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Bell-Boeing's MV-22 Osprey heads to Iraq
The MV-22 will have serve a seven month tour of duty in Iraq

Bell-Boeing's V-22 Osprey first took to the air nearly 20 years ago and the road to active duty has been a long one. When DailyTech last visited the tilt-rotor aircraft, the Air Force's CV-22 Osprey was criticized for its "poor aircraft availability" and "marginal operational availability" during desert testing at Kirkland Air Force Base.

"Frequent part and system failures, limited supply support, and high false alarm rates in the built-in diagnostic systems caused frequent flight delays and an excessive maintenance workload," claimed the report which was released earlier this year.

"This produces a maintenance and support burden that the Marines really can’t afford. All of the reliability problems that they continue to have here in the [United] States -- it’s going to drive them crazy overseas," said Philip Coyle, senior advisor for the Center for Defense Information.

Despite the troubles, the U.S. Marines will be deploying seven of its similar MV-22 Ospreys to Iraq in September. The Marines are hoping that the Osprey’s speed will allow it to quickly transport troops and make it less of a target for insurgents than slower, traditional helicopters.

"It is our fervent feeling that this aircraft is the most capable, survivable aircraft that we carry our most important weapons system in, which is the Marine or rifleman," said Lt. Gen. John Castellaw, the deputy commandant for aviation for the Marines. "If you've ever gone rabbit hunting, you know that it's harder to shoot a rabbit that's running than the one that's sitting still."

The push for the Osprey to enter regular military service has been a long time coming. In 2007 alone, there have been six crashes involving U.S. helicopters in Iraq. The Osprey's enviable speed (top speed 316MPH), ability to take-off and land like a helicopter and an operating range that is three to five times that of traditional helicopters should make it a great workhorse during its seven month deployment.

The V-22 Osprey is destined to replace the Marines' CH-46 Sky King by 2018. When compared to the CH-46, the Osprey has a range that is three times farther and has six to seven times the survivability in the field.

The tilt-rotor aircraft has been in development for over 20 years at a cost of over $20 billion USD.



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biggest waste of taxpayer's money EVER
By Jafo79 on 4/16/2007 11:54:56 AM , Rating: 4
This thing was doomed from the start, I'm a helicopter pilot and can tell you when the engine just quits I can have that collective down in less than a half second and enter autorotation (relative wind driving the blades) if a total failure occurs in the Osprey, you are screwed because to transition the props takes several seconds, to long to establish autorotative state before propeller rpm decays beyond the point of recovery. The picture is not very pretty as the aircraft literally drops out of the sky. Numerous times even under controlled conditions test pilots were not able to pull off even a half-assed auto, imagine under real world conditions how ugly that would be.
http://www.blackfive.net/main/2004/07/the_v22_opsr...




RE: biggest waste of taxpayer's money EVER
By masher2 (blog) on 4/16/2007 12:09:30 PM , Rating: 5
> "if a total failure occurs in the Osprey, you are screwed because to transition the props takes several seconds"

I don't know myself, but I would think that, when configured for horizontal flight, the wings provide enough lift that autorotation isn't required. If a total failure happened at that point, you'd simply try to land it as a normal plane.

Of course, if you don't have an airstrip under you, you're in trouble...but that's true for any fixed-wing craft.


RE: biggest waste of taxpayer's money EVER
By Jafo79 on 4/16/2007 12:29:50 PM , Rating: 2
not quite, the props generate thrust which is split into a vertical and horizontal component, the "wing" is simply a mount for the engine/prop and provides very little lift in forward flight. Therefore the engine quits, rate of descent quickly approaches that which is fatal. Read the link in my original post. That thing is nothing short of a failure and some politicians/generals need their asses handed to them for checking the block on that one as far as safety is concerned.


RE: biggest waste of taxpayer's money EVER
By masher2 (blog) on 4/16/2007 1:07:02 PM , Rating: 5
Actually, in researching this it appears that the V-22 *is* able to do a fixed-wing glide in case of dual engine failure, and in fact has safely had to do just such an emergency landing already.

The danger condition appears to be loss of both engines, while configured for vertical lift, and while at an altitude of below 1,600 feet.


RE: biggest waste of taxpayer's money EVER
By Jafo79 on 4/16/2007 11:34:17 PM , Rating: 2
They key term here is able, and in this context able means with test pilots, under extremely controlled conditions, yes it is possible.


RE: biggest waste of taxpayer's money EVER
By Sunrise089 on 4/17/2007 3:23:30 AM , Rating: 2
I won't question your skills as a helicopter pilot, but you're looking at this the wrong way. This plane is SAFER than a helicopter. Maybe it cannot safely autogyrate down like a helicopter in all situations, but it can when above 1600ft. On the other hand, when in forward mode (which will be almost all the time) it can glide down like a plane. It is SAFER than a Blackhawk or the like - faster, able to glide, having multiple engines, etc.


RE: biggest waste of taxpayer's money EVER
By Jafo79 on 4/17/2007 4:22:49 AM , Rating: 2
RE: biggest waste of taxpayer's money EVER
By Sunrise089 on 4/17/2007 6:31:06 AM , Rating: 2
Thank you for the link, but I stand by what I said. The paper basically tries to analyze an AIRPLANE with standards applicable to helicopters. I understand the aircraft may not be perfect, but the distant possibility of a higher crash rate must be weighed against the far superior speed and glide abilites compared to a helicopter.

Honestly, the report would be like Guided Missle Cruiser crews protesting submarines because they are difficult to escape from. When viewed as a missle cruiser, a submarine is a death-trap. When viewed for what it is however, it's disadvantages can be understood in light of it's intended purpose.

The V22 Osprey is the same sort of umit. When viewed as a faster alternative to helicopters with better ability to avoid and evade hostile fire, it's inablity to possess helicopter safety features doesn't really matter.


RE: biggest waste of taxpayer's money EVER
By Jafo79 on 4/17/2007 1:01:10 PM , Rating: 2
The Osprey is going to be acting as a helicopter a large portion of the time and during this time It should be able to perform at least as safely as a helicopter. If all it were doing was acting like an airplane that's a different story. The Marines want to replace the tried and tested CH46 with the Osprey so it is absolutely appropriate to compare it to a helicopter. The thing is just not safe and is vulnerable to VRS (vortex ring state) in ways that a helicopter IS NOT. See here: http://www.zpub.com/notes/osprey.html


RE: biggest waste of taxpayer's money EVER
By masher2 (blog) on 4/17/2007 1:20:56 PM , Rating: 2
> "The thing is just not safe and is vulnerable to VRS (vortex ring state) in ways that a helicopter IS NOT..."

According to testing after the VRS accident, the Osprey is less susceptible to VRS than a normal helo, and recovers more easily from it. Here's a link to a story from some info, along with some interviews with actual Osprey pilots...who are all big fans of the craft, BTW.

http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/13.07/osprey.ht...


RE: biggest waste of taxpayer's money EVER
By Jafo79 on 4/17/2007 3:20:03 PM , Rating: 2
They flew the thing to 10,000ft! Notice that no where does he make any comparisons to a helicopter and also this is the critical bit.
quote:
He also found that in an Osprey, he could recover from the condition relatively easily, provided he had 2,000 feet of altitude to play with
In the real world you won't always have that. This was under controlled conditions. Now load that thing up to gross weight, increase the temperature to about 120deg bring it down to realistic mission altitudes and things change dramatically


By masher2 (blog) on 4/17/2007 3:40:47 PM , Rating: 2
> "In the real world you won't always have that..."

No one is disputing that. In the real world, even normal helos often crash during autorotate attempts. But the fact remains that the vast majority of an Osprey's flight time will be either above this floor, or while configured for forward flight...and in both cases, its able to do a powerless emergency landing.


By Jafo79 on 4/17/2007 1:05:34 PM , Rating: 2
http://www.fcw.com/fcw/articles/2001/0409/news-osp...

If there weren't so many killed this story would have been funny.
quote:
Following established procedures, when the reset button on the Osprey's primary flight control system lit up, one of the pilots — either Lt. Col. Mi-chael Murphy or Lt. Col. Keith Sweaney — pushed it. Nothing happened. But as the button was pushed eight to 10 times in 20 seconds, a software failure caused the tilt-rotor aircraft to swerve out of control, stall and then crash near Camp Lejeune, N.C.


By Jafo79 on 4/17/2007 3:22:06 PM , Rating: 2
http://www.fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/ac/V-22_Humvee....

That right there is helicopter mode, that trip might be 200nm, if the engines quit in that configuration, those guys are as good as dead.


RE: biggest waste of taxpayer's money EVER
By Jafo79 on 4/17/2007 1:03:39 PM , Rating: 2
How often do helicopters and therefore will the Osprey be required to operate under 1,600 feet? Don't forget if the Osprey gets into settling with power on one side and not the other the damn thing flips upside down. You can guess the end result, already happened once here:http://www.zpub.com/notes/osprey.html


RE: biggest waste of taxpayer's money EVER
By masher2 (blog) on 4/17/2007 1:29:58 PM , Rating: 2
> "How often do helicopters and therefore will the Osprey be required to operate under 1,600 feet?"

You missed most of that equation. The Osprey isn't vulnerable when below 1,600 feet. It's vulnerable below that altitude only when configured for vertical flight, lacks sufficient forward airspeed, and loses both engines.

During 99% of the Osprey's mission time, it'll be configured for forward flight and thus, regardless of its altitude, will be able to perform a glide landing should it lose two engines.


RE: biggest waste of taxpayer's money EVER
By Jafo79 on 4/17/2007 3:09:43 PM , Rating: 2
I think you are confusing helicopter mode (not necessarily vertical) with vertical flight. Absolute vertical flight is avoided whenever possible due to the dangerous settling with power or vortex ring state that can occur should rate of descent exceed roughly 300fpm with almost zero airspeed. Unless absolutely necessary for the mission even helicopters follow a landing profile generally not reducing airspeed below 30knots or so until the rate of descent is less than 300 fpm. The v22 will be in helicopter mode on all descents to landing, that's a lot of the time. Furthermore the osprey can't come screaming into a stop like a helicopter, it must be much slower and gradual due to the aircraft's high likelihood of settling with power. The Osprey is even MORE susceptible to this problem and behaves much differently than a helicopter as 1 prop can enter into VRS while the other does not, this results in unequal lift and major control issues and eventually a crash just like in my last link because the damn reset button wasn't working for the computer! Let's not forget a computer is flying this thing, it's just receiving recommendations from a couple of humans! Therefore a single engine failure or single prop damaged by enemy fire let's say would almost certainly result in death for all aboard where as helicopters have demonstrated very survivable standards after taking fire. I guess only time will tell.


By masher2 (blog) on 4/17/2007 4:19:09 PM , Rating: 2
> "Absolute vertical flight is avoided whenever possible "

Of course. By configured for vertical flight, I mean nacelles pointed up, or "helo mode" if you prefer.

> "The v22 will be in helicopter mode on all descents to landing, that's a lot of the time"

A couple minutes out of a trip which might be several hundred miles? Sorry, thats not a significant fraction.

> "The Osprey is even MORE susceptible to [VRS]"

I'm sorry, but the more I research this the more I'm convinced its total hysteria. The Osprey is less endangered by VRS than a normal helo...it can easily get out of a VRS state, simply by a nacelle bleep, whereas a helo cannot.

So far one Osprey has crashed due to VRS, and that was due to pilot error. Here's a little writeup about that, by an ex-Army helo pilot, and owner of the site helicopterpage.com:
quote:
...Now, I know what you are thinking: The military ALWAYS blames the pilots.

In this [crash], it was pilot error...The V-22 that crashed was in a two-ship formation when the lead ship started a rapid deceleration. The trailing ship (The one that crashed) followed the lead ship beyond the point where it was safe and entered a descent that was in excess of 3000 feet per minute... there is no reasonable person who would assume that a pilot induced descent in excess of 10 times the minimum required rate of descent to enter Vortex Ring State would be the fault of the aircraft . While I offer my condolences to the families of those who were killed, I must state that the excessive rate of descent was the problem here, not the aircraft design. Had the pilot broken formation and departed the landing zone to set up for a new approach, he probably would be alive today. Does that mean I am saying that the aircraft is perfect? No. It does have some problems that need to be worked out, but this specific situation is not a case where the aircraft design is at fault...


By 91TTZ on 4/16/2007 12:10:14 PM , Rating: 2
That's a good point. Many people do not know that you can glide a helicopter. They think that as soon as power goes out, the helicopter is doomed to fall straight down.

I guess in the case of the Osprey, though, if the engines fail when they are in a forward position (plane mode), you can still glide it down like an airplane. You'll ruin the props when you get to the ground since they're too big, but that's the least of your worries.


By JLN on 4/16/2007 2:03:15 PM , Rating: 2
You seem to be much more knowledge about aircrafts that I could possibly ever be, so I won't make this any form of argument. However I did find this page interesting since these helicopters were built in my hometown next to the airport and we've seen many prototypes for numerous years. Nice to see it gain some attention but hopefully its worthwhile investment for our military.


RE: biggest waste of taxpayer's money EVER
By DBRfreak on 4/16/2007 2:14:10 PM , Rating: 2
First, the V22 has a drive system which requires the failure of both turbines before the props lose power. Second, the wing of a V22 actually does provide enough lift to allow the craft to glide a bit.


RE: biggest waste of taxpayer's money EVER
By Jafo79 on 4/16/2007 11:38:54 PM , Rating: 2
You're right in that there is a "synch shaft" that provides redundancy should 1 engine fail the other prop still gets power. You're wrong about the glide, see here all you non-believers::
http://www.g2mil.com/V-22safety.htm


RE: biggest waste of taxpayer's money EVER
By masher2 (blog) on 4/17/2007 7:13:11 AM , Rating: 2
> "You're wrong about the glide, see here all you non-believers: (link)..."

I read your link and it doesn't attempt to refute the glide landing capability of the V-22. In fact, it seems to explicitly support my earlier remark, in that it says the V-22 cannot conduct a survivable emergency landing "with all engines inoperative" when its in helicopter mode and below 2000 feet.

In any case, I wouldn't put too much weight into an article written by an anonymous person, on a website run by a man with the mission goal of exposing "important issues [that] are ignored by editors fearful of upsetting their corporate advertisers or government sponsors"


RE: biggest waste of taxpayer's money EVER
By Jafo79 on 4/17/2007 1:11:41 PM , Rating: 2
It doesn't? I am talking about when the contraption is in helicopter mode and there is dual engine failure.
quote:
The single autorotation test in V-22 also demonstrated that the attempt to recover from autorotation to a safe landing by using stored rotor energy to arrest the rate of descent failed markedly. The test data indicate that the aircraft would have impacted the ground at a rate of descent of about 3700 ft/min (61.7 ft/sec) ¾ a fatal rate-of-descent. Authoritative proponents, e.g., the NASA Review Team, have argued that autorotation is not a needed capability for the V-22 due to the low probability of a two-engine failure. My analysis of Navy safety data shows that the Navy/USMC experiences a dual engine failure in a helicopter about once every 3 to 4 years due to fuel contamination onboard a ship. Historically, such accidents have usually been survivable because the helicopter autorotates into the water and the crew and passengers quickly scramble out. If such an event were to occur in V-22, it will probably be fatal to crew and passengers because the aircraft will not smoothly enter autorotation, but most probably depart from controlled flight, and because the cabin is too cramped for a rapid egress.


By masher2 (blog) on 4/17/2007 1:34:49 PM , Rating: 2
From your own link:
quote:
From higher altitudes, or when operating in airplane it is generally believed that V-22 is capable of conducting a survivable, all engines-inoperative emergency landing...
A glide landing, in other words. Except-- as we've already said many times-- when in helo mode AND at a low altitude AND experiences loss of both engines.


RE: biggest waste of taxpayer's money EVER
By CollegeTechGuy on 4/16/2007 2:41:04 PM , Rating: 2
I have a hard time believing that this thing can land without engines. Look at the size of the props, if the engines quit they would be a huge resistance and the plane would probly not be able to keep enough speed up to glide to the ground. It would probly just drop like a rock.


RE: biggest waste of taxpayer's money EVER
By Ringold on 4/16/2007 6:10:04 PM , Rating: 2
Assuming it's like any other normal aircraft (except for simple fixed-pitch single engine civilian airplanes), those admittedly massive props would feather such that they'd be parallel to the plane, creating no drag.

At which point, the Osprey would glide perfectly well, just like most any other plane.

Of course, my problem with this entire complaint is that the time spent in a vulnerable condition (in 'helicopter' mode) would be a very short period of time relative to the total time the engine would be active. The probability of a critical failure during this short window of time from mere mechanical failure should be pretty darn small; the real risk would be enemy fire, and that's not special to the Osprey.


RE: biggest waste of taxpayer's money EVER
By Jafo79 on 4/16/2007 11:41:21 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Of course, my problem with this entire complaint is that the time spent in a vulnerable condition (in 'helicopter' mode) would be a very short period of time relative to the total time the engine would be active. The probability of a critical failure during this short window of time from mere mechanical failure should be pretty darn small;


Wrong, this is where chance of failure is greatest as the most power is required and components are under the highest amount of stress.


RE: biggest waste of taxpayer's money EVER
By Ringold on 4/16/2007 11:57:07 PM , Rating: 2
Aircraft engines spend most of their lives at very high levels of output. Cruise speed can easily mean 70% output continuously for hours on end. Does hovering this thing really need the same output as a 250 or whatever knot cruise? If it does, then I stand corrected.

As for stress, lift is lift; the stress would be distributed differently during a hover than during cruise, but during either configuration the entire weight of the Osprey is on its wings. Again, I'd imagine the lift PLUS the stress of a 250 or 300kt cruise would be at least as bad as a hover.

I'll admit, a take off is the most dangerous time, and happens to of been when I've had my only engine failure, but that particular risk is shared with all aircraft.


By Jafo79 on 4/17/2007 4:28:12 AM , Rating: 2
The power required to hover is much greater than that to maintain cruise speed, remember the lift equation L=clx1/2p/v2
where lift=coefficient of lift or aoa
1/2p= air density
v2=velocity squared

HIgh AOA,+low velocity ( no translational lift from horisontal airspeed) =lots of induced drag (vortices) and very high power requirements

All I can say is read this!
http://www.g2mil.com/V-22safety.htm


RE: biggest waste of taxpayer's money EVER
By bohhad on 4/16/2007 9:58:08 PM , Rating: 2
aren't you pretty much screwed in any airborne vehicle when the engine dies? how is this a legitimate gripe?


RE: biggest waste of taxpayer's money EVER
By Jafo79 on 4/16/2007 11:45:17 PM , Rating: 2
No you are able to fly just as you would when the engine is running albeit towards the ground instead of away from it.ROFL Seriously though see here::
http://www.copters.com/aero/autorotation.html


RE: biggest waste of taxpayer's money EVER
By masher2 (blog) on 4/17/2007 7:31:29 AM , Rating: 2
I'm not a helicopter pilot, but I do know that autorotation is not a 'safe' procedure...there is a range of airspeed/altitude combinations for which autorotation is very dangerous if not impossible. I believe that some 50% of the helicopters which attempted emergency autorotations in the Vietnam war resulted in fatalities...and I've read of several commercial autorotative attempts which ended in fatalities.

So the Osprey is vulnerable in the same regime a helicopter is-- low airspeed and altitude. Still, it seems safer than a single-engine helo, even if somewhat less so than a twin-engine one.


RE: biggest waste of taxpayer's money EVER
By Jafo79 on 4/17/2007 9:54:36 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
but I do know that autorotation is not a 'safe' procedure


Wrong. Autorotation IS safe in fact we practice it all the time, lower the collective full down, roll the throttle to idle to disengage the engine from the main rotor,enter a steady glide @65-70 KIAS (knots indicated airspeed)
You would be amazed how smooth it is. Are there mistakes that can kill you? Of course but when done properly an autorotation landing is as safe and smooth as a normal powered landing. You are refering to the Height/Velocity diagram which is also known as the dead man's curve. These are airspeed/altitude combinations to avoid because the lack of energy available to autorotate. Kinetic energy is stored in rotor rpm and airspeed and potential energy is stored in altitude, you can trade back and forth but if your Low on both (low altitude low airspeed) you decrease the survivablity. That is why we follow the curve and stay out of the shaded area. Read more about it here:
http://www.copters.com/pilot/hvcurve.html


RE: biggest waste of taxpayer's money EVER
By Jafo79 on 4/17/2007 9:56:55 PM , Rating: 2
1 important fact I left out. We simulate engine failure and practice autorotations from 500ft AGL (above ground level)


RE: biggest waste of taxpayer's money EVER
By masher2 (blog) on 4/18/2007 12:26:52 AM , Rating: 2
> "Autorotation IS safe..."

Then why do so many people die when attempting it in real life? A quick web search finds dozens of fatal and serious helo crashes in which the pilot tried, but was unable to pull off a successful autorotate.

> "We simulate engine failure and practice autorotations from 500ft"

As I'm sure you know, its easy to autorotate when you're prepared for it, have sufficient altitude and rotor energy, and no complicating factors. But in the real world, its a very risky procedure.

As for the 500 foot floor, the Osprey has a 1600 foot one instead. I'm not really seeing a huge difference here. By your logic that the LZ is far more dangerous than the trip to it, then surely the last 500 feet is most dangerous of all...and under that floor, neither an Osprey nor a helo is going to have much chance.


By Jafo79 on 4/18/2007 2:55:27 AM , Rating: 2
yes dozens over the past several years, do you realize on avg 109 people are killed in the USA everyday driving cars The answer is human error. Does that make the car that you drive unsafe?

http://www.fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/ac/V-22_Humvee....

Look at that picture, the v22 will be in helicopter mode for the entire duration of the flight now if something happens, system failure, fire in flight, enemy fire, you name it that thing has already demonstrated that it will not be able to autorotate from that configuration. a Ch47D or F model would certainly be able to auto under those conditions.


Marketing Hype
By lifeblood on 4/16/2007 3:01:01 PM , Rating: 2
The Osprey may be faster than a CH-46 IN LEVEL FLIGHT, but not when coming in and out of the LZ. The Osprey is a lot slower as it has to transition from regular flight mode (rotors forward) to landing mode (rotors up). Both Viet Nam and Iraq have shown most helicopters are shot down in or near the LZ. This is exactly where the Osprey is slowest and most vulnerable as any mistakes by the pilot or mechanical failure of the aircraft would have a catastophic effect (too low and too slow for corrective action).

As a former grunt I say give me a frog (CH-46) any day over the Osprey.




RE: Marketing Hype
By rippleyaliens on 4/16/2007 3:22:34 PM , Rating: 3
Well as a Former Marine Grunt as well, i say give me the OSPREY ASAP.. You of all people, know how delicate the ch46 is.. With the saying that if it aint leaking, then something is wrong.. The ch46, IE the chinok, ANOTHER helicopter, that the world ALWAYS said, couldnt fly.. IE the helicopter with 2 main roters, with no small tail roter.. The Osprey is definetly a needed asset. The ablity to move 300 + miles within 90 minutes is just plain unheard of now.. IE 50 miles in less than 15min.. completely awesome.

Every known helo- in the United States Arsenol, has came under fire.. Helicopters are aircraft, by sheer physics, shouldnt really be able to fly, let alone, do all the things that they do..
BUT as of today, the military depends more so on Helo-s then airplane. Osprey's turn in the fire.. Yes we will loose some. As with blackhawks, apaches, UH-1's, Cobra's, and ch46's. WITH THE LAST 3 HELO's listed, over 30 years old..

out with old, in with new..
PS, to the original helo pilot who posted.. Cause you arent flying the osprey, doesnt mean that it isnt needed.. They said same thing about the CH53 (IE TOO BIG, why needed),, now it is main helo, in the US Marines, based on the size, and speed, not to mention the power. Give the thing a chance.. its not like the USA has something on the horizon anyway...

No war can be Won.. Once you understand that, then the objective is easy.. SURVIVE


RE: Marketing Hype
By DocDraken on 4/17/2007 8:35:06 AM , Rating: 2
Yep. Not only does it have to approach LZs slower (I read it was about 9 MPH) it also can't do evasive manouvering like the choppers can. It has to do pretty straight and level approaches. Basically it's a sitting duck approaching and leaving LZs (well floating duck really).


RE: Marketing Hype
By masher2 (blog) on 4/17/2007 8:45:16 AM , Rating: 2
> "Basically it's a sitting duck approaching and leaving LZs..."

But a normal helo is a 'sitting duck' on the long flight all the way to and from that LZ. Even if the Osprey is more vulnerable during takeoff and landing itself, its much less so during a long overflight of enemy territory, no? It's much greater airflight speed means its much harder to hit, and stays in that territory far less time.


RE: Marketing Hype
By DocDraken on 4/17/2007 12:30:30 PM , Rating: 2
Like lifeblood said, the most dangerous phase is during insertion/extraction to/from an LZ. Besides I'd rather be a "sitting duck" travelling at ~150MPH than hanging out around a hot LZ at 9MPH. If you fly over an enemy heavy AAA position it doesn't really matter that much if you're going 150MPH or 246MPH (Osprey cruise speed). You'll most likely be shot down either way.

I also don't see any circumstances of "long overflights of enemy territory" in current war zones. There are long overflights of occupied territory where you might encounter a few rebels with light weapons, very rarely AAA or SA missiles. The few cases of helicopters (even pretty heavily armoured Apaches) having been shot down was by insurgents driving around with some big AAA guns on a pickup truck. Stuff that would also take down an Osprey.

So in short. If you encounter something en route that's powerful enough to shoot down a relatively fast moving target, then it doesn't really matter if you're going 150 mph or 250 mph. On the other hand if you have lots of people continuesly hosing you with machine guns and firing RPGs at you at the LZ then it's very important to be able to load/unload quickly, do evasive manouvering and be out again quickly. Fast in - Fast out is essential.


RE: Marketing Hype
By masher2 (blog) on 4/17/2007 1:14:43 PM , Rating: 2
> "If you encounter something en route that's powerful enough to shoot down a relatively fast moving target, then it doesn't really matter if you're going 150 mph or 250 mph"

Come now, you're straining to make a point. For nonguided weapons such as "AA guns and light weapons", the speed of the target drastically affects your accuracy. It's at least a linear function of speed (if not more) due to human reaction time alone. Given that, any single attack on an Osprey while cruising has only a 60% chance, compared to say a CH-46E. Probably less, but lets assume that.

But remember the Osprey also gets to its destination faster too, and thus only spends 60% of the time in the air. Even ignoring the fact of less warning and less time for the enemy to prepare, thats a second 0.6 factor. Together it means 0.35 = roughly 1/3 the opportunity to score a hit against an Osprey...excluding the LZ itself, of course. And let's not forget that, for search and rescue missions, this means getting injured personnel back to a medical base in 60% of the time as well.

Finally, I'm still not seeing why you believe an Osprey is going to be be in the LZ so much longer than a normal helo. Its rate of climb is 2,045 ft/min...identical to a CH-46E. Sure it has to reconfigure to forward flight at some point...but in a hot LZ, it can defer that until its several thousand feet up, and thus out of the most dangerous period anyway.


RE: Marketing Hype
By DocDraken on 4/17/2007 2:49:06 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I'm still not seeing why you believe an Osprey is going to be be in the LZ so much longer than a normal helo. Its rate of climb is 2,045 ft/min...identical to a CH-46E. Sure it has to reconfigure to forward flight at some point...but in a hot LZ, it can defer that until its several thousand feet up, and thus out of the most dangerous period anyway.


Because it's very sensitive to getting it's propellers caught in it's own turbulence (and then rolling over), especially when coming in for landing. So the pilots have rules on making slow descents, forbidding quick manouvers and it has to land at speeds less than 9mph and in a fairly straight line. A 2005 Pentagon evaluation said the V-22 was suited only for low- and medium-threat environments, and is not “operationally effective” in high-threat environments because of these restrictions. This isn't really about the transition phase but more about it's less than optimal handling in vertical configuration.


RE: Marketing Hype
By masher2 (blog) on 4/17/2007 4:23:52 PM , Rating: 2
> "So the pilots have rules on making slow descents..."

Fair enough. But it can still exit an LZ at least as fast as a CH-46, and it will get to and from that LZ much faster, spending less time in enemy territory.

That's a very big benefit, in exchange for an extra minute or so on the descent phase of landing.


Great aircraft...
By therealnickdanger on 4/16/2007 8:56:57 AM , Rating: 2
The Osprey is a great aircraft with exceptional abilities, but I just pray we don't read any headlines about 12 Marines dying in an Osprey crash due to mechanical failures or some other failure. I understand that wartime is the best time to test out new "toys", but hopefully not at the expense of any of our soldiers.

They should really be testing out their new T-101 cyborgs, I hear those are cool... :P




RE: Great aircraft...
By TSS on 4/16/2007 9:55:21 AM , Rating: 1
well, exceptional.... admitted it's not worse then a helicopter but if it refuses to fly it's not any better either. and you can pretty much count on that accident happening, after all those failures in jsut testing it's not going to operate without a glitch. and stingers still work as well against helo's as against this thing i'd recon.

still, if they can get it to work like it's supposed to it'll be a advantage. i'll forever be in confusion though about why they chose 2 huge rotors over 4 smaller ones. oh well.


RE: Great aircraft...
By masher2 (blog) on 4/16/2007 10:11:45 AM , Rating: 4
> "i'll forever be in confusion though about why they chose 2 huge rotors over 4 smaller ones"

Rotors with half the diameter would have had one quarter the area, and thus 4 half-sized rotors would have half the lift of 2 larger ones (or would need to rotate much faster). And if each rotor was larger than 1/2 the diameter, it would have required a significantly longer and heavier wing...not to mention twice the number of nacelles. And unlike a fixed-wing engine, if a nacelle fails, the plane can't limp along on the others, so more rotors doesn't increase redundancy, it actually reduces it.


RE: Great aircraft...
By SGTPan on 4/16/2007 5:55:00 PM , Rating: 2
Grant it, stingers might be able to track and attack this thing like a traditional chopper, but how many of our birds have been brought down by stingers in Iraq? The ones we sold the Taliban in the 80's pose a real threat, but thus far, that threat hasn't actually been realized.


RE: Great aircraft...
By Ringold on 4/16/2007 6:20:04 PM , Rating: 2
Not to mention, a stinger fired at a chopper hits the body of the aircraft, damaging/destroying just about everything.

A stinger fired at an Ospry would ideally hit the engines, yes? And the engines are at the tips of wings. If it were in traditional flight and had an engine blown off it would make for an interesting next several minutes but wouldn't necessarily have to be fatal at all, and if the engine isn't entirely knocked off (throwing off the balance), then there's little reason why the Osprey just couldn't keep on flying along, with its passengers safely away from the blast in the body of the airplane.

Dont get me wrong, though, it'd be a rough experience, but just not one that wouldn't be survivable. Our pilots are some of the best in the world, and we've been landing chewed up nearly-destroyed aircraft ever since we first started putting them to military use. Assuming the balance from getting most of an engine blasted apart is compensated for in the design so not to be fatal (and I'd imagine they were at least that insightful), our pilots can do it.


RE: Great aircraft...
By Zoomer on 4/16/2007 11:43:13 PM , Rating: 2
They certainly have the incentive to do it when that happens.

They need better countermeasures against missiles.


RE: Great aircraft...
By Jafo79 on 4/17/2007 4:41:36 AM , Rating: 2
# he V-22’s lack of an autorotation capability, or even a demonstrated all engine inoperative safe landing capability, remains cause for concern. V-22 fails to meet the ORD threshold requirement for a survivable emergency landing with all engines inoperative from a large portion of its operating envelope.
# V-22 flight characteristics in VRS (vortex ring state) are problematic for roll control and the aircraft is susceptible to un-commanded rolling as a result of saturation in the roll channel of the flight control system when the aircraft is operated into VRS. This aircraft response to VRS phenomenon is drastically different than that of any conventional helicopter.
# The V-22 is prone to roll PIO (pilot-induced oscillation) in helicopter mode during high gain pilot tasks such as shipboard operations, precision hover in confined areas, or precision hover/landing in obscured visibility.
# The V-22’s high vibratory loads, coupled with a very flexible structural design and complex hydraulic system, is problematic for hydraulic, electrical, and mechanical systems and is likely to lead to high failure rates for these systems. Many such failures have safety implications.
# The V-22’s susceptibility to wake or tip vortices from other aircraft is problematic for roll control and can result in un-commanded rolling of the aircraft. At low altitude, this could lead to a loss of an aircraft.
# The V-22’s high downwash velocity field has the potential to produce significant detrimental effects on hovering operations in desert environments or over water.


A long time coming
By Schadenfroh on 4/16/2007 9:08:25 AM , Rating: 3
Psshh, the US Air Force is late to the game. I have been flying sorties in Ospreys in EA's LHX Attack Chopper for a while now.




RE: A long time coming
By 91TTZ on 4/16/2007 12:13:16 PM , Rating: 2
Oh man, I had that game on my first computer, an 8088 with CGA graphics back in the day.

When I used to get shot down, I'd sit on the ground and attack all the trucks and aircraft that would come after me.

Also, I used to get a lock on those camels and shoot hellfire missiles at them.


RE: A long time coming
By Crassus on 4/16/2007 1:14:48 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, camels and tents. I played it on a 286 with VGA grafics. That game fits on one floppy disk! Thinking about it, was/is there a LHX chopper?


RE: A long time coming
By bespoke on 4/16/2007 3:08:06 PM , Rating: 2
The LHX program became the RAH-66 Comanche which was eventually canceled in February 2004.

http://www.fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/ac/rah-66.htm

It would have been an amazing bird, but with the end of the cold war, it's mission evaporated and the huge cost per unit was better put to use by buying existing helicopters.


RE: A long time coming
By LIGHTNIN on 4/16/2007 8:42:03 PM , Rating: 2
Man what a quality flight sim, do you remeber the dread of seeing a SA-2? I remeber hitting the chaff and flare key and firing more than a handfull of hellfires!

That said I am a big fan of the Osprey despite seeing the pilots reports.Didnt Boeing make a change the computer systems that when it detects a situation where the aircraft could enter a vortex ring state it automatically increases the engine power?


Small correction about duration of development
By Griswold on 4/16/2007 10:32:41 AM , Rating: 2
The first prototype flew 18 years ago in 1989. Development started in 1983 though. It not only cost 20 billion dollars, but also 30 lives.




By Master Kenobi (blog) on 4/16/2007 12:21:18 PM , Rating: 1
Got news for you but 30 lives is absolutely nothing in the grand scheme of things. Welcome to testing, enjoy the stay. Testing new technology will almost always result in lives lost. Accept that and move on. Are losing lives good? No. Is it a fact of advancement? Absolutely. If you are so concerned with lives then stay home and never leave your house. When we go back to accepting the risks involved in advancement, we will make it back in the front running. Until then, we will continue to make slow progress all because people are so concerned that even 1 life lost is 1 too many.

Reality is that people are not priceless. People can be replaced. People will die during tests of new technologies, if you honestly believe testing can be conducted with little or no risk, your wearing rose colored glasses. Testers are volunteer only, so its not like these guys don't know what they are getting into, but they are willing to take the chance to advance. Stop BSing yourselves into thinking its a terrible tragedy.


By christojojo on 4/16/2007 1:15:21 PM , Rating: 3
Obviously you are volunteering to be one of the the thirty. To trivialize thirty deaths is a rather sad statement to make. It is understandable that some deaths will happen when testing theory made real but it is still a shame and tragedy for each one of those soldiers and their families. To say life does not matter makes you a politician or someone not endangered. I can say war is cool but most of the soldiers that suffer injuries would never want their children to undergo that type of hell.


RE: Small correction about duration of development
By OxBow on 4/16/2007 1:36:08 PM , Rating: 3
Hear Hear

The point of testing is to fix those problems, not keep wasting more lives, which is what is happening with the Osprey.

It's the Osprey that should be killed off, not the soldiers who have to use them.


By Ringold on 4/16/2007 6:29:46 PM , Rating: 2
As someone that knows test pilots, both current and retired, they're under no illusions over the dangers of flying experimental aircraft. I've known personally pilots killed just taxiing about the airport; any time a pilot takes the controls, we're aware of the risks, and assume the responsibility.

Military members are doubly so; not only have they volunteered to serve the military in any way the military wants to use them, they've volunteered for test pilot duty.

As I understand it, those 30 weren't all pilots, but anybody getting in an experimental aircraft should be aware of the dangers.

I don't mean to minimize their loss but progress has a cost; were the Mercury missions or Apollo 1 not worth it because volunteers were lost? I'd argue that not getting the project done after they sacrificed themselves to help push forward NASA (or the Osprey) when the potential for benefit and benefit still exists would be the only thing that would make their lives being lost a "waste", as they'd of died for nothing when those still living were too lazy, shellshocked or busy with a political motive to have the nerve to push on in the face of adversity.


By OxBow on 4/16/2007 10:06:49 AM , Rating: 2
Beyond the technical problems listed, most of the fatalities in testing the Osprey have come from pilot error while transitioning to and from flight mode.

Apparently, it's extremely tricky to switch from flight to hover mode, and a small mistake is all that's needed to bring the thing down. It's one thing to try that on a test platform, it's completely different under live fire over a populated area.

I'm not saying the pilots here aren't the best possible, I'd they are some of the best. Which is all the more reason not to risk their lives in something that is so prone to problems and malfunctions.




By Griswold on 4/16/2007 10:44:04 AM , Rating: 2
Actually, 19 (one crash) of the 30 fatalities were caused by pilot error. 11 (2 crashes) due to technical failures.

It is assumed that the pilot error was due to too fast dive at a too low vertical airspeed - under these circumstances, the rotors could happen to move through their own turbulences, lose lift and result in a crash.


By Griswold on 4/16/2007 10:48:06 AM , Rating: 2
Correction: Horizontal airspeed of course. ;)


By Ringold on 4/16/2007 6:40:26 PM , Rating: 2
I confess.. that I don't get it?

At least, I don't understand how that's different than a normal helicopter diving too quickly with too little forward airspeed, somehow making the Osprey different. Assuming that it's in that configuration.. if it's diving fast with not enough forward airspeed in a normal configuration, well, pilots have been killed by being on the wrong side of the power curve even in probably every plane ever made, so again, not sure how it makes the Osprey special except in a case where the Osprey would get attention not warranted and not given to any other pilot-error related crash.

Though technical failures, that's easy enough to get.


By Ringold on 4/16/2007 7:01:40 PM , Rating: 2
I read the article, and it answered it for me: There was nothing for me to get.

It's flight restrictions on those dives are identical to helicopters; nothing new there, and deaths attributed to the Osprey due to those are misleading.


Typical: More Hand-me-downs to the Corps
By jskirwin on 4/16/2007 12:24:48 PM , Rating: 2
Once again the Corps gets the hand-me-downs from the other services. The Air Force doesn't want it so where do they send it? To the Corps.

However, the Osprey could prove useful to Marines for the reasons cited in the article. Most - if not all - new military aircraft have had trouble during development. The question then becomes, did they fix it?

If so, and Marines can rely on it without worrying about it falling out of the sky for no reason, then the Marines will have a pretty cool toy.

If not, it will be back to the choppers...




By Misty Dingos on 4/16/2007 4:03:50 PM , Rating: 3
The Air Force is buying CV-22s they will take delivery in 2009. They want to use them for special ops.

The USMC is the leader in production and procurment (through NAVAIR) of the Osprey. This is the Marine's baby. They wanted it from the outset. And the reason is simple. They need it the most.

And one more thing. These are not hand me downs from anyone. These are fresh from the factory made. Uncle Sams Misguided Children are getting brand new made just for them aircraft. Any leaking hydralic fluid is their own fault.

Oh and Semper Fi or in my case Fly High and give them the whole nine yards.


Sky lemon
By hlper on 4/16/2007 10:22:18 AM , Rating: 2
The Osprey has been plagued with design and construction problems for its entire 20 year life. There were two factors that I remember being discussed in early test disasters. First, it's just difficult to make a wing strong enough for flight that can also be rotated 90 degrees in flight (makes sense). Second, I also believe it was a Boeing subcontractor that was supplying inferior hydraulic connectors that failed in a couple of earlier publicized accidents (should be correctable). However, all of the Osprey's problems will just be magnified if they fail in Iraq and more soldiers die.




RE: Sky lemon
By masher2 (blog) on 4/17/2007 7:35:13 AM , Rating: 2
> "The Osprey has been plagued with design and construction problems for its entire 20 year life..."

The same is true for the early history of the Sidewinder, which later became the most succesful A2A missile in history. Will the same hold for the Osprey? I don't know...but I'd rather see operational testing in Iraq police action, than some future widescale offensive.


V-22
By delga8f2 on 4/17/2007 7:42:41 PM , Rating: 2
All I know is that Ive been flying for seven years and have never heard of an aircraft having a duel engine failure requiring the crew to initiate an Auto.

In fact I do not know anyone who has actually had to do one




RE: V-22
By delga8f2 on 4/17/2007 7:44:08 PM , Rating: 2
Thats Dual With an A


History of flight
By Misty Dingos on 4/16/2007 12:17:50 PM , Rating: 3
The Osprey is either going to work in the real world or it won't. The US military has fielded many aircraft systems since the first guy climbed into a balloon to look at troop movements in the Civil War (War of Northern Aggression for you southern revisionists). Lots of them have been absolutely abysmal and cost many lives proving it.

Is the Osprey going to add to that list? Nobody can say right now. They have been flying them operationally in North Carolina for several years now. They have not had another crash. Are they perfect? No. Are they safe? As safe as a helicopter built in 1965? Probably safer. And that is the choice that the Marines gets to make if it scraps the Osprey.

If I was going to climb into an aircraft that is going to take me into combat, higher and faster will equal safer for the trip there and back. Transport helicopters are not fast and they do not fly above most AAA threats. The Osprey can do both. The helicopters that have been shot down in Iraq recently were just were you would expect them to be. Low and Slow. Cost more than 30 lives too.




The title...
By Polynikes on 4/16/2007 9:08:33 AM , Rating: 2
It's the United States Marine Corps. Did you really need to abbreviate the "s" on the end of Corps?

As a former Marine infantryman, all I can say is I have no interest in riding in one of those. Put me on a helo please.




smart
By Moishe on 4/16/2007 9:28:48 AM , Rating: 2
The environment over there and the level of use will be a great testbed. After all the time and money I'm glad they're finally going to start using it.




By Anonymous Freak on 4/16/2007 2:11:40 PM , Rating: 2
Kirkland is a city in Washington state, and the generic brand name of stuff sold at Costco (the company is base in said city in Washington.)

The Air Force Base (in New Mexico) is Kirtland, with a t.




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