Pentagon Identifies Root Cause in Osprey Crash That Claimed 8 Air Force Crew Members
According to a US defense official, the Pentagon has reportedly determined the cause of the mechanical failure that resulted in a tragic crash of an Osprey aircraft in Japan.
This incident led to the grounding of the entire fleet for a period of two months.
The focus is currently on determining how the aircraft can be safely put back into service.
The Pentagon’s Joint Safety Council is currently collaborating with the Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps to ensure that Osprey crews are prepared to resume flying, according to Navy Rear Adm. Chris Engdahl, who serves as the council’s chairman and commander of Naval Safety Command.
The Air Force investigation is ongoing into the tragic Nov. 29 CV-22 crash, resulting in the loss of eight service members.
The crash resulted in an unusual suspension on December 6th of approximately 400
Osprey aircraft across all three branches of the military.
Japan has also decided to ground its fleet of 14 Ospreys in response to the crash.
The official who provided information about the mechanical failure refused to disclose any details about the specific nature of the failure.
It has sparked discussions about resuming flights due to the possibility of implementing mitigations.
The official was not authorized to discuss the investigation publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Engdahl mentioned that the council is currently in discussions with commanders from various services to understand their plans for resuming flights and the risk assessments they are making.
“In aviation, similar efforts have been made in the past, although perhaps not to the extent and with the same level of technological advancement as the V-22 Osprey.”
Gather Service Input for Osprey Deployment Criteria
According to Engdahl, it would be beneficial to gather input from the entire service to determine the required number of simulator hours for crew proficiency, the specific type of flying involved, and the necessary maintenance for each Osprey before they can be deployed again.
Flight safety relies on pilots staying up-to-date with their aircraft, ensuring they are proficient in various types of flying, including night missions, close formation flying, and refueling.
After 60 days of being grounded, that will be a significant concern that the services must address as the Ospreys return to flight.
It is also crucial to ensure that the aircraft are prepared. Both the Air Force and Marine Corps have been operating the Osprey’s engines, with the Marines performing ground movements to ensure the aircraft’s functionality.
The Marine Corps leadership is currently developing a message to be communicated across the service.
This message would allow each unit to have a period of up to 30 days to recertify their crews and ensure their readiness for flight.
A second defense official, who requested anonymity, shared these details that have not yet been publicly announced.
According to Marine Corps spokeswoman Capt. Alyssa Myers, the service is working closely with the Air Force and Navy to ensure a well-informed decision regarding the MV-22’s return to flight.
Ensuring the safety and well-being of our personnel and maintaining the reliability of the V-22 remains a top priority during our ongoing discussions regarding our plans for resuming flights.
The Osprey is a fast-moving airframe that can take off like a helicopter and then tilt its engines and rotor blades to a horizontal position to fly like an airplane.
Although the current Osprey standdown is significant in terms of its impact on flight operations for three services, it is not the longest grounding of military aircraft.
In 2000, the development of the Osprey faced a setback when two crashes resulted in the unfortunate loss of 23 Marines.
As a result, the Marine Corps made the decision to temporarily halt the program for approximately 18 months.
The Joint Safety Council was created by Congress to provide a more comprehensive examination of safety concerns across various services, in response to a series of fatal aviation accidents in 2018.