The last time we covered tilt-rotor aircraft, Bell Helicopter's TR918
Eagle Eye Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) received its FAA certification.
The Eagle Eye weighed in at around one ton and featured a top speed of 250MPH.
Today, a report shows that a much larger scale tilt-rotor
vehicle from Bell-Boeing is running into more trouble. The Bell-Boeing V-22
Osprey has had a storied past including two prominent crashes during
development that have killed a total of 23 Marines. These days, the Osprey
is still getting flak for "poor aircraft availability" and
"marginal operational availability" during 41 test flights this past
The aircraft was lambasted in a recent annual report put
forth by the U.S. Defense Department. "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," claims the report.
Four Air Force CV-22 Osprey aircraft were assessed between June 6,
2006 and July, 10 2006 at Kirtland Air Force Base, NM. Many of the problems
cited in the report stem from the aircraft's poor performance and
serviceability in desert conditions. The Marine Corps version of the Osprey is
likely to encounter similar performance and maintenance issues as the aircraft
mainly differ in equipment packages offered.
The latest batch of issues is troubling to Philip Coyle,
senior advisor for the Center for Defense Information. "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."
The V-22 Osprey has a maximum take-off weight of 47,500
pounds, a cruising speed of 246MPH and a top speed of 316MPH. The Air Force
currently has plans to purchase 50 Ospreys while the Marine Corps has plans for
quote: I don't know enough to comment on if this thing is useful or if it's government waste, but.. I can see the value in keeping defense manufacturers afloat.