less than half as well in either mode.


CDI is run by retired military officers and provides some of the best independent defense analysis in the USA. Their staff includes two retired Marine Corps four-star Generals, and the former director of testing for the Pentagon.


They are hated by defense contractors since they have the contacts and expertise to flag failed programs. They are sometimes demeaned as a bunch of nuts by those fearing the truth, in hopes of dissuading citizens from reading their material. Generals who joined contractors for large kickbacks just after retirement hate CDI too, since those do-gooders didn't pursue riches after retirement.

The V-22 program discovered that tiltorotors are a bad idea in the early 1980s, so the

Bush I administration tried to cancel the program. Since then, the team did everything they could to cut empty weight to improve performance. They used lightweight composite skin, even though it catches fire easy and produces toxic smoke, and damage is not really repairable since it is cast as one piece, like one of those cheap plastic chairs.

They made the cabin 25% smaller than the CH-46E. They dropped the need to pressurize and fully heat or cool the cabin. They dropped the NBC protection. They made the ramp and floor so weak that floor spaces are sometimes required. They dropped the nose gun. They delayed the hoist and deicing until after OPEVAL.

Performance is still horrible. It may be fun to fly around mostly empty as has been done for decades, but marines will soon want V-22s to move lots of stuff, and they will be shocked at its poor performance.

Compare the V-22 with the new C-27J Spartan military transport, not be confused with the much older C-27A once used by the USAF. This aircraft uses the same two engines as the V-22 and is roughly the same size, measured in empty weight. Yet the Spartan can carry twice the payload of the V-22 three times further. Its cabin can carry an Hummer or several more troops than a V-22.

[EDITOR: C-27J can actually carry light tracked AFVs like the M113 Gavin which can be fitted with land mine and RPG resistant passive armor and ATGM and tank main gun round protective active defensesystems like IMI's IronFist while being fully cross-country mobile. Even if the V-22 worked, all it can deliver are foot-slogger victims.]


And for those of you still reading, the failed XC-142A tiltrotor program of the 1960s had the same problems as the V-22.


"During the prototype development the Navy decided to exit the program. They were concerned that the strong propeller downwash would make it difficult to operate. Their existing HR2S fleet had a ground pressure of about 7.5 lb/in, and proved to blow people about on the ground and stir up considerable amounts of debris. The C-142 was predicted to have an even higher loading of 10 lb/in, which they believed would limit it to operations to and from prepared landing pads and was therefore unsuitable for assault operations."

So the Navy rejected this tiltrotor because of its high disc loading of 10 lbs, while the V-22 produces 20 lbs.

And the V-22 suffers from the same design issues of XC-142A

"During testing the aircraft's cross-linked drive shaft proved to be its Achilles heel. The shaft resulted in excessive vibration and noise, resulting in a high pilot workload. Additionally, it proved susceptible to problem due to wing flexing. Shaft problems, along with operator errors, resulted in a number of hard landings causing damage. One crash occurred as a result of a failure of the drive shaft to the tail rotor, causing three fatalities. One of the limitations found in the plane was an instability between wing angles of 35 and 80 degrees, encountered at extremely low altitudes. There were also high side forces which resulted from yaw and weak propeller blade pitch angle controls. The new "2FF" propellers also proved to generate less thrust than predicted."

That's all, except the if the Corps signs a multi-year contract at this point, the FBI should be called in throw some cuffs on people. At the very most, they should keep production as the current level of 15 a year until the engine issues is fixed so that money can flow to other aviation needs. Hopefully, they will just cancel it.


A bad helicopter with small rotors and a bad airplane with small wings: V-22 OPEVAL Failure Hidden

By Carlton Meyer

In September 2005, the V-22 Osprey tiltrotor failed its second Operational Evaluation (OPEVAL); it failed its first one in 2000. However, a friend of the V-22 program wrote the OPEVAL report, which hid these failures. The OPEVAL report was withheld from release until Sept. 27, 2005 when a Defense Department panel met and rubberstamped it for full production after no analysis of the OPEVAL report. This article shows how the V-22 failed OPEVAL the second time as well. Note that a KPP is a Key Performance Parameter. If an aircraft is unable to meet it's KPPs, it is considered a failure. KPPs are not dreamed up by evil critics, but by marine aviators who expected the aircraft to easily meet that minimal standard. The basic purpose of an OPEVAL is to verify that KPPs can be demonstrated.

Major Failures During OPEVAL II

Key Performance Parameter1 Program Goal Contract Requirement Demonstrated in OPEVAL II Result

Guaranteed Empty Weight 31,827 lbs 33,140 lbs ~34,000 lbs FAILED

Cruise Speed at 3000 ft. 300+ knots 275 knots 240 knots3 FAILED

External payload, to 50 nm 15,000 lbs 10,000 lbs 7200 lbs FAILED

Internal payload, to 200 nm ~10,000 lbs4 5760 lbs 4760 lbs FAILED

Self-deploy, with one aerial refueling 2261nm 2100 nm 1600 nm FAILED

Landing Zone Maneuverability Combat Maneuvers Combat Maneuvers Defensive Maneuvers FAILED

Unit Cost, excluding RDT&E $41-$57 million NA $100-$115 million5 Not a KPP

1 Contract KPP Source: Department of the Navy, Naval Air Systems Command, Detailed Specification for V-22 Engineering Manufacturing Development, 13 December 1995 (modified 02 April 2002) SD-572-1 Revision C, KPPs on pages 5 and 18. The KPPs are the same in the 2000 LRIP contract.

2This is the Block A model which is minus the defensive gun, hoist, and de-icing system to reduce weight and improve performance for OPEVAL II; ballast was not substituted. The B model coming off the production line will have these features and thus several hundred pounds more empty weight, so flight performance will be worse. The OPEVAL report is confusing because it frequently refers to unverified contractor performance claims and even "explorated" contractor computations as proof of OPEVAL demonstration.

3 The OPEVAL II report has a chart on page 15 that includes unverified contractor hearsay and shows a cruise speed of 255 knots, but this is not mentioned in the text about testing, although it indicates 240 knots on page 40. The V-22 users manual "NATOPS" indicates a cruise 220-240 knots depending on aircraft gross weight.

4The V-22 sales pitch was that it could carry 20,000 lbs of cargo internally, and could carry 24 combat-equipped marines (5769 lbs) out to 430 nm and return home. OPEVAL II showed it couldn't even carry that payload 200 nm. This sales pitch can be verified on the Internet, at sites like Naval Technology and this older link from the marine corps which advertises 15,000 lbs external lift, while OPEVAL II demonstrated 7,200 lbs.

5 Unit cost figures from May'05 GAO Report $100 million; August'05 CRS Report $110 million; FY 2005 DoD budget $115 million each.

The OPEVAL II report reveals the V-22 failed all primary mission requirements. OPEVALs were created with the idea that an independent team of civilians from the Department of Defense should conduct final testing on military equipment to verify that military officers were not lying. It seemed like a good idea, but the problem is the DOT&E office is headed by political appointees who often do not understand what is going on around them. The man who signed this report, David Duma, is expected to understand all the complexities of National Missile Defense, the F-22, the V-22 etc. He probably read the executive summary which says all the KPPs were "satisfied" and just skimmed the remainder of the report before he signed it.

This OPEVAL was completed in June 2005, and the head of marine aviation, General Michael Hough said the report would be released in August. (see Aviation Week 7-18-05) However, release of the report was delayed until the same day the Defense Acquisition Board met on September 27, 2005. The board members must not have analyzed the entire report or they would not have voted to allow full production to commence. OPEVALs were once posted on the Internet by DOT&E. However, outside experts would read them and press reports would emerge about major failings, so posting OPEVALs on the Internet was halted when the Bush administration came into office.

Paper copies are available, so the good people at the Project on Government Oversight have posted it on the Internet for all to see. Given the obvious KPP faliures in the chart above, even jaded long-time observers of Pentagon games must be skeptical that V-22 performance is as bad as that chart indicates, and that DOT&E could produce an such a fraudulent report about their OPEVAL that skipped tests the Bell-Boeing team did not want to perform. One would think that an OPEVAL team would go down a checklist of the contract KPPs and tell the test team to demonstrate each KPP and mark each event as passed or failed. They did not, read the report, which clearly indicates the person at DOT&E who wrote the OPEVAL report intentionally hid the V-22's failed performance. He often resorted to blatant lies while constantly comparing V-22 performance to the 40-year old CH-46E, which is half its size and has been safety restricted to half its payload capacity due to airframe age, something he never notes.

Although the V-22 has now been officially approved for production, it has unofficially been in production since 1999, producing a dozen unsafe V-22s each year which were placed in storage to await upgrades. According to the acquisition chart on page CRS-11 in the August 2005 CRS report, only 23 of the V-22s in storage will be upgraded, so some three dozen new V-22s that cost some $3 billion dollars will be scrapped. Since V-22s now costs $115 million each, and a recent Congressional Research report estimated that price will not decline in future years, the Marine Corps has no planned funding to increase production anyway. Ironically, while Senator John McCain expresses outrage that C-130Js now costs $66 million each, he has voiced no concern about the $115 million V-22, even though the C-130J is twice it's size and with twice as many engines, the same engines too.

Another problem is that military contractors have managed to cozy up to the career civil servants in the DOT&E office. As a result, their work is often poor and it allows the military services and contractors to build junk because when problems arise they can say that DoD okayed it. Few in Washington care about this scandal right now, but after the next V-22 crashes, the media and Congress will be ready to hang someone. I'd love to watch a future congressional hearing like this concerning the September 2005 DOT&E report on the V-22 Osprey:

CONGRESSMEN: Welcome Mr. Duma, we have read your September 2005 V-22 OPEVAL report and have several questions. The contract guaranteed empty weight for the V-22 is 33,140 lbs. I understand that those tested in OPEVAL weighed several hundred pounds more than that, and the "Block B" model coming off the assembly line will have several hundred pounds more weight than the overweight "Block A." All this reduces aircraft performance. What was the empty weight of the V-22s you tested, and what is the projected weight for the Block B?

DUMA: We didn't weigh it, and I don't know the answers.

CONGRESSMEN: As you know, there has always been concern that the V-22 is so complex that it will break down often. Your reports notes the V-22 passed only 3 or 5 reliability tests. It took too much time to put V-22's back into the air after a mission abort (MRT). It also failed the projected mission capable rate of 82% for the V-22 when the entire fleet accumulates 60,000 hours; your OPEVAL team calculated only an average of 78% would be mission capable each day based on its record thus far. This is on page 29 in case you didn't read this part.

These brand new V-22s used during OPEVAL had a mission capable rate of only 86% (completed 157 of 182 flights). However, on page 29 it says someone in your office not part of the OPEVAL team developed his own model that showed a projected 88% rate at a total fleet time of 60,000 hours, which implies that V-22s will become more reliable as they age. So rather than report a KPP failure of 78% provided by your OPEVAL team, you included this outsider's 88% as fact. I also understand a member of your staff who wrote this report is good buddies with several Bell-Boeing reps.

DUMA: Aborts only disrupted a few missions.

CONGRESSMEN: But then on page 12 you describe one important test where two of the five V-22s aborted because of maintenance problems.

DUMA: Well yes.

CONGRESSMEN: An OPEVAL is supposed to be a realistic test. However, a "Fleet Support Team" of V-22 contractor personnel augmented the marine maintenance personnel. This level of support will not routinely be available to deployed marine V-22 squadrons, and yet it still had high mission abort rates and a poor mission capable rate for new aircraft. Why was this team of contractor maintenance experts allowed to improve the results of this supposedly realistic test of an all-marine squadron?

DUMA: I was told it was common.

CONGRESSMEN: Finally, one of the three measures which the V-22 passed (MFHBF) the V-22 managed 1.4 hours while the threshold was at least .09 hours. This means something broke down in a new V-22 every 1.4 hours of flight time. If something in my new car broke every 1.4 hours, I would take it back for refund. Anyway, that is considered a success in your report, however, you should have noted that the MFHBF threshold was 1.4 hours until the program cut that goal almost in half to .09 hours in 2002 because of dismal performance during the last OPEVAL.

DUMA: I didn't know that.

CONGRESSMEN: The OPEVAL notes the V-22's cruising speed in the airplane mode at 3000 feet is 255 knots, and that is much better than helicopter cruising speed of around 150 knots which is measured at 300 feet. However, the performance charts in the V-22 users manual called NATOPS indicates of cruising speed of no more than 240 knots. In addition, a USAF study last year says the V-22 conducting helicopter type missions flying at 300 feet must cruise less than 200 knots because of the thicker air. What did your OPEVAL show?

DUMA: We didn't test it's cruise speed at normal helicopter altitudes.

CONGRESSMEN: And why does your OPEVAL show the KPP at 240 knots when the contract KPP is 275 knots? Is it because the V-22 only demonstrated 240 knots?

DUMA: I'll have to check on that.

CONGRESSMEN: The last V-22 OPEVAL focused on the 171 hydraulic leaks, which is why it failed the last OPEVAL in 2000, just before a hydraulic leak caused another V-22 to crash. Your OPEVAL report mentions none, and doesn't say how frequently they occurred. It just noted the current configuration is "safe." How many hydraulic leaks occurred during this OPEVAL?

DUMA: That wasn't measured this time.

CONGRESSMEN: My reading the OPEVAL is that the V-22 is not shipboard compatible. Unlike helicopters with their blades folded, the V-22 must be unfolded to work on the engines. There is only enough room in the hangar deck to work on one unfolded V-22 at a time, and even then the blades cannot spread. Therefore, much engine maintenance must be performed on the flight deck. That means it can only be performed in good weather, during the daytime, and when their are no flight operations. Wouldn't you consider that a major problem? Have you conferred with any Navy ship captains on what this means?

DUMA: It's a problem.

CONGRESSMEN: Your report also notes that when the V-22s engines are up and it sits on deck for a few minutes, the deck begins to "buckle" as it blows extremely hot engine exhaust directly on the deck, which is also a serious safety hazard. These decks are made of steel, don't you mean melt?

DUMA: I don't know, experts are looking at the problem.

CONGRESSMEN: These problems arose after just a few days of V-22 shipboard operations, and your report noted they happened during previous shipboard testing with the V-22. I've never heard of melted steel fixing itself. Don't these indentations on the flight deck cause serious safety problems, especially for Harriers that use rolling take-offs?

DUMA: I don't know.

CONGRESSMEN: Your OPEVAL noted a failure of a key KPP, but didn't call it a failure. The external lift for a V-22 has a KPP of 10,000 lbs, with a goal of 15,000 lbs. The most it could demonstrate was 7200 lbs by lifting a HMMWV and moving 50nm. That is less than a light CH-60L can lift! Boeing says the 40-year old CH-46E design can lift 10,000 lbs (see Boeing technical stats) and it is half the size of the V-22. You could also have noted that the newest version of the tandem-rotor CH-46, the CH-47F, can pick up twice as much as the V-22. Then of course a 20-year old CH-53E can lift two HMMWVs further than a V-22 can lift one, and can fly fast enough to aerial refuel at the same time. (below)

Your report twice states that no other DoD VTOL aircraft can fly long missions like the V-22, ignoring the CH-53E that has a greater range than the V-22 and can also air refuel. Your report also included hearsay that the V-22 once picked up 9980 lbs, but I would think that if it could lift up a couple thousand more pounds, they would have demonstrated that during the OPEVAL. Your report also noted that the performance of the upgraded "Block B" V-22s will even be worse since they will include a few hundred pounds of extra weight in the form of a hoist, de-icing system, and defensive gun. So do you agree, the V-22 failed this important KPP?

DUMA: Okay, yes it failed to demonstrate that.

CONGRESSMEN: But on page E-1, your Executive Summary, you state the V-22 "satisfied" all KPPs. Another KPP that was not demonstrated, self deployment overseas. The goal of flying 2100 miles in eight hours was demonstrated by flying 1600 miles in one day? However, more hearsay crept into your OPEVAL report. Why did you include the hearsay from contractors that the "Block B" upgrade now in production can achieve this KPP, because of "explorated" performance calculations performed by the contractor. Will you agree this KPP was not demonstrated?

DUMA: Okay that KPP was not demonstrated.

CONGRESSMEN: Your report does admit that a V-22 cannot autorotate to a safe landing should it lose both engines, but claims that is not a problem because NAVAIR estimated the likelihood of that happening was one in a billion flight hours. However, the V-22s have accumulated less than 10,000 flying hours, and Air Force CV-22 #6 lost both engines last October while flying at 18,000 feet on its way to Edwards AFB. They were lucky to restart them at 10,000 feet and make an emergency landing at Prescott, Arizona.

DUMA: I am not aware of that incident.

CONGRESSMEN: I consulted a tiltrotor expert, and he said while the V-22 can fly horizontally with one engine, it is close to stall speed at high altitudes since its wings are so small, so losing one engine risks stalling out the other. In addition, there is concern that if a V-22 loses an engine crossing an ocean, it hasn't the speed to aerial refuel and may have to ditch at sea.

DUMA: Those things were not tested.

CONGRESSMEN: You also seem to have an error on page 1, where it states the V-22 can take-off and land vertically with only one engine. I've been told that has never been done, unlike a helicopter that can flare using autorotation and land with no engine power, a V-22 with payload will suffer serious damage if it must land vertically with one engine inoperative. The 2002 NASA report said testing was needed to see if a V-22 can land safely with one engine inoperative.

DUMA: We didn't test that.

CONGRESSMEN: Then why does your report say it can be done safely! The data on the Page 15 chart were not results from your OPEVAL, but hearsay from the contractor. For example, your staff didn't observe the V-22 lifting the lightweight howitzer and flying it 69 nm. Your staff didn't observe a V-22 "self-deploy" 2100 miles with one refuel. The chart shows "Block A projection" whose unexplained results are much better than what the Block A demonstrated to your team. Where did all this garbage come from?

DUMA: The contractor said it can perform better in ideal weather conditions, so we used his projections.

CONGRESSMEN: The V-22 flies most efficiently at 18,000 feet, but it is un-pressurized and according to a 2002 study by a medical doctor on your own staff, Colonel Ed Wakayama, the cockpit temperature falls to 14 degrees Fahrenheit . (On the Internet www.dtic.mil/ndia/2002training/wakayama3.pdf ) Even when bundled up in artic gear and wearing oxygen masks, painful bubbles form in the joints and pilot performance diminishes from the extreme cold. He noted this is unsafe and prohibited by current US Air Force regulations. I can only wonder what happens to all the internal electronics over time as they are frozen for several hours during each flight.

DUMA: I'll check into that. (staff whispers) Oh, World War II bombers flew in those conditions.

CONGRESSMEN: Yes, but they wore heated suits, those were very dangerous missions, and crews suffered so much they were limited to 25 missions. Back to 2005, do you have another study to refute Colonel Wakayama's report, if not, why didn't you mention that flying the V-22 over 10,000 feet is unsafe? Is this why self-deployment test were never done, because the V-22 cannot fly that far in denser air under 10,000 feet?

DUMA: I'll have to provide that for the record.

CONGRESSMEN: On some missions, the V-22s carried "ballast" e.g. sandbags rather than marines to prove KPPs. Page 12 notes the ballast used weighed 4760 lbs to represent 24 combat equipped marines. Doing some basic math, that is only 198 lbs per marine. I weigh 220 lbs, and marines carry at least 40 lbs of gear into combat. The standard marine planning guidance is 240 lbs per marine, that is in the V-22 contract. Therefore, wouldn't you agree this KPP to fly 24 marines 200 miles was not demonstrated and requires retesting with 5760 lbs of ballast, plus several hundred pounds added to represent the missing defensive gun and hoist?

DUMA: Perhaps.

CONGRESSMEN: Or maybe they chose 24 of the shortest, skinniest marines from the 2nd marine division for this test so they would fit in the cabin and weigh 1000 lbs. less. Moving 4760 lbs is equivalent of just 19 combat equipped marines, and I can only assume that the required 5760 lbs was not used because the V-22 cannot carry that load out to 200 nm as required by the contract KPP.

My reading of page 37 is that it is possible to cram 24 marines into a V-22 cabin if they have no backpacks as shown in that picture on page 34, but it is unsafe because of the difficulty in egress and a limited air cooling system. I have also been told that since the V-22 cabin is six inches narrower than the CH-46Es, crew chiefs cannot move about when passengers are seated with knees interlocked. This is shown on page 34. So crew chiefs cannot move about to check things, assist passengers, or extinguish small fires. Finally, the V-22 cannot fire machine guns from windows because the engines are in the way, so they plan to mount one on the ramp, making egress even worse.

DUMA: They plan to find a solution.

CONGRESSMEN: Why didn't you note that the V-22s cabin is 25% smaller than the CH-46E?

DUMA: I never heard about that.

CONGRESSMEN: I suggest you measure it, and you will find the contractor has lied. There is a footnote on page 12 that the test director decided to end the use of ballast to simulate payload because of "oil leaks". Please explain that bizarre decision?

DUMA: I'll have to check on that.

CONGRESSMEN: Did the V-22 program team ever explain to you why they have never been able to accomplish simple tasks like adding a personnel hoist and a defensive gun? The marine commandant General Mundy told them he wanted one back in 1999. Your report notes the V-22 will not even carry the .50 caliber heavy machine gun, the CH-46E can carry two. The V-22 will only have a hand carried 7.62mm medium machine gun mounted on the back ramp. If several V-22s approach a landing zone and begin taking enemy fire, how can they return fire with machine guns mounted on the back ramp?

DUMA: We didn't ask.

CONGRESSMEN: You also noted that the composite airframe cannot be repaired if it suffers battle damage. You suggest that if must be sent to a stateside depot for repair. Most all helicopters in Vietnam had patches to repair common bullet holes, but you are saying the V-22 cannot be patched by marines overseas?

DUMA: Repairs are difficult, probably must be done at depots. Repairs were not demonstrated.

CONGRESSMEN: The V-22 is expected to carry a wheeled vehicle. However, the last OPEVAL discovered that the V-22s composite flooring and ramp were too weak to support a wheeled vehicle unless floor spacers were used. The marine corps found that unacceptable as the spacers use up height and no one wants to assemble spacers on a ramp in an LZ. What did your OPEVAL show?

DUMA: We didn't test that.

CONGRESSMEN: After the loss of two V-22s in 2000, marine corps Generals and V-22 program officials repeatedly stated that there was no timeline constraint for fixing the V-22, that it would be fully tested. However, in your report you stated that much testing was not completed. Your report noted only 31 of 131 hours of night flying was done. Wouldn't agree that is a very sorry result?

DUMA: They couldn't find pilots to fly the missions.

CONGRESSMEN: Yes, but this program has existed for over 23 years, don't you think it was odd that they claimed they couldn't find any night qualified pilots to conduct these tests. Why didn't you delay the tests until such pilots were available?

DUMA: They had other things to do.

CONGRESSMEN: I found it very odd that with all the brilliant people involved, they couldn't coordinate full shipboard testing. Even if a ship was not available, why not conduct tests ashore? There is a simulated ship landing site at Bogue Field near Cherry Point with the outline of an LHA that Marines use all the time. Why wasn't that used for shipboard testing if ships were not available?

DUMA: I don't know.

CONGRESSMEN: Mr. Duma, your office is charged with conducting realistic testing in an operational evaluation setting. So why did you refrain from conducting realistic tests, and then recommend that realistic tests be conducted? I find this bizarre and have never read something like this in an operational evaluation which also recommends full production. The purpose of OPEVAL is to conduct the final testing. Who do you expect to conduct these tests? You are the final okay before full production, and you write in this report that you did not perform realistic "high threat" tests. Why?

DUMA: Contractors say more testing is needed.

CONGRESSMEN: Is it because they worry that rotorhead components might crack and the composite rotors might break off, as one almost did in 2003 (right) during a mishap that was kept secret.

DUMA: I am not aware of that incident.

CONGRESSMEN: Are you telling me that you chose not to do realistic tests because the contractor told you they were unsafe? So you are testifying that the V-22 has not conducted tests to prove it is safe in a realistic environment.

DUMA: It's safe, we just couldn't verify it.

CONGRESSMEN: Your OPEVAL occurred over a three month period. However, you report that brownout testing was not conducted because no one could find austere landing zones in the USA where they can be conducted. Is that correct?

DUMA: Well it rained at Nellis and the sand was moist.

CONGRESSMEN: Many have stated that V-22's downwash is no worse than a CH-53E. But the V-22 will not replace the CH-53E, which is a cargo helicopter with three times the payload capacity of the V-22. The V-22 will replace the CH-46E as an assault helicopter designed to insert marines into austere landing zones. Since the V-22 is twice the weight of a CH-46E, many are concerned about its downwash, and we don't know how bad it is because the testing was skipped during OPEVAL. Couldn't you just land on a sandy beach at Camp Lejeune?

DUMA: I don't know why.

CONGRESSMEN: Your report noted that marines at aviation logistic squadrons can only repair 90 of 590 V-22 parts. All the other parts must be returned to a depot for repairs. That's a remarkably high number and very expensive.

DUMA: Yes, we noted that.

CONGRESSMEN: So Mr. Duma, am I correct when I say that V-22 testing is incomplete, yet marines in the operating forces will soon begin using V-22 to fly realistic missions? In addition, you only tested the Block A aircraft, no one has tested the Block Bs which are coming off the production line and have several significant changes. Since the V-22 is incomplete, has not demonstrated key KPPs, and requires more testing, why didn't you recommend a third OPEVAL?

DUMA: We recommended more testing.

CONGRESSMEN: According to a March 2005 GAO report (www.gao.gov/htext/d05301.html), and I quote:

"The Navy plans to increase annual production of the aircraft starting in fiscal year 2006, provided the Secretary of Defense certifies to Congress that the program successfully completed operational testing by demonstrating several capabilities related to V-22 safety, effectiveness, maintainability, and reliability (Section 123, Pub. Law 107-107, Dec. 28, 2001) through operational test. The certification would allow the program to increase annual production above the current minimum sustaining rate. Program officials are concerned that the certification cannot be done before completion of the fiscal year 2006 budget process and, as a result, the request to increase production may not be granted."

Is this one reason why much of the testing was skipped, and the OPEVAL rushed?

DUMA: We didn't want to delay anything.

CONGRESSMEN: In summary Mr. Duma, you certified the V-22 as suitable for operational use by the Marines, even though it has failed to demonstrate the minimal performance required by all primary KPPs, has not been fully tested, failed shipboard compatibility, and is considered too unsafe for realistic tests at this time.

DUMA: I have to go now.


Here is a link to my V-22 article from last year: Why the V-22 is Unsafe

The OPEVAL mentioned that the large deck amphibious ships LHAs and LHDs would be "crowded" with 12 V-22s aboard, it was tested with 8 V-22s, and they recommended this should be studied. This is a very important issue that was not explained. The marines normally deploy with a mix of three transport helicopters aboard: 3 UH-1N "Hueys", 4 CH-53Es, and 12 CH-46Es. However, the V-22 is more that twice the empty weight of a CH-46Es, and occupies more space. Navy ships can only operate with so much weight on the flight deck lest they become top-heavy and unstable. Therefore, a V-22 cannot replace a CH-46E on an LHA or LHD on a one for one basis; only 6-8 V-22s can deploy with 3 UH-1Ns and 4 CH-53Es, so marines will have LESS lift than today.

A 2004 USAF study noted that the typical helicopter mission for an amphibious landing is flying 50nm missions at 300 feet AGL. It estimated that a loaded V-22 flying in denser air at that level will have a cruise speed of less than 200 knots. In addition, much of ship-to-shore turnaround time involves landing, refueling, loading or unloading, and taking off, activities where a higher cruise speed does not matter. The report concludes that the V-22's only advantage of a higher cruise speed provides only a slight improvement in ship-to-shore movement. In a contest between a V-22 and the similar size CH-53E to move cargo ashore, the CH-53E can move 2-3 times more cargo ashore each day. It is true that the 20-year old CH-53Es are maintenance intensive, which is why new CH-53Xs are needed.

Since Bell-Boeing's V-22 exceeded the contract guaranteed empty weight, the marine corps could have cancelled the program with no penalty. This is why getting approved for full production after OPEVAL was important for Bell-Boeing. Once the Marines accept reality that the V-22 is junk, they will have to pay a few billion in penalties to cancel it. Meanwhile, the marines hoped to overhaul and upgrade their aging CH-53Es into CH-53Xs starting in 2002, but the date was continually pushed back as the V-22 program stretched out and devoured more aviation funding. Last, year the marines realized that this program couldn't be funded until after 2010, and decided the CH-53E airframes would be so old that it was better to procure new CH-53Xs. However, Congress recently refused to fund prototypes for this program since the V-22 funding requirements have risen and according to the V-22s sales pitch; helicopters are outdated legacies. As a result, the marines will begin retiring 15 CH-53Es each year starting in 2011 with no heavy lift replacement.

To demonstrate the V-22's poor performance, the Army's newest Blackhawk , the CH-60L, is already fielded for less than $20 million a copy (compared to $115 million per V-22) and has an empty weight of 11,516 lbs, one-third that of a V-22, yet it can pick up more payload externally. That Sikorsky link shows it picking up an AVENGER HMMWV weighing 8750 pounds, and the chart shows it can move it over 60 nm. Recall the V-22 demonstrated picking 7200 lbs and moving it 50 nm. The Navy is now procuring a few hundred nearly identical MH-60S Knighthawks; the marines can join in that buy at $25 million a copy. This chart shows the results of the V-22 hybrid idea; it can fly like an airplane and a helicopter, but with only one-third the performance of either.

Aircraft Empty Weight Combat Troops Cruise Speed Payload to 50nm Useful load Range Unit Cost

MH-60S 11,516 lbs 14 147 knots 9,000 lbs 200nm $25 million
CH-53X 33,225 lbs 55 150 knots 28,000 lbs 540nm ~$50 million
MV-22B 34,000 lbs 182 240 knots 7,200 lbs 200nm $115 million
C-27J3 39,500 lbs 46 305 knots 25,320 lbs 1050nm $25 million

1 . Unit cost excludes research, development, evaluation, and testing costs. It is based on the latest contracts, with the exception of the proposed CH-53X where an estimated is provided. The V-22 program has always lied about unit cost, read V-22 Costs Soar.

2. The V-22s cabin is almost four feet shorter than the CH-46E. Nevertheless, the marine corps insists the V-22 can carry 24 combat equipped marines, even after the GAO determined that only 15-18 marines would fit. OPEVAL II demonstrated flying 4760 lbs 200 nm, or the equivalent of 19 combat equipped marines.

3The C-27J is a new two-engine STOL military transport airplane that uses the same two engines as the V-22. It is included to show how poorly the V-22 performs as an airplane, mostly because it has small wings to save weight and huge proprotors. The C-27J payload listed can be carried well past the 50nm in the chart, out to 500nm. It has a ferry range of 3200nm, compared to 500nm for the V-22.

The ability to "self-deploy" overseas is one of the most confusing aspects of the V-22 sales pitch. Many articles list the V-22's range as 2100 nm, even the respected "Aviation Week" listed that in its 2005 directory. Most people assume this means a V-22 can fly 2100 nm overseas with cargo or troops. That is false, the V-22 can carry a "useful load" of cargo only around 350 nm to another airbase, where it must refuel to fly back. If it flies with no cargo to another base, what is known as "ferry range," it can fly around 500 nm.

To reach 2100 nm, it has to embark a large (2436 gallon) auxiliary fuel tank in its cargo bay to double its fuel capacity. This extra weight means it must take-off from a paved runway with a long rolling take-off at a max gross weight of 60,500 lbs. In 20 years of testing, it has never managed to take off above 54,500 lbs. Then it must fly up to its most efficient altitude of ~18,000 feet for eight hours where the cockpit temperature falls well below freezing and pilots must wear oxygen masks, something considered unsafe by current regulations. Then it must meet up with a tanker and refuel in flight. (That is an error in the OPEVAL report which states it can fly 2100 nm with either an aerial refueling or an aux tank, it needs both.) The V-22s tested were unable to demonstrate this. The upgraded "Block B" coming off the assembly line will have larger wing tanks to carry more fuel, so it may reach the 2100 nm requirement, if it can get off the ground.

In reality, a V-22 can never really self-deploy 2100nm overseas since a KC-130 will have to fly alongside to refuel it halfway. Despite this self-deploy sales pitch, a V-22 has never flown overseas in over 23 years of flight testing, mostly because if it loses an engine or has some other problem, it may have to ditch at sea. This is why a CH-53E has never self-deployed overseas, although it is capable of doing so as it has greater range than a V-22, aux tanks to extend that, and can also air refuel. Finally, if a V-22 were to self-deploy to Hawaii for example, the pilots would need at least 24 hours off for crew rest before continuing on the next leg, and a tanker link-up coordinated for every leg. Given all these complications, it is safer, cheaper, and easier for a V-22 or any helicopter to just ride a ship overseas. It is probably faster too given the need for several crew rest stops and a week or more delay to fix whatever breaks down during long icy flights.

The OPEVAL skipped the "Eagle Claw" demonstration, claiming it could not coordinate tanker support the night the test was planned, yet never explained why that test wasn't done a different night. The ability to perform an "Operation Eagle Claw" mission has always been the V-22's main selling point. This was the 1980 Iranian rescue mission which was complex and failed. It has long been argued that V-22s could have carried troops on those 600 nm missions flying at 200 ft. with a single refueling each way. Apparently, the V-22 cannot even demonstrate this mission, one of its primary justifications. It has the range if it can fly high, but flying in dense air at 200 feet pushes its cruise speed down to 185 knots and burns more fuel. This is no problem for the marines since the CH-53E can perform that mission with three times more payload. That Eagle Claw link notes the old Navy RH-53D used on that mission entered service in 1973, could carry 30 passengers when fully fueled, and once flew 2077 nm with one aerial refueling and no aux tank, so it had greater payload and greater range than the V-22.

V-22 supporters constantly moan that all aircraft have trouble in development. That is true, which is why some are cancelled. The Navy XFY-1 Pogo (left) is a good example. It was a revolutionary "tail sitter" aircraft capable of vertical take-offs and landings. On 02 November 1954 the XFY-1 delta wing experimental fighter, piloted by J. F. Coleman, made a successful flight at NAS Moffett Field, consisting of vertical takeoff, transition to horizontal and return to vertical position for landing. The first free vertical takeoff had been made on 1 August. For his contribution to the art of flying, in testing the XFY-1, Coleman was later awarded the Harmon International Trophy for 1955.

The XFY-1 was able to successfully take off and land vertically, yet the project was cancelled at the completion of this flight test program in 1955 from a combination of handling problems and the realization that the design could not match the performance of contemporary fighter aircraft. The main problems with these VTOL airplanes were the tricky piloting maneuvering required in the take-off and landing and the need to tilt the entire aircraft over into conventional flight. The XFY-1 was a "revolutionary" aircraft, like the V-22. It flew and completed flight testing, like the V-22. Yet it wasn't as capable as hoped and too dangerous to operate in the fleet, like the V-22. The marines liked the V-22 sales pitch and still want an aircraft that can meet that advertised performance, but the program has produced a V-22 whose performance not only failed to meet expectations, but performs well below the minimum required. In addition, it is costing twice as much to procure and safety concerns remain a major issue.

Mr. Duma's predecessor at the Department of Defense Test and Evaluation office had stood up to Bell-Boeing and bravely failed the V-22 in the 2000 OPEVAL, a month before the fourth V-22 crashed because of faults he had noted in his report. After reading this latest OPEVAL, he became angry that his former office had produced a fraudulent report and become a public relations arm for Bell-Boeing. In an October 4, 2005 interview with Inside the Navy, he said: "Considering its performance limitations, the V-22 is going to be a costly aircraft to buy and to maintain," Philip Coyle, a former chief of the Pentagon's operational testing directorate, told ITN. "And considering the accident history of the V-22, it may be costly in terms of lives lost as well. Spending money on an aircraft with significant combat limitations is a waste, especially at a time when the U.S. military is spread thin and could well use the resources for other, higher-priority needs. If the V-22 causes further loss of life, that will be a tragedy that could have been prevented by a decision to delay full-rate production."


Tell us the number of men that must die before we conclude the V-22 is a mechanically unsound death trap and cancel it as Dick Cheney wanted to do when he was Secretary of Defense? Maybe he can get this done as VP?

What's the death count now?

7, 19, 4?

16 years in development the V-22 is still not safe to fly and it never will be!

How many C-17s have crashed since being operational in 1993? What? 9 years later and ZERO C-17 crashes! Zero fatalities!

In the best reporting by anyone to date on the V-22 fiasco, former marine officer Carlton Meyer proves without a doubt that the V-22 deathtrap is a cash cow that must be stopped immediately. I quote his article in its entirety below from his superb web site g2mil.com:

It has been widely reported that the V-22 Osprey will resume testing in May 2002. However, the big surprise is that no redesigned V-22s are ready for testing. According to the April 2002 V-22 Report to Congress - pdf (its not blank, click down after it loads), the only modification to the new test V-22s over the last 16 months was to strengthen the hydraulic lines and upgrade software. The actual V-22 redesign will occur in three stages over the next six years, in Blocks A, B, & C. Block A aircraft will not be ready for flight testing until the end of 2003, and the final Block C changes will not be done until 2008, assuming no delays occur. Operational Evaluation by marine crews are tentatively scheduled to start in FY2005.

This is why the Bell-Boeing team and some marine generals continually emphasize that testing has no timelines, and will be "event driven" and not "schedule driven". In fact, they've established a scheme where NAVAIR (the Naval Aviation development section) must approve each phase of testing to certify safety. The report to Congress lays this out in section where NAVAIR must "assess operational risk factors before authorizing increased risk flights (e.g. assaults, night flying, weather flying)."

Last year, there were many statements that aggressive flight testing to determine if the V-22 was safe would begin in April 2002, which became April 29, then May 10. The Report to Congress reveals that flight testing will not begin until August 2002. NAVAIR explained that pilot requalification will take four months. However, since the final redesigned V-22 will not be ready until 2008, any real testing may be "unsafe", and could result in a career-ending crash for senior officers at NAVAIR. So the V-22 will simply repeat the same "safe" tests that were performed in the 1990s, and if anyone asks why serious tests have not been conducted, they can point at NAVAIR, and claim the moral high ground of "Safety First". Even if a V-22 crashes during regular flights, they can point out it was the "old" V-22 design, and the problem is being corrected. Meanwhile, another $12 billion will flow into the pockets of Bell-Boeing over the next six years while dozens of new V-22s roll off the production line and into storage hangers.

Brownout testing

Since the V-22's small rotors produce three times more downwash than helicopters, many pilots have expressed concern about "brownouts", which occur when dirt and dust fill the air blocking all vision. (note the water in the photo above) The U.S. military has damaged several helicopters in Afghanistan when hard landing occurred due to brownouts. The extent of this problem with the V-22 appears serious, but according section of the Report to Congress: "The planned development testing does not include unimproved site ops where brownout is typically encountered..." The reports suggests that brownouts can be avoided by using "non-hover landings".

Air Combat Maneuvering

One of the problems of the V-22 is that its unstable design does not allow it to maneuver aggressively in hostile landing zones. Section of the Report to Congress states this problem has been solved. The Bell-Boeing team pressured the Department of Defense to create a term, "Defensive Maneuvering; which is defined as "...maneuvers performed within the design specifications of the aircraft performance " In short, if something can fly, it's ready for combat.

The V-22 Redesign Ignores Vortex Ring Problem

Experts were unable to develop a solution to the Osprey's fatal "vortex ring" problem, which causes the V-22 to fall from the sky if it descends too fast at slow speeds. The real problem is stalling one of the asymmetric rotors , just like stalling a wing of an aircraft, but calling the problem "vortex ring" is preferred by Bell-Boeing since it sounds minor. They concluded that a device which can measure low forward air speeds could help the pilot avoid this fatal problem, and recommended developing a prototype. (see Section 3.2.35 of the Congressional Report.)

The February 2002 issue of Armed Forces Journal, explains: "since the V-22 has asymmetric rotors on its wing tips, if one of them encounters the vortex ring state phenomenon before the other, the aircraft will be inclined to roll over. That's one of the reasons why V-22s are presently limited to a rate of descent of less than 800 feet per minute. While that would be adequate for a commercial operation, it's far short of what the military needs -- several thousand feet per minute -- during tactical insertions." This was hidden in an article about Optical Air Data Systems, where Phil Rogers describes his efforts to save the V-22 program. Rogers said: "Right now, there's nothing that can measure low forward speeds -- below 40 knots -- accurately enough to let them get to that envelope, but not into it. The standard pneumatic systems that are used for that purpose are not sensitive enough to measure below 40 knots. The other problem with pneumatic systems is that they are in the rotor wash. So unless you have a high forward speed, the rotor wash dominates any measurements that are made."

Rogers' company is conducting a feasibility demonstration to determine if a laser can measure low forward air speed. This story reveals that after 20 years of tiltrotor development, and two years after the vortex ring state problem was proven a fatal flaw, no solution has been developed. V-22 pilots cannot rapidly descend for combat missions because no instrument can accurately measure forward airspeed to warn them they may flip over. Until this problem is solved, there is no point in restarting V-22 testing, or continuing to build flawed V-22s. This problem has already been studied for years and the only hope is a laser theory which has produced a "feasibility study". In short, a laser measurement device may be perfected within a few years, which may help pilots avoid the V-22s fatal vortex ring problem. Meanwhile, combat maneuvering will not be tested in the V-22 because NAVAIR will rule it unsafe until a low forward airspeed measurement device is invented.

The V-22s NATOPS (operating manual) used by ALL pilots of the V-22 clearly states on Page I-4-13, WARNING "Air Combat Maneuvering and Aerobatics are PROHIBITED." This is a simple and direct mandate. There is little room for argument. It is in essence a form of regulation, the violation of which can lead to an investigation by the Navy JAG, along with some form of punishment, transfer, loss of ratings -- or worse. NATOPS provides further evidence that the "Flight Envelope" of the V-22 is highly restrictive, with words such as:

"During Maneuvering at low airspeed, Accelerated Stall can be achieved at moderate bank angles and/or load factor."

"Because of the inherent instability of the tiltrotor ---"

"Potential energy cannot be stored in the propulsion system" (as helicopters do)

"Practice Autorotations, to include entry or glide , are PROHIBITED"

"Abrupt multi-axis control inputs are PROHIBITED"

Here are more worrisome NATOPS extracts - pdf These limits are an admission that the V-22s fundamental instability problems remain, so pilots are directed not to make abrupt movements or descend rapidly, lest they roll over and drop from the sky. When a US Army MH-47 helicopter was hit by a small rocket while landing in Afghanistan, the pilot yanked the stick so abruptly to escape that a Navy SEAL was thrown out the back ramp. If this were a V-22, the pilot would have crashed the entire aircraft, killing everyone on board because: "Abrupt multi-axis control inputs are PROHIBITED"

The Osprey is unarmed

Even if a new device allows a V-22 to safely and SLOWLY descend into a combat landing zone; this is where 91% of combat losses occur. Transports have a "door gunner" on each side who shoot a rapid-fire machine gun (called mini-guns, right) at enemy positions below to "suppress" enemy fires. When several helicopters land in formation, the volume of fire pouring down is impressive. However, the V-22 will have no door gunners because the tandem rotor design blocks half their view and field of fire. No one wants a door gunner attempting to shoot around a massive rotor and wing sticking out the side of an aircraft; the rotor wash would affect his accuracy anyway.

The V-22 program has dodged this issue. The original explanation was that it could be added later in the program. In the 1990s, they convinced marine corps leaders that a gun could make the pilot too aggressive, thus endangering his passengers. When General Jones become Commandant in 1999, he insisted the V-22 must have a gun to provide suppressive fire. As a result, Jones was told a rapid fire GAU-19 .50 caliber machine gun would be mounted on a turret under the nose and fired by the co-pilot. (similar to the 20mm gun on the Cobra attack helo at left) This is not a simple task since the 608lbs GAU-19 with several hundred rounds of ammunition and the electric pivoting nose chin will take a lot of space under the crowded cockpit. The extra of weight and bulbous chin will also reduce speed and performance.

The past 16-month delay for the V-22 redesign was the ideal time to add the gun into the test aircraft. This is important because the gun's weight and vibration while firing will affect aircraft performance. Since the GAU-19 is a proven gun, there is no reason to delay. However, testing will resume without the GAU-19. In fact, the current plan delays adding the gun until the very end of testing in 2008. The Bell-Boeing team may imply the GAU-19 is something which can just be bolted on at the very end. If its that simple, why not bolt it on now? Obviously, there is a major problem with adding the GAU-19, so Bell-Boeing will continue to dodge this issue until it goes away. As a result, if a safe V-22 is ever developed, it will fly into combat completed unarmed. Since the V-22s are much faster than the Cobra attack helicopters that escort transports, they will have to fly as slow as helicopters and negate their only advantage.

The Tilt-rotor may Tilt sideways aboard ship

While in flight "the location of the engines, gear boxes and rotors at the wing tips causes relatively high roll and yaw inertia". This is a direct quote from NATOPS section 9.2. This also causes serious problems aboard ship. The roll of a ship or gusts from nearby aircraft can cause a V-22 on ship to tilt over on the deck and squash sailors and Marines nearby. A NAVAIR report by Kurt Long -pdf states this danger is "VERY significant" and "...could prohibit ALL shipboard ops." This problem was ignored in the redesign because no solution exists.

STOL Payload and Range

Most people are confused by the V-22's payload and range. For example, why can it lift 20,000lbs of payload internally, but only 15,000 externally. Here are the official maximum take-off weights:

47,500 lb Vertical Takeoff/Landing (VTOL)*
55,000 lb Short Takeoff/Landing (STOL)
60,500 lb Self Deploy STO

*Last year, the new V-22 project manager inexplicitly raised the max VTOL weight to 52,600, while the V-22 was grounded.

Apparently, if the V-22 must take off vertically like a helicopter, its maximum take-off weight drops by 7500lbs. When operating from large land bases, STOL "rolling" short take-offs are no problem. STOL take-offs from LHA/LHD carriers are possible if the deck is cleared. However, this becomes very difficult during amphibious operations when 30 other aircraft are operating from a ship. In Fleet operations, no one will ever attempt a rolling take-off with a heavy payload because cargo comes in many sizes and forms, and mistakes about weight are common. A helicopter or V-22 attempting to lift something vertically quickly learns he cannot lift off, so they off-load some weight. However, an overloaded V-22 attempting a rolling STOL take-off, or one whose engines are not providing 100% power, may roll off the deck and plunge into the sea. The first time that happens, rolling V-22 take-offs from ships will be banned forever. AV-8B Harrier jets make rolling take-offs all the time, but they have wings for added lift, know exactly how much their fuel and ordnance weighs, and can eject if problems develop.

So whenever Bell-Boeing mentions the V-22 range or payload, they are probably assuming STOL. A report on the V-22 sea trials by V-22 test pilot LtCol John Rudzis reveals the maximum STOL take-off weight attempted was only 47,300 lbs, nearly 8000lbs less than advertised. He also mentioned that : "A left seat landing under relative winds over deck of 355 deg relative and twenty-five knots resulted in a roll excursion of thirty-seven degrees angle of bank while only ten feet above the deck level. Only that the left rotor was over the water and full power had been applied to initiate a climb, prevented the nacelle or rotor from impacting the ship. Further testing in these conditions was suspended until this event could be thoroughly investigated."

Fewer V-22s can fit on ship

Few people realize the V-22 weighs almost as much as the powerful CH-53E, which can carry twice as much. The V-22 can automatically perform a contortionist routine to save space, although maintenance officers cringe when shown the photo at right. They know that after a few years of wear and countless automatic folds, every moving part eventually breaks.

Nevertheless, Navy ships can only carry so much weight before they become unstable. This is particularly important for objects high on ship, like on the flight deck. As a result, some Marine leaders have just discovered the Corps cannot deploy twelve V-22s aboard ship with a standard MEU composite squadron. So assuming that V-22s ever become safe, a MEU can deploy with no more than eight V-22s, instead of today's twelve smaller CH-46Es. Actually, the CH-46E has more internal cargo space than the V-22, it just weighs much less.

This is why the LHA/LHD Replacement program recently emerged. Some people want to spend billions of dollars to design a new class of bigger flattop amphibs just to carry a MEU composite squadron with twelve V-22s, rather than continuing to buy modern LHDs. The LHDs are already larger than any World War II aircraft carriers, and larger than any foreign aircraft carriers. Even if this expensive idea for larger ships is adopted, it will be ten years before the first appears in the Fleet, and 35 years before the last "undersized" LHD retires, along with the last V-22s.

Bell and Boeing Lack Confidence in Tilt-Rotors

One of the selling points for the V-22 is that tiltrotor technology will revolutionize civilian aviation. Bell teamed up with Augusta several years ago to produce a smaller tiltrotor, called the BA609 (photo of mock-up at right). They decided to use the standard 3000psi hydraulic system, rather than the new 5000psi system which has plagued the V-22. Many were surprised the V-22 redesign kept the leak-prone 5000psi system.

Bell claimed to have orders for 80 BA609 aircraft for VIP use, which doesn't require as stringent safety specifications as passenger aircraft FAA certified for commercial use. When the V-22 crashes raised questions about the safety of the tiltrotor, Bell did not press on with the BA609 to demonstrate its confidence in tiltrotor technology. Instead, Bell halted plans to begin BA609 flight tests and seek FAA certification, and recently stopped all work on the BA609.

Boeing is the world's largest maker of commercial aircraft. Why isn't Boeing marketing a commercial version of the V-22? This would not require research, testing, or development funding. They can simply put passenger seats in V-22s which can come off the established production line and sell them to airlines, just as companies have done with military helicopters. However, Boeing has made no effort to market a commercial version of the V-22. Why?

Helicopter expert Harry Dunn says the reason is the V-22 can never pass FAA safety tests due to its unstable design. Meanwhile, Boeing is working on a new canard wing design (left). So if tilt-rotor technology is safe and revolutionary, why has it been dismissed by every foreign and domestic aircraft maker, including Bell and Boeing, the makers of the V-22? The Russians built two tiltrotor prototypes for testing, and determined the concept was unsafe. Why has the V-22 been rejected by the U.S. Army, U.S. Coast Guard, and recently the U.S. Navy? The U.S. Air Force is still officially in the program only because Congress adds money each year for the CV-22.

Meanwhile, Bell-Boeing has been sued by several family members of those killed by the V-22 whose lawyers said they could prove that executives knew the V-22 was unsafe. Bell-Boeing denied this charge, yet refused a chance to refute these charges in open court and settled each case, all with a confidentially agreement which required that facts be withheld from the public.

The Navy MH-60S is superior

Recently, Congress began asking about alternatives to the V-22. The marine corps dodged this issue, then offered the European EH-101 as a possibility, knowing that Congress would never support the purchase of a foreign aircraft. The Corps ignored the new Sikorsky S-92 helicopter, which has been sold to Ireland and Communist China. It claimed it would take years to develop a "navalized" version of the Army Blackhawk , ignoring the Navy HH-60H Seahawk , which has been in service for years, and an advanced version, the MH-60S Knighthawk, which just entered Navy service. The Knighthawk can carry a crew of four and 13 passengers or 10,000lbs of cargo, which is twice the payload of the older CH-60A "Blackhawk in service with the U.S. Army.

The marine corps can simply sign a production contract to join in the Navy buy for Knighthawks in FY2003. Navy H-60 spare parts and training programs have been functioning for years, and the Corps already operates eight VH-60s as part of the Presidential helicopter squadron. If the marine corps joined the Army, Navy, and Air Force by adopting the Sikorsky H-60 series for basic transport, all services would save money and improve interoperability. This year, the Navy bought 17 MH-60S for $17 million each, they would cost even less if purchased at a higher rate with a joint marine corps buy. The MH-60S can carry almost as much as the MV-22, at one-sixth the price. The Navy is impressed with the MH-60S and will use them to replace their CH-46D helicopters, rather than buying 48 HV-22s.

Adopting the H-60 design would allow the marine corps to add a new capability by modifying some MH-60S as EH-60E electronic warfare or MH-60Q Medi-vac helicopters, using components already in service with the Army. The Corps can also buy some MH-60Ks (right), which have larger fuel tanks and refueling probes which allow it to fly much farther than the MV-22. Another advantage is that the MH-60S is equipped to carry 16 Hellfire anti-tank missiles. This would quadruple the airborne anti-tank firepower of the marine corps. For example, MEU composite squadrons which the Corps maintains forward-deployed include four Cobra attack helicopters which could be supported by twelve MH-60S carrying Hellfires and machine guns.

The MH-60S Knighthawk is also far superior as an assault aircraft. First, it is smaller and thus harder to hit. Second, it can safely descend three times faster than the V-22 with no worry of flipping over. Third, it has machine guns for suppressing enemy fire. Fourth, it has side cargo doors to allow Marines to leap out immediately, rather than wait their turn to file out the back ramp of a V-22. The Army suffered many casualties using CH-47s in Afghanistan when two were shot up as Soldiers waited to file out the back ramp. Fifth, the downwash from the V-22 is so bad that marines must lie down until the V-22 leaves, and rope ladder extractions are impossible. Finally, a $17 million MH-60S is easier to replace than a $118 million V-22, which is why former marine James Webb opposed the V-22 program in the 1980s when he was Secretary of the Navy. The US lost thousands of helicopters during the Vietnam conflict; they must be affordable. The FY 2002 budget provides $1.3 billion for 11 MV-22s ($118 million each) plus $447 million for testing (or $159 million each in annual costs). The marine corps could have purchased 103 MH-60S helicopters with that money.

When will the V-22 Scandal end?

The V-22 program was canceled by the Bush administration back in 1989 after two prototype crashes. After an extensive review, then Navy Secretary Sean O'Keefe told the House Armed Services Committee, "The V-22 cannot be built to meet the requirements specified. It's an engineering impossibility." However, politics revived the flawed program and another $10 billion was spent on testing and development until two disastrous crashes led to the grounding of the V-22 in December of 2000. Nevertheless, production was authorized and four billion dollars later the V-22 will fly again, while performing all five phases of aircraft creation simultaneously: research, development, testing, production, and upgrades. This bizarre arrangement produces a new $159 million V-22 each month which is unsafe to fly. It rolls off the assembly line and into storage awaiting upgrades, or eventual donation to an aviation museum. Even if a safe V-22 has not been developed by 2008, the V-22 team will argue that 100 flawed V-22s have already been built, and the marine corps cannot afford to cancel the program.

If politicians have such confidence in the V-22, why not announce the first V-22s will become part of the President's VIP helicopter squadron-HMX-1? This marine corps squadron has a secondary mission of testing helicopters, and flying VIPs around the East Coast is much easier for the V-22 than operating from ships or in combat zones. NAVAIR's website claims "The Osprey's size, speed, range and ability to land in tightly confined areas would create a revolution in the Executive/VIP transport role." Flying politicians around will prove their confidence in the V-22s safety, yet is unlikely they will risk their lives in an unsafe aircraft.

Meanwhile, where are the dozens of unflyable V-22s today? As a final example of how bad this program has become, here is a recent Navy contract announcement.

Bell-Boeing Joint Program Office, Patuxent River, Md., is being awarded a not-to-exceed $5,719,000 modification to a previously awarded cost-plus-fixed-fee contract (N00019-00-C-0183) for long-term preservation and storage of 19 V-22 aircraft until Block "A" configuration changes, safe and operational fleet return to flight are developed and implemented on the aircraft prior to delivery. Work will be performed in Amarillo, Texas, and is expected to be completed by December 2002. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.

That's right, taxpayers will pay Bell almost $6 million dollars to store 19 of their defective V-22s, that's $301,000 for each, just of storage. The V-22 has become the biggest scandal in U.S. military history, with some $16 billion wasted thus far. New technology always presents problems, yet many are unsolvable so the project was cancelled. It's clear the tiltrotor idea has failed, which is why even Bell and Boeing are not building commercial tiltrotor aircraft. Every month the Bell-Boeing team can stall, it gets another $159 million, payments which are not "event driven". Unless action is taken, there is no doubt the V-22 will still be testing and developing in 2010.

Carlton Meyer editor@G2mil.com

More details about V-22 flaws can be found in two G2mil articles from last year: The V-22 Fiasco and MV-22 Lies. Many helicopter experts were so appalled by the findings of the V-22 "Blue Ribbon Panel", which was formed to keep the V-22 program going and consisted of no rotorcraft experts, they formed a "Red Ribbon Panel" to present the truth. They produced a detailed technical report on the cause of the V-22 crashes which you can read here: Red Ribbon Panel Study Their coordinator, Harry P Dunn, is a graduate of the United States Naval Academy - with several months of USMC training - and a retired Colonel in the U.S. Air Force. He was Flight Test Director of the H-3 Jolly Green Giant Rescue helicopter and the world's first In-Flight Refueling for Helicopters Program with some 45 years of direct association with helicopter/rotorcraft/VSTOL programs. He contributed to this article and can be reached at Hpdunn@aol.com if anyone wants to discuss technical aspects as to why the V-22 is fundamentally flawed.

Admiral Steven Baker also says its time for the V-22 to put up or shut up; when it fails it should be cancelled.

Defense Week
April 29, 2002
Pg. 2 The V-22 Osprey: It's Time For Realistic Testing

By Rear Adm. (Ret) Stephen H. Baker, USN

Several U.S. commanders have recently said they could use the V-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft in Afghanistan. The V-22 is not available in Afghanistan for one reason: because it has been in full-scale development for 16 years but still hasn't proven it can perform its missions safely and effectively.

In order to prove it can do that, it will have to change course and start performing some realistic operational tests.

Four V-22 test aircraft have crashed: No one was killed in a 1991 crash; an accident in 1992 killed seven marines; a third in April 2000 killed 19; and in December 2000, four marines were killed, including the most senior Osprey test pilot. Since then, a $25 million inspection program has determined the V-22 is safe enough to restart the developmental flight-test program. That testing is scheduled to start May 9 and should last for at least two years.

The Pentagon's Quadrennial Defense Review stresses the importance of light, fast-moving forces that can be projected deep into enemy territory. The commander-in-chief of Central Command, Army Gen. Tommy Franks, stated at a February hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee that a system with the advertised speed and range of the V-22 tiltrotor would have aided his Marines and Special Forces in Afghanistan. Air Force Gen. Charles Holland, commander-in-chief of U. S. Special Operations Command, told the same panel last month: "We feel very strongly we need tilt-rotor technology; we need the technology that comes with the CV-22."

If the program were not 10 years behind schedule due to developmental problems, the V-22 just might have been a major performer in Operation Enduring Freedom. But right now, no one has a clue if the V-22 can ever do its job.

The defense secretary's latest operational test report on the V-22, in December 2000, stated that the Osprey is operationally effective but not suitable, citing a host of issues regarding technological readiness. As the Operational Test and Evaluation Commander for the Navy from 1995 through 1999, the major concern I had regarding the early operational assessments of the V-22 was the lack of realistic operational testing.

Today, that concern remains.

Since its entry into full-scale development in 1986, operational testing of the V-22 has not been adequate. Several groupsblue-ribbon panels, the General Accounting Office and an independent NASA/DOD panel assigned to examine tiltrotor technologyhave scrutinized the V-22 schedule delays, cost increases and performance problems. One common thread among the studies: a worry about the lack of operational testing.

The Bush administration's fiscal 2003 defense budget asks for $2 billion to continue V-22 production, including $497 million to correct technical problems and conduct further testing. Since 1983, the Pentagon has obligated approximately $14 billion to develop and build 61 V-22s. However, a tremendous amount of work still needs to be done before we will be sure the V-22 can safely do its job.

First, the "vortex ring state" is a problem that involves potential stalling of the plane's side-by-side rotors and the consequential rolling of the aircraft when turning sharply or stopping quickly. This anomaly is a significant flight-safety issue. The Pentagon needs to better understand the safe flight envelope, vortex ring state and stall characteristics during pull-up and other sharp maneuvers. (The NASA panel also emphasized these issues.)

Further, the planned changes to the V-22's flight control software, cockpit displays and the redesign of the engine nacelles are major modifications that will require a substantial amount of time and testing. About three dozen aircraft will have to be retrofitted with these changes once the fixes themselves are validated.

There also is little knowledge of how the V-22 is going to operate with other V-22s on amphibious ships. Similarly, the V-22 is supposed to be able to operate on and off amphibious ships in mixed fleets with helicopters and other aircraft. However, such maneuvers have never been tried in operational testing. Such testing is important because problems could arise from the interaction of the V-22's rotors with other aircraft.

Finally, the capability for a V-22 to land in an austere environment such as on unprepared runways or hover over landing or drop zones is another important unknown issue. "Brownouts" from downwash in desert or dusty conditions have been a contributing cause of several recent helicopter mishaps in Afghanistan. Yet the downwash from a V-22 can be considerably more than that caused by current helicoptersthe Air Force special operations MH-53J Pavelow III, the Marine Corps CH-53 Super Stallion heavy-lift helicopter and CH-46E Sea Knight medium-lift chopper. The Marines already know that the cockpit seals have to be fixed on the V-22: in early flights, dust coming into the cockpit sometimes got so thick that even reading the instrument panel was a problem.

The Pentagon should view the upcoming V-22 testing as sink-or-swim. This time around, when the Osprey is finally looked at by the independent operational testers, it is essential that the services be given the time and latitude to test the V-22 in the most realistic operating environments available, and with a fleet-representative version of the aircraft. The previous attitude of cutting corners is a recipe for failure.

What's more, Pentagon acquisition chief E.C. "Pete" Aldridge has another concern to deal with in evaluating the V-22's future: cost. In 1986, a single V-22 was estimated to cost $24 million, with 923 aircraft on the order books. The current Selected Acquisition Report made public earlier this month calls for building 458 Ospreys for $46.2 billionor more than $100 million apiece. That per-copy estimate is up $15.8 million from three months before, an 18.5 percent hike.

The final unit cost of a V-22 is impossible to predict, however, because of all the technical questions yet unanswered. Testing and modifications will take time, likely resulting in schedule delays that inevitably drive up per-unit cost. Late last month, Bell Helicopter and Boeing were awarded another contract, this one worth $770 million, to build 11 more MV-22 Ospreys.

If the aircraft, after this next period of testing, cannot meet the mission or safety of flight requirements establishedor the costs are finally acknowledged to be prohibitivethen the extremely painful decision will just have to be made: Cancel a program that has been struggling along for over two decades and look at the alternatives.

The services already have looked at other options for fulfilling the V-22's assigned mission, such as the European Augusta Westland EH-101helicopter and upgrades to Sikorsky's UH-60 Blackhawk , CH-53 Sea Stallion and Sikorsky's newest medium lift-helicopter, the S-92. They should keep those options ready for Mr. Aldridge's review.

Rear Adm. (Ret.) Stephen H. Baker is former head of Navy Operational Test and Evaluation and is currently a senior fellow at the Center for Defense Information, a Washington-based think tank.


marine MV-22 Osprey crashes during routine training mission December 12, 2000
Web posted at: 1:24 a.m. EST (0624 GMT)

JACKSONVILLE, North Carolina (CNN)--A marine MV-22 Osprey carrying four marines crashed on monday night in a wooded area north of Jacksonville, according to Camp Lejeune officials.

Military and civilian rescue personnel, assisted by marine rescue helicopters from marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina, were trying to reach the crash site, 10 miles outside Jacksonville, early Tuesday.

Camp Lejune officials said the Osprey tiltrotor had been conducting a routine night training mission.

The aircraft belongs to marine Medium Tiltrotor Training Squadron 204, based at marine corps Air Station New River, North Carolina.

Military officials said early information from the squadron indicated the aircraft was being flown by a standard, four-marine crew, with no passengers on board.

No further information, including the condition of the crew members, was available.


Tuesday December 12 10:45 AM ET

Crash Fuels Questions About marines' Osprey Craft

By Charles Aldinger

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The marine Corps faced new questions Tuesday about its revolutionary tilt-rotor MV-22 ``Osprey'' aircraft after one crashed in North Carolina Monday night, killing all four marines aboard.

No cause was immediately determined for the accident in a wooded area north of the marine Corps New River Air Station in southeastern North Carolina. It was the second fatal training crash this year of the MV-22, which uses rotating wingtip engines to take off and land like a helicopter.

The Navy recently postponed for several weeks a decision on whether to go into full-scale production of the first of 360 MV-22s, built by Boeing Co. and the Bell Helicopter division of Textron Inc., after a Pentagon (news - web sites) report criticized maintenance problems in the aircraft.

That initial production contract to be signed next spring would be worth up to $1 billion for 20 aircraft. But the long-range value of production could be $30 billion including sales to the marine corps, Navy and Air Force Special Operations.

The marine corps itself plans to buy 360 of them at a cost of more than $44 million each, although a recent report by Philip Coyle, the Pentagon's director of test and evaluation, worried that the cost could escalate sharply.

Another of the hybrid helicopter airplanes crashed on a training mission in Arizona last April, killing all 19 marines on board. That crash was blamed on pilot error.

Defense Of The New Aircraft

The MV-22 is designed to replace the marine corps CH-46 medium-lift helicopter first bought in 1964, and both the Pentagon and marine Corp recently defended the new aircraft despite Coyle's report.

Monday night's crash occurred during a training mission, the marine corps said.

Rescuers reached the crash site in a heavily wooded area about 10 miles (16 km) north of the marine Corps New River Air Station in the southeastern part of the North Carolina.

Officials at marine corps headquarters at the Pentagon said the remains of all four crewmembers had been found.

They were identified as Lt. Col. Keith M. Sweaney, 42, from Richmond, Va.; Maj. Michael L. Murphy, 38, from Blauvelt, N.Y.; Staff Sgt. Avely W. Runnels, 25, from Morven, Ga.; and Sgt. Jason A. Buyck, 24, from Sodus, N.Y.

The aircraft belonged to the marine Medium Tiltrotor Training Squadron 204 based at New River.

Coyle said in his recent report that the MV-22 was effective for its intended mission of delivering marine troops ashore. But he said there were troublesome and potentially costly maintenance problems.

``I don't agree that the V-22 is a troubled program ... it is a maturing program,'' barine Brig. James Amos told reporters on Nov. 30 in response to questions about the Coyle report.

Both Pentagon spokesman Ken Bacon and Amos, deputy director of aviation for the marine corps, stressed at the time that while there are always maintenance problems with new aircraft, those are ironed out and fixed over time.

Amos said problems with attaching cables and wires to the carbon airframe of the V-22 had been fixed along with some initial difficulty in folding the propellers and wings to make the aircraft better fit aboard navy launch ships.

``In terms of the costs of making the plane operate, the costs of keeping the plan operating, it (the Coyle report) does conclude that they could be lower,'' Bacon said.

``And the marines are confident that the costs will be lower, and that they will get lower as they begin to get this into the force and they begin working on the plane.''


"The program is in trouble,"

marine Lt. Gen. Fred McCorkle

Tuesday December 12 12:01 PM ET
marines Delay Osprey Production After Fatal Crash

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The marine Corps on Tuesday grounded its "revolutionary" V-22 Osprey aircraft and delayed a decision on full-scale production after Monday night's fatal crash of one of the tilt-rotor planes in North Carolina.

"The program is in trouble," marine Lt. Gen. Fred McCorkle told a Pentagon (news - web sites) news conference in announcing the moves on the aircraft, built jointly by Boeing Co. and the Bell Helicopter division of Textron Inc. . It takes off and lands like a helicopter, but flies like a regular aircraft.

McCorkle insisted that the corps still had full confidence in the safety and reliability of the swivel-engine MV-22 despite the training crash, which killed all four crewmen aboard after the pilot broadcast a ``mayday'' warning.

The Navy and marine corps had been planning to make a decision as early as Dec. 21 on whether to go ahead with full-scale production of the MV-22 despite another fatal crash earlier this year and a recent Pentagon report that criticized maintenance and the potential escalating cost of the plane.

The initial production contract would be worth up to $1 billion for 20 aircraft. But the long-range value of production could be as much as $30 billion including sales to the marine corps, Navy and Air Force Special Operations.

"This program -- we have never had anything happen to this aircraft that was not a human factors in the past."

Lt. Gen. McCorkle


The first V-22 crash at Quantico, Va there was a fire in one of the engines that weakened the transmission cross-shaft so when the bad engine was turned off, the shaft failed and one rotor lost power while the other gained, flipping the V-22 over onto its back and crashing it.

Then when he's called on his lie:

Q: On this crash, any indication of an onboard fire? And does this crash look to you like the Quantico crash that the V-22 had a few years ago?

McCorkle: No, it absolutely doesn't. And the Quantico crash from a few years ago was an aircraft that, it is my understanding, that took off with downing discrepancies and flew when it shouldn't have been flying, or whatever else, trying to make it up here and do the mission as -- and I see no similarities in this crash and that crash at Quantico.

This bastard (yes, he is) even goes on to say he thinks the V-22 program is AOK making excuses using relativity compared to OTHER AIRCRAFT..

Well, the C-17 has been in service for over 5 years, flying for over 8 and NONE HAVE CRASHED, PERIOD. He should try his logic on the families of the dead.

Q: Sorry. Go ahead. I was just trying to find out how many MV-22s have been delivered. How many do you have? In other words, how many have been stood down?

Staff: Ten have been delivered, sir.

Q: Ten? Thank you. Including this one, the one that crashed?

Staff: Correct. That included the mishap aircraft on the 8th of April and this aircraft.

Q: So you have eight left?

Staff: Ten aircraft have been delivered; there are eight remaining on the line.

Approved-By: dltranscripts_sender@DTIC.MIL
Message-ID: <200012122050.PAA13093@dtics14.dtic.mil>
Date: Tue, 12 Dec 2000 15:50:02 -0500
Reply-To: dodtranscripts-l-request@DTIC.MIL
From: dltranscripts_sender@DTIC.MIL
Subject: Lt. Gen. McCorkle Briefing on the Recent MV-22 Osprey Crash


Content-Length: 38866

= N E W S B R I E F I N G

= WASHINGTON, D.C. 20301 ====================================================

DoD News Briefing
Lt. Gen. Fred McCorkle, deputy commandant of the marine corpse for Aviation

Tuesday, December 12, 2000 - 11:05 a.m. EST

(Special briefing on the MV-22 Osprey crash)

McCorkle: Since I just saw Jamie McIntyre there about a week ago, I was hoping I was never going to see him again down in this room. But --

Q: Our sentiments exactly, General!

McCorkle: Thanks very much. I talked to the commandant this morning and was going to do this around 8:00, and we tried to pick a time that would be better for everybody, even though none of it is good. But I wanted to come down and see you personally and talk about the accident that we had last night.

As most of you know, we lost another MV-22 last night down in New River. I'll give you a little bit of background, start off by saying these individuals, like in the last accident, I was very personally involved with and I'm very saddened [not enough to cancel the V-22 deathtrap and prevent future tragedies], and our hearts go out to their families, as I know yours do too.

They were doing an instrument mission last night down in Jacksonville, North Carolina. I'll tell you the things that we know as of 03:30 -- or 00:30 last night. All the families have been notified, so right now friends or family are with each one of the families.

This is what we know: that they took off from New River last night at 6:00 p.m. to conduct night instrument and landing practices. And the aircraft had completed its missions, a series of takeoffs and landings, and was returning to the air station. And it's my understanding -- I'm not certain of this -- that they were on an instrument approach back in, but they were about three minutes out from the airfield when they made a distress call which was a Mayday call. I was just telling someone the other day, very few people that crash these days make -- particularly in military aircraft, make a call on the way down, and they did make a Mayday call.

The pilot gave no specifics on the nature of the situation, just that it was a Mayday.

Air traffic controllers at New River tried to raise them, and they couldn't, so they got a fix on where they were, and they were actually five to seven miles, depending on where you -- who you talked to, from New River. It was in a wooded area, which was accessible only by four-wheel drive vehicles.

Since last night -- and I talked to the MEF [marine Expeditionary Force] commander last night a little after midnight; he was out at the scene and talked to several people down there -- since last night, and after getting with the commandant this morning, we have suspended all of their V-22 flight operations until we have more information on this accident.

I called Vice Admiral Dyer out at NAVAIRSYSCOM [Naval Air Systems Command] this morning and asked him to work together with us, because normally if you look at the Navy or the marine Corps, we'll suspend flights. Only NAVAIR can ground the aircraft. So I said, "Let's do this together, and let's call it a suspension until we know more about the accident."

As is standard in this event, we have formed a mishap board. I recommended to the commandant this morning -- and he concurred -- that we have general officer to head this board.

Further, I met with Dr. Buchanan this morning, and after talking with the commandant, we have requested a delay in the decision to proceed with Milestone 3, pending the results of additional information, hopefully from the CSMU [Crash Survivable Memory Unit].

As many of you know, this program is very, very important to the marine corpse [it has no mission, it needs a gadget plane to exist since its men can't jump], to me, and, I think, to the nation, and we're going to work very, very hard to see what caused the accident. Right now you know as much information as I know.

They have recovered the remains of three of our marines out of the aircraft. They think they have the location of the other Marine. But three of them have been recovered. Both pilots were in that group, and I do not know the other individual's name who was recovered.

We also got or have found the CSMU in the aircraft, which, when I talked to you before about our accident out in Arizona -- I've never seen one of those on any aircraft that I've ever flown in the marine Corps [NICE SPIN, V-22s will crash so often the CSMU feature will be used often]. We have found its location. It looks like it's in good shape. And it would be premature for me to tell you when I think we'll have any information out of it, but we'll be working just as hard as we can to find out that information.

Q: What does the CSMU stand for?

McCorkle: Crash Survivable Memory Unit.

Q: That's the flight recorder and -- the flight recorder?

McCorkle: Yeah. Yeah. And I'm very lucky that I could remember that name, on the CSMU.

Q: I'm sorry -- is that voice and data, or just data? Voice and data, or just data?

McCorkle: Just data. And I'm not sure we can get you the numbers. I didn't bring any of that information with me because I just left the annex, but I think it does something like 272 different functions. But we can get you that information so that you know exactly what it is.

I can tell you all and, particularly, those of you that know me, I don't think that there's anything that we can say that would help this or make this easier for the families, except to say that the marine Corps is going to do everything that it can do to find out what caused the accident, to take care of these families and to take care of our marines [by continuing with V-22 to kill more marines].

I will answer a couple of questions from you. I don't have a lot of information, but I'll take what questions I can and then --

Q: General, is this program in deep trouble?

McCorkle: This program -- we have never had anything happen to this aircraft that was not a human factors in the past. We don't know yet what caused this one. And I can say, yeah, that the program is in trouble, but this is, like a senior civilian in this building told me this morning, he said, "I went 17 years and never had a car accident." And he said, "Then I got up one morning and had an accident." And he said it wasn't a very bad one, the insurance paid it, and he said, "Less than a week later I had another accident." And he said, "I didn't have the accident" -- you know -- "certainly didn't mean to have the accident." And we don't know what was the cause of this yet.

I will still tell you that, having flown this aircraft and having been around the aircraft a lot of times, I don't think that there is anything else out there that rates with it, and whatever is wrong with it -- or, if there was something wrong with it to cause this accident -- we plan on finding out what it was and fixing it.

Q: Can you -- three questions, a three-part question. Number one, do you know what mode the aircraft was in? Was it in straight and level flight, making what would be a normal approach to a runway?

Was it in vertical mode? Was it in transition?

The second thing is, this particular aircraft -- you've flown it -- we're told by some that it's not a very forgiving airplane, that it may be as difficult to fly as the old "A" model of the Harrier. [Mc crashed all them, too]

And third, is there a period when the plane goes from vertical to horizontal, or vice-versa, when there are major critical problems; not enough lift, not enough air speed, to cause perhaps the ring vortex or another kind of a stall?

McCorkle: I'll try to remember all three of those, but the first one, it would be premature, but I'll speculate anyway, since I've always been truthful with y'all. Since he's three minutes out, then I'm assuming that he's still in an airplane mode. But I don't know and we won't know until we get the CSMU. I would think that an aircraft that was still three minutes out, that's several miles out, seven miles out, that he would still be in the airplane mode.

Number two, when you talk about forgiving, you hear a lot of speculation from a lot of people that think that they know things. Everybody that I've talked to says that this is the easiest aircraft that they've ever flown. I just talked to a couple of you this week, and I can tell you that this is in -- for someone that's flown over 50 different type model series of aircraft, if this one is not in the easiest aircraft I've ever flown, it's in the top two or three. Very, very forgiving aircraft with an incredible amount of power.

And on your last comment there, I consider NAVAIRSYSCOM and their engineers to be very conservative on the information that they give me. And that is not a derogatory comment, it's a good comment, because that keeps me safe. Having said that, all the expert engineers who I trust, and some of them I've known since I was a major in the marine Corpse, all say that on the design factors that they have thus far on vortex ring state, that this aircraft, instead of 800 feet per minute at 40 knots, that they would increase this envelope to 1,400 feet per minute, you know, in less than 40 knots. So instead of it being less forgiving, it looks like it's almost twice as forgiving as any of the helicopters that I fly.

I don't think vortex ring state had anything to do with this accident. And they got out a Mayday call, so I'm not going to speculate on that.

But they were about seven miles from the runway, so I would think that they were still in the fixed-wing mode.

Yes, ma'am?

Q: Yes, you said that you requested a delay in Milestone 3. I assume that's to go for full production. And could you just run us through a little bit, first of all, the cost per -- what is the current cost projection per MV-22? And also, you were about to make that decision to go to full production, weren't you? What's the --

McCorkle: That's correct. And I didn't come down -- if you'll forgive me -- to talk about cost of the aircraft. I've done that before. We can get you a spreadsheet, if you want the cost, if you want the garage that goes with it. For those of you that I've talked to that say when somebody says $83 million, I just read -- I would hope to sell you your car, your next one, where you buy a $23,000 Chevy and I build your garage and give you the tires and batteries for 20 years, that will be about $85,000. So when you put it that way -- but we can get you the cost.

But we're really here to talk about the families; that we're trying to recover the bodies right now for these families and to find out what caused the accident.

[Why don't we cancel the V-22 and use UH-60Ls so families don't have to lose loved ones in V-22 crashes?]

Now, as far as the Milestone 3, we were looking at doing that a couple of weeks ago. We wanted more information for Dr. Buchanan. The marine Corps are the ones that have asked to delay that until we find out what caused this accident -- or find out more information on it. And I talked to Dr. Buchanan about that this morning. Originally, when we looked at this earlier in the year, we were looking at not doing a Milestone 3 decision until March or April of '01. So there's a lot of time. It's not like that this was a "do it now or never do it" deal. So it was March or April of next year that we were originally looking at. We had the opportunity to move it all the way back to November, so we were going to do that.

Yes, ma'am?

Q: Several questions. The commandant, I guess, is asking the secretary of Defense to begin a panel to look at the V-22?

McCorkle: I'm not sure. You'll have to talk to the commandant or to the secretary of Defense to ask them about that. That certainly is not out of the scope.

As far as a mishap board, I've recommended to the commandant, and he is going to call the CINC of SOCOM [commander in chief of the Special Operations Command], and he's also going to call General Ryan and ask that an individual from SOCOM and an Air Force individual be put on the accident team. What he's doing with the secretary, I'm not sure; he's going to see him later on today. But that's between them.

Q: A couple of other follow-ups. Do you know anything about the weather situation at the time, or the altitude of the aircraft when it began to run into trouble?

McCorkle: No, the -- for someone that's flown a lot of GCAs [ground controlled approaches] down there on instrument approaches, the altitude is normally around 1,600 feet. So I would assume that they were at 1,600 feet or in that area. The weather at the time was, I believe, and correct me if I'm wrong, about 2,500 feet scattered and about 4,000 broken, and they had six miles visibility.

Q: And the other thing, can you tell us anything about the experience level of the pilot that flew this aircraft? His experience level in the MV-22?

McCorkle: He's an individual that has briefed the commandant, the CNO and everyone else, and his next of kin has been notified, and it's Lieutenant Colonel Sweaney. And if I flew with anyone, I think, out of the entire marine corps, where I'd be in the back, I'd want to be with Lieutenant Colonel Sweaney.

Q: Did he have, then, a lot of experience on the V-22?

McCorkle: More than anyone else. [Maybe then its the V-22 that is faulty?]

Q: What's his first name, sir?

Q: General, if I could just follow up on that, on her question there?

Q: First name?

McCorkle: Right here, and then I'll come back to you. Keith Sweaney. Lieutenant Colonel Keith Sweaney.

Q: Sir, I just wanted to ask about the delay that you've requested. Do you have a time frame? I understood that Buchanan --

McCorkle: No, I don't have a time frame, but we -- I was told this morning by Dr. Buchanan and Mr. Bill Stussie that April or longer was no problem as far as making the Milestone 3 decision, so I suspect that a long time before then that the commandant of the marine corps will make his recommendation to Dr. Buchanan.

Q: Now, he was to have made the decision by the 18th or the week thereof on whether or not to approve --

McCorkle: I think that that schedule was done now on the 21st of this month. We have asked, as I stated, that that be delayed.

Q: Okay.

Q: General?

McCorkle: Yes, sir.

Q: On this crash, any indication of an onboard fire? And does this crash look to you like the Quantico crash that the V-22 had a few years ago?

McCorkle: No, it absolutely doesn't. And the Quantico crash from a few years ago was an aircraft that, it is my understanding, that took off with downing discrepancies and flew when it shouldn't have been flying, or whatever else, trying to make it up here and do the mission as -- and I see no similarities in this crash and that crash at Quantico.

Q: Any indication of on-board fire?

McCorkle: I understand that there was a witness that said that he thought that there was an indication of fire from the aircraft. But as most of you know, we had a couple of witnesses out in Arizona, at Marana, that said the aircraft was on fire when it went to the ground, and there was no indication of fire whatsoever until the aircraft hit the ground. So the first thoughts that you get like that aren't often very correct.

Q: General, given the fact that the plane was three minutes out -- seven -- was three minutes and seven miles out, 1,600 feet, at what point, under normal flight conditions, do you begin the transition to the helicopter mode to land? How far out? What altitude?

McCorkle: I'm not sure where they would start that transition into the helicopter mode. I think it would all depend on what kind of an approach they were shooting, whether it was a touch- and-go or whatever, and if they were planning on doing a 60-knot or 70-knot landing, you know they may wait until they were almost over the threshold to rotate the nacelles.

Q: But wasn't their mission completed, and weren't they returning to base? Isn't it assumed that they were going to land?

McCorkle: I know that they had been out on an instrument hop, and they were coming back in. But a lot of times, when I would go back to New River, I would shoot two or three approaches, you know, at one time and then do a touch-and-go. And I don't know -- and as soon as I get that information, we'll pass it on to you.

Q: And one more follow-up. So at this point you really don't know, however, if the plane was in transition?

McCorkle: I do not. I do not. And like I said, that was speculation that if they were seven miles out, that they were most likely still in the fixed-wing mode.

Q: General, the Coyle report cited some concerns about the maintenance and reliability of the V-22. If you combine those concerns with concerns about this accident, could this be a show- stopper for this program?

McCorkle: I don't think it'll be a show-stopper. The Coyle report, as most of you recall -- but I was talking to someone yesterday -- but very few people wrote what the Coyle report said was that it had concerns with the reliability and maintainability as tested. And those were the first four production aircraft where many times we had a tough time getting parts for them and other things like that. So it was reliability and maintainability. But nobody has ever questioned the safety of this aircraft.

Q: A follow-up. What's the practical effect of delaying the full-rate production decision? Will you have to increase the budget for the maintenance of CH-46? Will you end up spending more money maintaining your older aircraft while you wait longer to get the V-22?

McCorkle: And I wouldn't speculate on that for the future, because I think that we're still going to have a Milestone 3 decision; it will just come at a later time. But everyone knows that the 46s that we're flying around now are almost as old as me. So yes, it would take a heck of a lot of money to keep them going.

Over here.

Q: Sir, this airplane, was this one of the four LRIP [low rate initial production] models, or was this one of the more mature planes?

McCorkle: And I do not know that, and I'm sorry I don't know that. I tried to get more information. But this was unlike the accident out in Arizona because now we're not in any type of op eval or whatever, and pretty soon you're getting into the Mishap Board and the sanctity of the board and all the other stuff. But I've asked those questions. If I can pass those on to you later, I will.

Q: What was the rationale for delaying the Milestone 3 decision? Should we take that to mean that the senior leadership of the marine corpse now has fundamental questions about the safety and reliability of this plane?

McCorkle: Absolutely not. And I just got through saying that the leadership of the marine corpse -- and that includes General Jones, I think I can speak for him -- don't have a question about the safety and reliability of this aircraft. But just like General Jones suspended flights when we lost the 19 Marines out in Arizona, we felt like that it was the right thing to do here, is to say let's delay the Milestone 3 decision until we find out more information as to from the CSMU particularly or whatever other information we can find out.

Q: General, how many MV-22s are there? I'm sorry.

Q: General, two questions. First, was this the only aircraft in the air at the time? Was this operating alone? And the second question would be on the delay of the decision. Might you wait until the entire mishap investigation is done, or are you delaying it at this point only until the CSMU is looked at?

McCorkle: And I'll take your second question first. And the reason I didn't give a time limit is because we don't have one. It will be until we get enough information where the commandant is comfortable to say let's go forward to Dr. Buchanan on the Milestone 3 decision.

How long that will take, I don't know. The CSMU data, how long it will take to download it, I don't know; that changed about five or six times on the last one. But at least we have one, you know, where we didn't have one of those in the past.

Q: The first question was, was this aircraft operating alone?

McCorkle: He was not in a section or division, or whatever. How many other aircraft they had operating out there, I don't know. Normally, when they have night ops you have a lot of people flying at New River out in the area. But this was the only individual that was in the instrument pattern. He had no one in there with him as a section or whatever.

Q: You said there was --

Q: Just how many --

Q: Go ahead, Charlie.

McCorkle: I'll get you.

Q: Sorry.

Q: Sorry. Go ahead. I was just trying to find out how many MV-22s have been delivered. How many do you have? In other words, how many have been stood down?

Staff: Ten have been delivered, sir.

Q: Ten? Thank you. Including this one, the one that crashed?

Staff: Correct. That included the mishap aircraft on the 8th of April and this aircraft.

Q: So you have eight left?

Staff: Ten aircraft have been delivered; there are eight remaining on the line.

McCorkle: But when you look at these aircraft, they call them 19 and 20, or whatever, so they go all the way back to the technology demonstrators, or whatever, you know, that they put together at the first on 1, 2, 3, 4.

Yes, sir?

Q: You said that there was a witness that said that they thought that they saw a fire coming from the aircraft prior to the crash. Was that witness another aviator?

McCorkle: No.

Q: It was someone on the ground?

McCorkle: It was someone on the ground that lived out in the area, and that's my understanding. And all this is about fourth hand; that's the reason I said I'm not going to put a lot of credence in it. And most people would say we don't know anything yet.

I did hear that, and just like in Marana when I came in, I said there were a couple of witnesses said they thought the aircraft was on fire, and they had film and everything. And there was no fire at all. So I don't know how credible the individual is.

Q: General?

Q: General McCorkle?

McCorkle: Let's get a --

Q: Yes, my condolences to yourself, the marines and families. A very sad and tragic day.

You mentioned the aircraft is a very unforgiving aircraft and engineering-wise --

McCorkle: No, I said it was a very forgiving aircraft. [RIGHT. Why 3 have crashed already.]

Q: Very forgiving. Generally in good shape; it's been tested, the engineers have looked it over. I mean, it's been in production for -- or at least been under testing and evaluation for quite some time. That leads to the suggestion or conclusion or hypothesis, maybe, that the problem is not with the aircraft, but perhaps with the training and the way the marines are employing it. Can you speak to that issue? [OF COURSE! The usmc never screws up, its ALWAYS the individual human, SEMPER FI]

For example, the pilots on board, you mentioned that they had lots of experience. Were they fixed-wing pilots before they transitioned into the V-22? Were they helicopter pilots?

McCorkle: One of them was a CH-46 pilot. And I believe that Major Mike Murphy was a CH-53 pilot.

(To staff) That's correct, isn't it?

(Returning) And once again, I've known both those individuals.

In fact, Major Mike Murphy was a CACO [casualty assistance calls officer] for me when he went to knock on the door of another family at New River, and a young kid that was killed in a 53.

Q: Was this the same Osprey that made the precautionary landing two weeks ago?

McCorkle: I don't have a clue. Like I said, I don't know what number it was. I don't know anything about its maintenance background or whatever else. But if it is, or if it was -- and I can see people taking notes -- we'll be more than happy to let you know.

But the one that made a precautionary landing a couple of weeks ago was a seal or a valve, you know, which had nothing to do with the safety of flight. And that was fixed, and it was flown the next day.

Q: What about the training?

Q: General, just to follow up on the training question -

Q: Yeah.

Q: -- you've said this was an easy plane to fly, and yet you've had a very experienced pilot go down in it now. Can you offer some thoughts as to whether these raises questions about training, or is there something about this aircraft that is more complex, that you're not seeing?

McCorkle: No, I don't think that any aircraft that we've ever had -- perhaps the Joint Strike Fighter in the future -- but I don't think that any aircraft that we've ever had, from any service, has had an intensive training program like this one has. And this -- the reason for this is because you've got the special ops guys in there, you've got the Air Force in there, you've got the marines in there, and you've got the Navy guys in there, you know, that we've all -- all four services or three services have flown the aircraft. I'm not sure that any Army pilots have flown it.

But with the simulators that they've got and the aircraft that they've got, there's no doubt in my mind that these guys are probably the best-trained individuals that they've had for any top aircraft around.

And that goes with -- we've come a long, long ways with the F-18 [another lemon] and a couple of other airplanes that we've introduced in the recent past. But this surpasses even that, as far as the training.

Q: Please, can you comment on the frequency of the accidents? You've had two major fatal accidents in one year. I assume that's a lot for the military. And if so, you know, what's your thoughts as to what might be the problem here?

McCorkle: I'm not -- that's the second aircraft accident of the year for the marine corpse. I can tell you that I think the next lowest service -- and I wouldn't speculate -- but I would say is double that.

And the safety, as I've said in here before, you know, for these aircraft has got a thousand times better than it was in the past, when we would crash 80 airplanes in a week, as an example, back during the World War II era.

So it is a lot safer. If we crash one, it's too many for me. If we crash two V-22s in a year, yeah, that's way too many, and that's the reason we're going to work real hard to find out what caused this accident.

Yes, sir?

Q: Without the Osprey, General, what would you say is the future of marine corpse aviation?

McCorkle: Well, for someone that started out in 1982 when the marine corps made the decision to go to the tilt-rotor, not necessarily the Osprey, I think that we went down a path, and I just don't think that there's any other aircraft out there anywhere for the money that would do the mission for the marine corps.

Q: And so without it, what does that mean to the future of --

McCorkle: Well, we don't plan on doing without it, and -- that would be something above my pay grade, quite frankly. (Cross talk.)

Q: But there are critics who might say that the marine corpse is so committed to this aircraft that you might have a blind spot when it comes to the flaws of the aircraft, that you're so desperate to replace these aging planes, you're so committed to this plane that you really -- won't really look at this dispassionately about whether or not this is a flawed aircraft.

McCorkle: All right, and -- I'm out of the hills of Tennessee, and I would say, look at this, as a no-brainer. What airplane have we ever come up with that's two and a half times as fast as the airplane that it's replacing, that carries four times as much, that goes five times as far, and is an absolutely spectacular leap in technology? I just don't -- I don't see being paranoid about losing the airplane, because I can tell you that I drive a GMC Yukon; if you show me a better vehicle -- and this is a heck of a lot better vehicle -- I'll buy it tomorrow.

It's just really tough to see, you know, if you look at all the fine helicopters that are out there on the highway of life and the things that they do, none of them compare to tilt-rotor technology.

Q: General McCorkle?

Q: General --

McCorkle: Yes, sir, I'm going to get this gentleman back there.

Q: Does the condition of the aircraft after its crash tell us anything about how it went down? For example, does it appear that it fell out of the sky, or that the pilot was attempting to make, like, some sort of a crash landing?

McCorkle: I think the CSMU will tell us a great deal of that that we didn't have before.

But even before that, over the last 15 or 20 years, the engineers -- and I don't see how they do it, having been on a couple of these mishap boards -- they can tell you what angle the aircraft went in, what speed it went in and all the other things, even if there's been a major fire, like there was in this one. But I think the CSMU box is going to give us a great deal of data on that.

Q: When will we have --

Q: What do you know about that at the present, in terms of how it came in or --

McCorkle: The only thing that I do know, and this is somewhat speculation on the people's parts that were out there, but it appears to have landed flat.

Q: What does that mean?

Q: And there was a fire.

McCorkle: There was a fire, major fire. Landing flat, that it came flat.

Q: On its belly.

Q: What's the condition of the air -- if there was a major fire, is it a total loss now? Is there any --

McCorkle: I have seen no pictures. I'm not even sure if anyone's taken pictures. I don't have any of that information.

Q: General McCorkle, just to make sure we have you absolutely clear on this, when you say there was a major fire, you are saying after?

McCorkle: After the impact with the ground, yes, ma'am.

Q: My second question: way back at the beginning, you said that it's very unusual these days in military situations for a pilot to be able to make a distress call. If I understood you correctly, that doesn't often happen these days. Could you just remind us why that is? And the fact that the pilot was able to make a distress call, does that tell you anything about the situation in those final moments?

McCorkle: Well, when you talk about somebody making a call on the way down, for someone who was in Vietnam and saw a lot of airplanes go down over there, I never heard anybody make a distress call.

Q: Why would you make a distress call?

McCorkle: Well, in a fixed-wing airplane, you may have a little bit more time because you're not as close to the ground to tell somebody that you're a Mayday and that you're going in at such and such coordinates or whatever else, or that something's wrong with the aircraft. And he made a Mayday call when he was out. I don't know if he made any other calls before that or whatever. We did not have a call, as an example, with the aircraft what was going in out in Arizona.

Q: Wouldn't that indicate, though, that there was a mechanical problem, if he was giving a Mayday?

McCorkle: No, I wouldn't speculate on that, and I don't think you would want to either.

Q: Well, what would be the causes for somebody to give a Mayday?

McCorkle: I'm not sure. I'm not going to speculate on it.

Q: But General, just to follow up, does that suggest that he had some time to make the Mayday call, as opposed to having to --

McCorkle: He had to have at least a second to make the Mayday call.

Q: But more time than the typical crash, in other words, is it not?

McCorkle: No. And I didn't say that, either, because I've seen a lot of people go from 3(,000) or 4,000 feet all the way to the ground and never make a voice report outside the airplane.

But most people, in my opinion, are trying to save the airplane or whatever else. Some people have an opportunity to make a call. In this case, the pilot made a mishap call -- or a Mayday call. And I wouldn't speculate any further than that.

Q: Could I just ask one question just to clear up -- McCorkle: After --

Q: Okay.

Q: Was Lieutenant Colonel Sweaney a squadron commander?

McCorkle: He was not. He was going to be a squadron commander.

(To staff) I think that's a true statement, right?

Staff: The first squadron, sir.

McCorkle: Yeah, he was going to take the first tactical squadron.

Q: At Quantico?

McCorkle: At New River, MCAS [Marine Corps Air Station] New River.

Q: Do you know when that was going to happen?

McCorkle: I do not know when that was going to happen. I know that the first squadron is going to go in there sometime in the spring.

Q: You mean the first MV-22 squadron?

McCorkle: Yes, the first MV-22 squadron. He was going to be the tactical commander of it.

Yes, ma'am?

Q: If this accident had happened after DoD made the decision to go ahead with full-rate production, what would the Defense Department do at that point?

McCorkle: I think that that would be like any other aircraft in any other program when they make a full-rate production. I've talked to several people about several other programs, and I'm not going to talk about any of those programs, but I know that we've had crashes in programs in the past, you know, all along. A lot of marine corpse -- like I'm a CH-46 pilot; you know we lost a lot of 46s when we starting up; we lost a lot of 53s. To lose one is too many, and I would prefer not to get into that.

But if the decision was made, we would be doing the same thing that we're doing now; we would say that we're going to suspend flight operations, that we're going to look at what caused the accident, and if it's something that we can fix, then we're going to fix it.

Yes, ma'am?

Q: Just a clarification. You said that it appears that it landed flat on its belly. Would that be any indication that it was in helicopter mode?

McCorkle: No, ma'am.

Q: No?

Q: Or perhaps that he was trying to make an emergency landing?

McCorkle: No. And I'm not going to speculate on that because I have no idea right now, and I think that the board and the CSMU data will put that out.

Yes, sir?

Q: General, when you said that he issued a Mayday call, are you using Mayday generically, or did he actually say, "Mayday"?

McCorkle: Mayday.

Q: And once, twice? And did he offer any other information?

McCorkle: I don't have a clue. I don't have the tapes. And I thought that they were very nice to pass that information on to me to give to you all.

Q: There's no -- sorry, just to close the loop on this. There's no indication in the wreckage that the rotors had been tilted up? Or is this not something that you'd be aware of at this stage?

McCorkle: Nothing that I'm aware of, at this stage.

Q: Sir, what was the last -- what was the last communication prior to the mayday that indicated the situation --

McCorkle: I don't know. I don't have the tapes. Just like I said.

Yes, sir?

Q: General, if I could just ask you a question about vortex ring. When you mentioned that you don't think vortex ring was involved here, and last time, several months back after the first Osprey accident in April, you mentioned that you were very skeptical about the ability to develop some sort of early warning system to deal with vortex ring. Now we've read, with this latest report coming out, that in fact the Navy and marine corps are at work trying to develop an early warning system for vortex ring. What changed there to make that more of a practical reality?

McCorkle: I've signed a letter to that effect to Dr. Buchanan to ask that they look at that, to put something -- because some of the engineers have said that you could take, sort of, like off of the CSMU box and could reach a point where you're at 800 feet per minute or 1,400 feet per minute and 40 knots or 35 knots, and at that point in time that your radar altimeter, that they could work it in there, too, at the same time, and that it would be 500 feet. And that with this computer, you would have the ability to stuff all this stuff in, all at the same time, and send a cockpit warning.

Q: So that looks like it will happen?

McCorkle: If they can do that. Easier said than done sometimes, but I applaud them if they can do it. And I've had a couple of engineers tell me that they think it'll be pretty easy to do.

Q: And why do you think vortex ring is not involved in this mishap, or accident?

McCorkle: Because they were flying in on a GCA. Vortex ring state you normally get when you're in a high rate of descent; you know, coming in to land.

Q: GCA means?

McCorkle: Ground controlled approach. I was going to say, I would prefer you didn't ask those hard questions on acronyms.

Q: General, you just noted that you didn't think vortex ring state was involved here, and I know that you're waiting for the CSMU. Is there anything else that you can say safely did not cause this? Is there anything else you want to rule out, or can rule out, at this point?

McCorkle: No, and in fact, I've probably stayed here and let you all speculate. You know, most people stay here about 10 minutes and then they'll -- they'll want to answer all the questions that you have, but -- you know as much as I do right now.

Q: Thank you.

McCorkle: Thanks.

-END-[for the dead men of the 3 V-22s that have crashed so far]

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-- Today in DoD:


"The Pentagon suspended flight operations of the controversial MV-22 Osprey airplane after Saturday's crash of an Osprey killed all 19 marines on board. That the trouble-plagued rotor plane was flying at all is an outrage. The Defense department and high-level officials in thew reagen, Bush and Clinton Administration all tried to kill it in development. Many times. But powerful members of Congress and the defense industry made it almost impossible to defeat...What seems painfully clear is that Congress was determined to press ahead with a $37.3 BILLION Osprey program--for 458 planes costing up to $80 million apiece--despite Pentagon recommendations as far back as 1996 to cancel the Osprey...Too often, members of congress have championed costly weapons that provided jobs in their states , even when the Pentagon insisted that they were needless. usually, its just a waste of money. this time it was a waste of human life".

--Chicago Tribune Editorial, April 2000

The Mc way:

1.) blame the dead, 2.) chew out the living, 3.) erect a monument to cover-up the failure in Mc "valor" (everything but admit the Mc screwed up)


1. Blame the dead: they are not here to defend themselves

Marine Corps investigators have concluded that the pilot of an MV-22 Osprey aircraft that crashed in the Arizona desert in April, killing 19 marines, erred by hurrying his descent. The pilot's too-rapid approach produced a phenomenon known as "vortex ring state" - essentially a stall, the investigators concluded. The Osprey plunged into a fatal nose dive, killing the crew of four and their 14 passengers. The crash was the worst aviation disaster for the marines since 22 were killed in a helicopter crash in South Korea in 1989. The marine Corps halted flights of its remaining Ospreys after the April 8 accident, then resumed flying in early June. Officials would not label it as "pilot error," although they acknowledged that the aircraft commander, Maj. John Brow - considered one of the Marines' most skilled pilots - committed mistakes. Brow's approach exceeded the plane's maximum safe descent rate of 800 feet per minute, officials familiar with the investigation have said. What remained a mystery is why Brow did this. The plane had no cockpit voice recorder.

2. Chew-out the living: they make convenient scapegoats in a witch hunt


The marine corps has taken disciplinary action against the pilot and co-pilot of an MV-22 Osprey aircraft that was flying a short distance ahead of the Osprey which crashed in the Arizona desert in April, killing 19 marines, the chief of marine aviation said at a July 27 Pentagon press conference. Lt. Gen. Fred McCorkle said that an internal review board concluded that the two pilots of the lead Osprey were partly responsible for the accident because they failed to follow the flight plan and put themselves in a position of having to descend too rapidly. The decision to continue instead of pulling up and trying a new, safer approach, "resulted in the mishap aircraft chasing [the lead aircraft]," a summary of the accident investigation report said. The crews of neither Osprey "recognized the dangerous potential of the flight profile," the summary said. The two unidentified pilots will not be allowed to fly as aircraft commanders of any marine Corps aircraft for six months, and after that period they will be required to requalify for that designation.

b> 3. Build a monument to cover it all up in BS Mc "valor" when its really stupidity


Marine officials and citizens of Marana, Ariz., are working on the design for a memorial commemorating 19 marines killed when their MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor plane crashed there in April. A dedication ceremony is planned for late summer or early fall at the Marana Northwest Regional Airport, about 30 miles northwest of Tucson, where the plane went down during a night training exercise, airport manager Roger Dougan and marine officials said. Dougan said officials have discussed erecting a stone monument or putting up a plaque. A senior marine officer in Washington lauded the community of Marana, airport officials and the Northwest Fire District for their help at the crash scene. Lt. Gen. Fred McCorkle said Dougan and his 17-year-old son, Thomas, were instrumental in helping marines "manage the scene" after the April 8 accident.

C-17 "Globemaster III": Accomplished missions, lives saved, peace secured, World records set, awards won, everyone brought home alive:

The Air Force declared the first C-17 squadron operational in January 1995. Since then the fleet has amassed nearly 150,000 flying hours. The C-17 has been involved in numerous contingency operations, including flying troops and equipment to Operation Joint Endeavor to support peacekeeping in Bosnia and the recent Allied Operation in Kosovo. In 1998, eight C-17s completed the longest airdrop mission in history, flying more than 8,000-nautical miles from the United States to Central Asia, dropping troops and equipment after more than 19 hours in the air. Other recent humanitarian missions saw C-17s deliver hurricane relief supplies to Honduras and Nicaragua.

While the contract called for C-17 production aircraft 45 - 53 for delivery through 1999, the Air Force continues to receive its versatile Globemaster IIIs more than 90-days ahead of schedule. As a result, they took delivery of 54, 55, 56 and 57 before the turn of the century. Most have been delivered to the Air Mobility Command's 437th Airlift Wing at Charleston Air Force Base, S.C., where they also are operated by the 315th Airlift Wing, Air Force Reserve.

On January 17, 1995, the first squadron of C-17s, the 17th Airlift Squadron at Charleston, was declared operationally ready for worldwide operations. The 14th and 15th Airlift Squadrons soon followed as the wing continued to receive new Globemaster IIIs. Eight C-17s have been delivered to the 97th Air Mobility Wing at Altus Air Force Base, Okla., where initial aircrew training occurs. McChord Air Force Base in Tacoma, Wash. received its first two C-17s in ceremonies held there July 30, 1999. McChord's 62nd Airlift Wing will receive 48 of the versatile airlifters, which will also be operated by McChord's reserve unit, the 446th Airlift wing. The Air National Guard in Jackson, Miss., will receive C-17s in the future.

In February 1999, President Bill Clinton presented the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award to Boeing Airlift and Tanker Programs, maker of the C-17, for business excellence. In May 1995, the C-17 received the prestigious Collier Trophy, symbolizing the top aeronautical achievement of 1994. The National Aeronautic Association honored the U.S. Air Force, Boeing (then McDonnell Douglas), the U.S. Army and the C-17 industrial team "for designing, developing, testing, producing and placing into service the C-17 Globemaster III whose performance and efficiency make it the most versatile airlift aircraft in aviation history."

The C-17 is a high-wing, four-engine, T-tailed aircraft with a rear-loading ramp. It is 174 feet in length, has a height of 55.08 feet and a wingspan of 169.75 feet. Maximum takeoff gross weight is 585,000 pounds. Maximum payload is 169,000 pounds. With a payload of 160,000 pounds, the C-17 can take off from a 7,600-foot airfield, fly 2,400 nautical miles, land on a small austere airfield in 3,000 feet or less and can be refueled in flight. The four engines are Pratt & Whitney PW2040 series turbofans, designated as F117-PW-100 by the Air Force, each producing 40,440 pounds of thrust, located on pylons ahead of and below the wing leading edge. The engines are equipped with directed-flow thrust reversers capable of deployment in flight. On the ground, a fully loaded aircraft, using engine reversers, can back up a two-percent slope. The C-17 is equipped with an externally blown flap system that allows a steep, low-speed final approach and low-landing speeds for routine short-field landings. With this powered-lift system, the engine exhaust flow is directed below and through slotted flaps to produce additional lifting force and allow steeper landing descents.

The C-17 is operated by a cockpit crew of two and one loadmaster. This cost-effective flight crew complement is made possible through the use of an advanced digital avionics system using four cathode-ray tube displays, two full-capability HUDS (Head-Up Displays) and advanced cargo systems. In the cargo compartment the C-17 can carry Army wheeled vehicles in two side-by-side rows. Three Bradley infantry-fighting vehicles comprise one deployment load. Similarly, the Army's newest main battle tank, the M1, can be carried in conjunction with other vehicles.

Boeing (then McDonnell Douglas) was selected as the prime contractor to build the C-17 in August 1981. However, the full-scale engineering and development contract was not signed until December 1985. The first C-17 flew in September 1991. Previous contracts also provided for a dedicated flight test aircraft and two non-flying test articles.

During the flight-test program from September 1991 to December 1994, the C-17 completed envelope expansion and flying qualities evaluation, conducted air-to-air refuelings and airdrop operations with Paratroopers, containers and platforms weighing up to 60,000 pounds. C-17 altitude, speed and gross takeoff weight marks have been set at Mach .875, or 575 miles per hour; an altitude of 41,000 feet, and a gross weight of 585,000 pounds.

The C-17 has completed 150 percent air load testing, which subjected the aircraft to more than maximum operational flight loads expected during its lifetime. The durability test article has completed more than three lifetimes of tests that simulated operational flight loads and conditions. A C-17 completed Arctic and adverse weather tests in Alaska and Wisconsin, hot-weather testing in Arizona and tropical-weather testing in Guam. The C-17 has made landings on the dry lake bed at Edwards Air Force Base, on an aluminum-matted marine corps expeditionary airfield at Twenty Nine Palms, Calif., and on a dirt strip at Bicycle Lake, Calif.

During normal testing, C-17s set 22 world records, including payload to altitude time-to-climb, and short takeoff and landing (STOL) mark in which the C-17 took off in less than 1,400 feet, carried a payload of 44,000 pounds to altitude, and landed in less than 1,400 feet.

--C-17 manufacturer's web site, April 2000

It all started in the early '80s as I was graduating from high school...the U.S. Air Force was testing the YC-14 and YC-15 Short take-Off and Landing (STOL) aircraft to replace the aging C-141Bs and the marines were flying around the YV-15 tilt-rotor Vertical Take-Off and Landing (V/TOL) demonstrator to create a replacement for their aging, Vietnam-era CH-46s helicopters.

Within months, I was a young grunt with a radio flying off the deck of the USS Saipan inside one of the aged CH-46s; even back then my Commanding Officer was deathly afraid of flying in marine helicopters. He remarked; "they tend to crash a lot". Meanwhile, the Air Force had selected the YC-15 which became the C-17 Globemaster III.

Months before America had just parachute airdropped Ranger and some 82nd Airborne Paratroopers into Grenada by fixed-wing C-130s followed by airlanding C-141Bs and the need to force-an-entry and do a "NEO" (Non-combatant Evacuation Operation) was the vogue operation of choice. Not to be left out of the action, our service selected the V-22 to be our high-tech "wonder chariot" to ride us into battle without us having to go to jump school. While we waited for the V-22, U.S. Army Rangers and 82nd Airborne Paratroopers jumped into Panama from USAF C-130, C-141B and C-5 STOL aircraft with light tanks and captured drug-financed dictator Manuel Noriega.

As the years passed, the C-17 became operational and began flying Paratroopers all over the world into hot spots like Tuzla, Bosnia, Sarajevo, Pristina...meanwhile the CH-46s kept on flying and crashing. The Corps decided to mandate "dunker" training after a -46 crashed in the water and the people inside couldn't find their way out. The V-22 finally reached prototype stage and the Air Force Special operations quickly bought into the program to replace its helicopters and insure it got its "piece of the action" in the future. Then a V-22 prototype crashed when a small in-flight fire caused the dreaded single-engine failure and the instant transfer of power to the now dead propeller didn't take place. CH-46s continued to fly and crash, killing more marines.

Then a revelation took place while receiving USAF ALCE aircraft load planner instruction: I realized that the venerable C-130 Hercules can carry 4 times the payload and men than a V-22 and you don't see them crashing. The latest prop-fan C-130J flies as fast or faster than the V-22 ever will.

The V-22 cannot even carry a HMMWV truck inside! So the dumb gyrenes are wasting MILLIONS on defective M151 jumps with a GDLS make-over!

Catto's Golf Cart: the same guy who rejected MRAP Trucks!


HMMWV carried outside the V-22, the aircraft flies no faster than a helicopter!, making it the world's most expensive quasi-250 mph aircraft that flies at 100 mph. The C-130 can carry 2 HMMWVs or 92 men. It can airdrop 80 Paratroops. The Hercules can deliver almost entire Rifle Companies while the V-22 struggles to carry a measley squad. In contrast, the C-17 Globemaster III has NEVER crashed. NEVER. Not even today in 2002 after 7+ years of service. The C-17 can travel 200+ mph faster than the V-22 ever will and with a payload of 160,000 pounds, carries 140,000 pounds more than the V-22 ever will. At $140 million dollars each, a single C-17 has out-performed the V-22 at $100 million each for about a decade of actual service while the V-22 is still crashing and burning, killing marines. So even if all the "bugs" can be worked out of the V-22 (questionable), it will NEVER be able to out-perform the fabulous C-130 or the C-17. For all the money we are shelling out for the V-22 and the men who are dying, we are only getting at best a squad or two of foot slogging infantry with only weapons they can carry in their hands--no change from the Vietnam-era Koh Tang island debacle. With the V-22 we would still land forces that fight the enemy even or at a numerical and positional disadvantage.


"Dreaming about machines that require maintenance and parts and people who know them inside out (usually forgotten about) have a way of coming up croppers. Sort of like the dream V-22 --which is now being found to be not nearly worth the $90 Mil a copy - terrible maintenance, unbelievably complex --parts tough and expensive. Probably not a helo or aircraft which can't beat it in operational/maintenance/parts cost. Replacing 12-14 helos on a USMC deck with maybe 4-5 V-22s is useless --slows down a coordinated deployment -- has to wait for the big birds --fly around in circles waitng for their heavy fighting equipment -- no rescue hoist capability (anywhere) no gun --will create a real headache with CG moving about = no solution after 8-10 YEARS --took us less than 6 months to get miniguns to RVN for H-3s!! Could go on for a month or two --every rock we have looked under has a snake staring at us --the ONLY thing it can do is fly faster than a helo, PERIOD. Our 40 yr old H-3 can fly as far etc. etc. DO NOT forget the time/cost of maintenanace crews/parts etc.-- they ARE the real key of cost efficiency!!"

Colonel Harry Dunn, USAF (Retired)

"It can't sling loads under its fuselage like the helicopters can. Its rotors, when in the up position, create such a downblast of air that ground personnel can't remain underneath when it hovers.

Plus, it can't land like a regular aircraft; its rotor diameter is so big that when the engines are in the forward-flight position, the rotors extend below the landing gear.

If the mechanicals fail and the engines are stuck in the forward position, the Osprey can't land without becoming an industrial-strength Weed Eater.

Worst of all, the Osprey has serious problems landing without engine power, which aircraft must occasionally do. If the engines are in a transitional position, and they go dead, it drops like a brick.

And it did just that over the Potomac after a demonstration flight in Washington back in 1994. It went splash and killed the flight crew. Talk about great publicity...

The Pentagon has lost much of its interest in the Osprey program. It's a Cold War leftover, and really isn't needed; medium transport planes and helicopters can do the job at lower cost."

---Kevin S. Kirby Daily Columnist, The Program that will not die: Crash and burnIowa State Daily - Friday, March 8, 1996

The V-22 Osprey & Shameless Hussies in Congress

The recent crash and death of 19 marines in a V-22 crash in Yuma, Arizona proves without a doubt the truth few want to admit: the V-22 is an unsound design that will never pan out in actual, dirty-field use. Things are only going to get worse for the hydraulically-intensive, complex, unarmored, not crash-hardened V-22; salt spray erosion, dust, dirt (consider that CH-47Ds from Desert Storm had an entire 55 gallon barrel of sand removed upon return) , battle damage from enemy small-arms fire. One shudders to think what would have happened if AFSOC V-22s had hovered Army Rangers by fast-rope into Mogadishu in Somalia and started to take fire from Rocket-Propelled Grenades (RPGs) instead of the battle-hardened UH-60 Blackhawk s. Mark Bowden's book wouldn't have been "Blackhawk Down!" it would have been "Osprey Squadron in flames". One commentator has remarked that the V-22 is a "Flying Gamma Goat", which refers to an overly complex ground vehicle with multiple transmissions that failed in Army/marine service in the late '70s. The difference is if your "Gamma Goat" conks out, you are on the ground and get ribbing from your peers when a recovery vehicle comes and gets you. In the V-22 you are in the air at a hover upwards to 300 knots and when it fails you crash, burn and die. Another nickname, the "Albatross" as in the Edgar Allen Poe poem where an albatross circles over a doomed ship might be an accurate depiction of what the V-22 is doing to the U.S. military.

The V-22 has had more than enough time to prove itself, it should have been operational years ago had it been a sound design, which its not---and its time to cut our financial and human losses and buy proven UH-60L Blackhawk s to replace marine CH-46s and CH-53Es for AFSOC modified to be "Pave Low IVs" for the interim and start over on a future V/TOL transport that can actually carry armored fighting vehicles and significant amounts of infantry capable of decisive maneuver on the battlefield without our men getting cut to pieces by garden variety AKMs and RPGs. The UH-60L is battle hardened and armored, it can be fitted with ESSS or Piasecki winglets and ring-tail to carry extra fuel, weaponry and has shipboard capable components available from the LAMPS III version, the Seahawk . You can remove the troop seats and cram in 19-22 marines if you are desperate for mass as the 101st Airborne (Air Assault) Division sometimes has to do. Both the UH-60L and CH-53E can be fitted with in-flight refuelling probes for extra range. The CH-53E is in production, can carry 16 tons.

Remember the XC-142!

We have been down the tilt-rotor/wing road before and it didn't pan out:



We were almost ready to put XC-142s until fatal crashes made us stop.

The UH-60L's 150 mph is more than fast enough for a 50 mile OTH ingress and egress to/from the beach. The Army showed the world this for the invasion of Haiti in 1994, flying the 10th Mountain Division in from Navy carrier decks. The Mc argument collapses when they say they can CH-53E sling-load HMMWVs to deliver them, if the CH-53E 150 mph as a helicopter is satisfactory, why not the UH-60L?

So the V-22 can go 200 mph, big deal. Can it in forward flight mode fly Nap Of the Earth (NOE)? Terrain contour is NOT as vegetation hugging as NOE. The V-22 as a non-stealthy plane will not be able to hide as well as a helicopter, making that 50 mph of speed highly suspect. Will that 50 mph make it at 200 mph outrun a SAM at Mach 3 (3,000 mph)?

AFSOC MC-130 Combat Talons could be upgraded to "J" model standards with propfans, and eventually air-cushion landing systems to enable near-V/TOL capabilities.

An expert from KINETICS writes:

"Dear Mike -- Thank you for your inquiry. Yes there have been a number of AC Landing Gear experiments. A Lake amphibian, a Buffalo. They work as far as we know. The weight trade-off against retractable fixed gear has to take into account the fuel, engine/fan, weights and any residual aero drag when not in use. For "any place, any time" non-helicopter flight operations, it is probably the best option. A C-130 could be made to work. It might not have the payload lift it has today."

Further research shows that the Russians already have an Air Cushion aircraft: the Dingo.

Dingo 8-seat amphibian

The Dingo multipurpose amphibious air-cushion aircraft of AeroRIK Design Bureau is equipped with a power plant consisting of 850hp Pratt&Whitney PT6A-65B sustainer and 250hp TVA-200 aircushion engine. Maximum speed of Dingo is 310 km/h. The Sokol Aviation Plant in Nizhny Novgorod has started production of the first six Dingos.

Study the DOD 2001 Budget here---------$1.2 BILLION for 16 x V-22s that will crash/burn and can cary a mere company of trigger pullers.....when we could buy 133 x UH-60Ls for this!


That is CORRECT---ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY-THREE UH-60Ls for the price of sixteen V-22s---that's a dozen plus 4. MISSION PLANNER LAZINESS KILLS OUR MEN WITH KINDNESS

By some units not wanting to have their men jump-qualified and parachute into battle (America's aversion to taking minor risks up front) one pass over the Drop Zone by aircraft like the C-17, and THEN securing a Landing/Assault Zone for fixed and rotary-wing aircraft to resupply and extricate them---we are killing our men with the kindness of having them airland in a large, noisy helicopter packed with fuel and men. We think a helicopter's technical virtues of V/TOL mean it doesn't need an investment in first securing the Landing Zone first---and this is a dangerous lie anyone who has studied actual helicopter pathfinding knows. Helicopters need large, flat open areas, clear of obstacles, with favorable soil and wind conditions to operate. In the space you can airland a Battalion of Soldiers by helicopters, each requiring space for the aircraft's rotors--you can airdrop a BRIGADE of Paratroopers, one pass over the drop Zone. Slow Helicopter airlanding has been a bottleneck disaster at places like Desert One, Koh Tang island and more recently Mogadishu, Somalia. This operational planner laziness to direct-deliver our men on top of the objective and resultingly the enemy's gunsights---has resulted in the entire utility of the helicopter being called into question. Some now want to be permanently wed to less than 2-Dimensions of battlespace and maneuver in road-bound armored cars, forfeiting to the enemy 3-Dimensional battlespace and maneuver.

And it all stems from not employing parachute airdrop to get combat mass--to include light tracked armored fighting vehicles like enhanced M113A3s, M8 Armored Gun Systems and Wiesel or M113 Mini-Gavins into the fight to dominate it from the get-go and/or to maneuver on the enemy from an Assault Zone offset from the enemy's defenses. Parachute men IN, helicopter or ground vehicle get them OUT. Powered, traffic controlled, AIRLANDING---by ANY kind of aircraft--helicopter or fixed-wing is NOT FORCED-ENTRY. Forced-entry means violent and sudden landings with no delay whatsoever to SHOCK and overwhelm the enemy. Military historians and tacticians should know this from Maleme airfield on Crete in 1941. Parachuting is forced-entry. Gliders or even helicopters (Son Tay) crash-landing is forced-entry. Helo-casting, fast-roping or rappelling from a helicopter is forced-entry for small-scale special operations at this point in the art. So if you make a wonder-helo like a V-22 and think if it has more range and speed that it will suddenly pass itself as a forced-entry platform, you are perpetuating at the cost of BILLIONS of dollars the airlanding- of-foot-sloggers-paradigm started back in the Vietnam war that exposes our men to enemy fire and results in helicopters getting shot down. If we are going to field a new V/TOL aircraft it has to deliver Armored Fighting Vehicles (AFVs) and men in sufficient quantities fast enough to dominate and win the GROUND BATTLE. The Ground Tactical Plan is supposed to drive the aircraft aspects of an Airborne/Air Assault operation, to include research and development for new types of aircraft. In contrast, the C-17 delivers by parachute decisive quantities of both Paratroopers and fighting vehicles at jet airliner speeds; this is forced-entry.


"grounding the remaining 12 MV-22 Osprey airplanes, after the crash that killed 19 marines, is only the beginning of what the Pentagon and congress should do....This plane should never have been built; three of the 15 that have been delivered so far have already been lost in crashes...Stopping the Osprey before it goes any further also would be in keeping with the sensible argument that the end of the cold war, the United states should skip a generation of producing new aircraft and put the money into research. The country can do better for its money than it is doing with the Osprey."

--Lawrence J. Korb, New York Times, April 2000

By stopping the budgetary hemorrage of the V-22, we can free funds to re-think the 3D maneuver aircraft situation afresh and get us an interim "Air-Mech-Strike" capability modifying existing M113A3s with lightweight band tracks to enable CH-47F Chinook transport and purchase German Wiesel or M113 Mini-Gavin 3/4-ton or Swedish BV-206S 7-ton AFVs that are UH-60L Blackhawk helicopter transportable. The idea of a rotary-wing aircraft that turns its rotors 90 degrees to become a fixed-wing aircraft is unsound mechanically and operationally and tactically. We are only now realizing the rotors sized to lift the craft vertically are much larger than needed once they are turned sideways to act as propellers. There is now a program to spend millions to make the V-22's rotors contract/expand! What we need for the Future Transport Rotorcraft (FTR) is a fixed-wing turbofan aircraft which can fly at C-17 like speeds for inter-continental strategic deployments, yet land on very short Assault Zones (Combination Drop and Landing Zones) previously secured by Paratroopers using parachutes. If the engines cannot be positioned/shielded to allow operation on dirt strips without dust/dirt ingestion, then propfans like the C-130J would be used. THEN---when we need V/TOL to land into/out of smaller LZs, attach rotor blades to the FTR and have it fly like a heavy-lift compound helicopter using the propfans/turbofans to provide counter-torque directional control. This aircraft could be "stealthy" to evade radar guided guns and missiles.

The FTR should have pods so all Army units can have the pods to practice loading and unloading; having them pre-loaded for rapid deployments. All Army units must be in the "Airborne rapid deployment business" using constant Emergency Deployment Readiness Exercises (EDREs). After the AZ is secure these units can be shuttled in by FTRs to expand the fight. A special glider pod that detaches from the FTR in flight and silently glides in with high-technology night vision/navigation aids carrying a squad or a light AFV could be developed to enable forced-entries and special operations.


At the dawn of the jet age at the end of WWII, we lost the ability to have "Cactus Air Forces". Propeller driven fighters and transports can take-off and land from dirt strips alongside the Army ground units they are supporting as our WWII Pacific strategy of bypassing enemy pockets and establishing forward airbases exploited. However, early turbojets require long, flat, paved runways to operate and the Army has had to turn to helicopters in order to have forward-area Close Air Support (CAS) airstrike and transport means. With today's technology we can create fixed-wing turbofan/prop aircraft that can carry 100,000 pounds of payload yet can land in under 300 feet--near V/TOL This is what we need to back up Army V/TOL aircraft into AZs secured by Paratroops using forced-entry means (parachuting, fast roping, rappelling, gliders). The near-V/TOL aircraft would be the replacement for the USAF C-130. Some have called this aircraft the Advanced Technology Transport (ATT). This aircraft could be "stealthy" to evade radar guided guns and missiles.


Its clear that the C-17 is the winner and the V-22 is the loser.

Expensive aircraft that can be shot down easily will break the bank. In war time these things will be far to expensive to actually be used if there's even the slightest chance that it will be shot at and seeing how they will be shot at in war something ain't right. Hard-to-produce, not survivable and unbelievably expensive for a vehicle that has very little payload is not the kind of vehicle we need for war.Its time to reveal who is who, and stop the forced-entry masquerade before we have any more Dickensian tragedies.


Well...I am not a marine, but I do have an opinion on wasteful spending. The idea of spending that amount of money on a toy is pointless. And lets face it, it is a toy. Other than having a tilt-rotor system it is a souped-up helicopter. OTH operations will occour from just off the horizon, not 500 miles out. Forgive me if I am mistaken, but isn't the primary function of a MEU to perform forced-amphibious entry. The V-22 is pointless in this role for the following reasons.

1)The concept of a forced amphibious entry with follow on forces enroute and close enough to make a difference on the beach means that the bad guys will know we are coming. Therefore a tilt rotor aircraft that has zero pax protection means that most of those 20+ marines will die. The bad guys won't even waste that stinger missle on them, they will light them up with small arms or RPG's.

2)The USMC is already short on funds....they are already fighting the Navy to pay for refits of Cobras at the cost of another missle cruiser. While the Army is fielding Apaches with all the trimmings, the marines are still flying aircraft that are 40 years old. Let's face it guys, TWA retires aircraft faster than that. In a time where the Corps is pinching pennies you don't need to spend all this R&D and fielding cost...training cost, etc when UH-60s are fine. I have flown in UH-60s, they would work wonders.

3)The concept of an aircraft of this complexity just be used for OTH operations is a waste. Are we to understand that once OTH and amphibious entry is over the V-22 will head back to the fleet. It will then be used to airmoble that same buch of marines all over the AO. That means tree top flight. With those big damn old blades it will be sitting pretty at 200 mph.

Real transport airplanes fly at high altitudes and at high speeds with fighter cover. Helicopters fly nap-of-the-earth with gunship support to protect the LZ, not them. This thing isn't a helicopter, and it sure as hell ain't a real airplane, its a hybrid with none of the good things of either.

4)If it ain't broke...well you know the rest. Why re-invent the wheel guys. Every other branch of service is doing fine with what they have. Why does the marine corps need to build a better mouse trap?

Just my opinions...and like the disclaimer says...I am not a marine.