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V-22 Osprey cleared for flight but cause of fatal crash not disclosed

12th March 2024 - 13:25 GMT | by The Shephard News Team in London


V-22s provide a delivery service for carriers and will begin to do so again soon. (Photo: US Navy)

V-22s have been cleared for flight three months after a fatal crash which led to a grounding but processes involved in the clearance mean it will be weeks or even months before full operations return.

Bell-Boeing’s V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft, flown by the US Navy (USN), US Air Force (USAF) and US Marine Corps (USMC), as well as Japanese forces, has been cleared for flight by Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR). The move will return the aircraft to the skies following a grounding announced after a fatal crash last November.

In a statement, NAVAIR said: “Maintenance and procedural changes have been implemented to address the materiel failure that allow for a safe return to flight. The USN, USMC and USAF will each execute their return to flight plans according to service specific guidelines.

“The grounding provided time for a thorough review of the mishap and formulation of risk mitigation controls to assist with safely returning the V-22 to flight operations.”

Col Brian Taylor, the programme manager of NAVAIR Systems Command V-22 joint programme office, told reporters after the announcement the accident was “unprecedented” component failure and “the first time that we’ve seen this particular component fail in this way”.

No details were provided on the particular component which failed.

Col Taylor said: “We’ve got terabytes, literally, of data from 750,000 flight hours [and] with that, and what we’ve learned from the mishap, all of that together really is what has built the picture of how these mitigation steps are going to provide some more security for us moving forward.”

Last month, USN Vice Adm Daniel Cheever, commander of Naval Air Forces, told Shephard that the eventual return to flight would be “crawl, walk, run”, a stance he reiterated after the announcement.

“Return to flight is not the same as return to mission,” Vice Adm Cheever said after the announcement. He noted it could be weeks or even months before the aircraft would be fulfilling carrier delivery missions but that using the C-2A Greyhound had meant limited operational impact on the service.

The Shephard News Team


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