V-22 Osprey News

IL Serge Pod #27.11.2001 09:20

Serge Pod


NASA recommends further tests for V-22

22 November 2001

By Henry Wilson, DSD's contributing reporter

An independent NASA assessment has concluded that the troubled V-22 programme should continue, despite the number of fatal crashes that has led to the project being halted for almost a year, and advocated more testing for the experimental craft. The V-22 Osprey has the capability to take-off and land like a helicopter but is also able to fly as a turboprop aircraft by rotating its wingtip-mounted engines. The US Marine Corps has been a strong supporter of the new aircraft as the next-generation of aircraft for delivering troops into the combat zone.

The US Navy commissioned NASA to explore the effect of tiltrotor aeromechanics phenomena that might adversely impact the safety or the performance of the V-22, with particular focus on vortex ring state and autorotation. At least one of the four crashes has been attributed to the effects of vortex ring state.

Despite concerns voiced as to the safety of the V-22 in the light of the fatal crashes, the panel found that there were no known aeromechanics phenomena that would stop the safe and orderly development and deployment of the aircraft. It advocated that the project should be resumed without delay and that many of the problems could be ironed out as the testing programme worked towards its conclusion. The Executive Summary stated: "With appropriate test build-up, procedures, and identified recovery techniques, it is believed that it will be safe to conduct the planned flight tests. Consequently, the Panel recommends that the development flight test programme be resumed without delay, and it fully endorses the proposed Integrated Test Team Flight Test Program."

This endorsement will come as a huge relief to Bell and Boeing who have been working on the development of the V-22 since 1982. Furthermore, the findings of the panel will be a boon to the Pentagon who are expecting the craft to supply the needs of the US Marines in particular. Indeed the panel's conclusions were influenced in no small part by the considerations of a number of the test pilots who recommended that the Osprey be introduced at the earliest possible opportunity.


IL Serge Pod #03.01.2002 20:25

Serge Pod


Osprey to enter two-year flight test programme

24 December 2001

The troubled V-22 Osprey aircraft will go through a two-year flight test programme, said Pete Aldridge, US Defense Undersecretary for acquisition, technology and logistics.

"I've had some serious doubts about the safety, reliability and operational suitability of the V-22," Aldridge said during a Pentagon press conference Dec. 21. "I personally still have some doubts, but the only way to prove the case is to put the airplane back into flight test, and we're going to do that."

Marine Corps plans to buy 360 and Navy and Air Force plans to buy 50 each of the tilt-rotor aircraft were put on hold following two crashes that killed 23 Marines in April and December 2000.

Several "blue ribbon" groups that looked into the crashes and the programme have recommended a number of changes.

The new flight test programme will start in April 2002. It will be a comprehensive, two-year look at the aircraft. The tests will further explore the occurrence called vortex ring state, deemed responsible for the first crash of a V- 22 in Arizona that killed 19 Marines.

Aldridge said the tests also must explore shipboard compatibility. For example, he noted the need to look at what happens when one rotor is over the flight deck and the other is over the side of the ship, conditions which could include take-off, landing or craft on deck.

He wants the test to also explore low-speed hover conditions, such as landing when the props blow up dust, debris, snow and other things. The testing will also include combat manoeuvrability and formation flying, including refueling conditions.

Aldridge said he and Navy Secretary Gordon England would assess the testing programmes at various posts along the way. He said the flight-test hurdles would be event-driven rather than schedule-driven. Tests will not move to new areas until engineers fully understand the results of earlier testing.

"We'll not be driven by trying to accomplish something in a certain period of time," he said.

DoD has slowed down production of the V-22 to the minimum sustaining level. This will allow changes to be made to production aircraft. Aircraft already built will be retrofitted.

By Jim Garamone American Forces Press Service



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