Marines Close, But Not Yet Satisfied On Osprey Investigation
by Robert Wall
05/04/00 05:30:20 PM U.S. EDT
The Marine Corps is poised to resume flying the MV-22 Osprey, but announcement of the flight clearance was delayed at the last minute by Marine Corps commandant Gen. James Jones. Accident investigators have ruled out aircraft mechanical problems as the accident cause, which was the main reason the Marines feel comfortable they can start operating the tiltrotor again. But Jones, who is traveling in Germany, wanted to review the evidence once more. So far investigators have been unable to pinpoint the exact cause of the accident. One area under close review is the interaction of rotor vortices between the two MV-22s that were flying in close formation when one of them crashed. Helicopter pilots are warned that at low speed the airflow anomaly can induce unanticipated yaw in an aircraft. As a result of the prolonged investigation, Marine Corps officials increasingly are risking a delay in the completion of the MV-22's operational testing.