V-22 Osprey completes first paradrop trials
9 February 2000http://defence-data.com/storypic/v22bluesky.jpg [not image]
US Marine Corps parachute jumpers and the V-22 Osprey teamed up in January for the first ever parachute operations from a tiltrotor aircraft, as they took part in a free fall jump from a MV-22 from 10,000 ft. The Marines, who are experienced static line and free fall jumpers, made 24 jumps from engineering, manufacturing and development aircraft Number 10.
"We flew at 120 knots in the conversion mode and it was pretty spectacular site to see these parachute operations," said Bill Leonard, one of the V-22 developmental test pilots who flew these tests. "
The V-22 integrated government/contractor test team conducted these developmental flight tests to determine whether the Osprey is a suitable platform for the personnel paradrop mission. Under the supervision of senior jumpmasters from the U.S. Army Operational Test Command and the Marine Corps Systems Command, 24 successful jumps were recorded to qualify the V-22 for parachute service, according to Lt. Col M.G. Mannella, V-22 government flight test director.
Prior to deploying jumpers, the V-22 Integrated Test Team (ITT) had to collect a series of build-up points to ensure that the V-22 was ready to conduct these tests. The aircraft was evaluated for operations off the cargo ramp, ability to "spot" the drop zone safely and accurately, and other aircraft characteristics such as cabin size, seating, and internal communications.
The Army is the designated proponent agency for personnel parachute operations from new aircraft and envelope expansion of existing aircraft. They are now in the process of issuing a clearance for free fall operations from the V-22.