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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.


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