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Osprey @ Farnsborough

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  • Osprey @ Farnsborough

    I would hope this author is an impartial observer-
    17 July 2006

    Farnborough Day One: Fifty Percent Solution for MV-22A Seems Radical Enough Right Now
    by David S. Harvey

    Farnborough, UK: A USMC Osprey – Storm 22 – lifted off the Air Show runway here today and climbed like a homesick angel aiming for an almost lyrically beautiful section of the Salisbury countryside.

    Aboard was an invited audience of aviation press and what was about to happen to them was an extraordinary personal introduction to tiltrotor flight that would prove to all but hardened skeptics that this aircraft is ready for the business the US Marines do.

    This is hard uncompromising work involving radical arrivals and departures, survival-protecting corkscrew turns at LZs , in short an exploitation of the unorthodoxies of the flight regime that modern times – and the exigencies of global terror warfare - demand.

    It was not without note the Osprey flights this year at Farnborough coincided with a steadily expanding security emergency in Israel and the Lebanon, an event that sort of gave the show, with its emphasis on commercial airliners and corporate breast-beating an air of unreality.

    Not so much aboard Storm 22 where pilots Steve Grohsmeyer and Matt Rising (a US Navy Lieutenant Commander) managed to convey a sense that here was a whole new way of looking at aviation agility.

    It’s often said Osprey flies like a plane and lands and takes off like a helicopter – but that is both a cliché and an understatement that hides the synergy that comes from combining both.

    This aircraft today twisted, turned, climbed and dove like no helicopter or turboprop transport ever could.
    One could almost imagine the frustrated missile and RPG firers below the random flight paths it followed, desperately trying to get in their shot but unable to get the necessary tracking solution.

    In truth, though, the aircraft here is not performing to its maximum potential. Back home at New River, NC., where rehearsals are actively underway for the first ‘go-to-war’ MV-22B squadron (VMM 263) , pilots routinely take the aircraft further into the flight envelope.

    On a scale of one to ten, officials said, the Farnborough pair are about a five to six, the result of mainly airspace restrictions (they don’t have airspace rules for tiltrotors), but also because company test pilots - rather than USMC line pilots – are at the controls for various reasons having to do with airshow flights overseas.

    That’s not to say company pilots can’t hack it (Grohsmeyer plainly can: he flew many of the famous vortex ring state tests a while back) but they say the combat crews are ‘into’ maneuvers that constantly develop further in the training squadron where the name of the game is to apply them in a tactical context. Ospreys are also under a ban on lateral (banking) maneuvers that take it beyond 60 degrees – although the aircraft have performed ‘aileron’ rolls on many occasions.

    In the end, the Osprey story is about confidence building – establishing a track record that diminishes the power of the naysayers who continue to challenge – although less and less stridently as time goes by.

    The challenges have been equally about money as they have been technical, and for most of the time actually a mix of the two. The Osprey team is now able to split those in two and concentrate on both according to the individual merits.

    Technically – based on 30 minutes of flying through a combined mix of rapid climbs, descents, turns, LZ-type combat maneuvers, one of which involved a rapid spiraling arrival with the cabin eerily ‘flat’ through the dive – it must be conceded, by anyone sitting through it at least, that the vehicle is sound, stable and agile in areas way beyond anything helicopters can currently do.

    There are moments, for instance, when passengers must hold on to the seat rails to combat the acceleration. Through the ramp door it is easy to judge the rates of climb and ascent involved – and it is an experience not to be missed.

    Which actually speaks to the whole game; proponents have always said the V-22 proof will come when the chips are down and the mission demanding to a point which would be impossible with other – existing – assets.

    The evidence here today says this something they’re well on the way to achieving. If this was a fifty percent performance, then one is left wondering what the full capability will be like. It is already performing to a point at which it radically pulls ahead of helicopter parameters; what will it be like in a couple of years when the new rules of combat power available have been scrubbed down and put into the doctrine book?

  • #2

    It's been a few weeks since the show in the UK. Any indication that the author of the previous was, maybe, a little "slanted" towards the V-22??
    Semper Fidelis

    Phu Bai tower:
    YW-11 for Phu Bai DASC-
    Remember, These are "A" models!
    YW-11 BuNo-151939
    '65 Model CH-46A


    • #3
      Sounds Good On Paper

      That write up sounds like it came off the director of PR for the manufacturer.

      I still would have great trepidation in going anywhere near a hot zone with this aircraft. Triple A threats, AA missiles, coupled with high altitude zones with high/temperature/humidity are a recipe for disaster with this A/C. Perhaps I am just a grumpy old fool who remains in utter amazement at the exploits of the CH-46 and its pilots ( yes---I'm old enough to be very aware of the 46A models issues back in 66-67) but the Osprey just plain scares the crap out of me. This A/C is very dependent on its computers to keep it in the air and after it's ventilated by shrapnel and small arms fire, I worry that the electrical/electronic systems will be sufficiently compromised to render the A/C unairworthy. But what do I know? The proof is in the pudding. I'm also old enough to remember 34's rendered unflyable by real big pungi stakes and bows and arrows----pretty rudimentary AAA.

      Right Yojaamo------what----are you po'd at me????


      • #4
        Triple A threats, AA missiles,
        That's a pretty high-threat environment you describe. Which do you think would fare better: a low/slow Phrog or an up & away V-22 with 3-3.5g available, flares/chaff, APR-39 and in the case of the CV-22, SIRFC/DIRCM.

        This A/C is very dependent on its computers to keep it in the air and after it's ventilated by shrapnel and small arms fire, I worry that the electrical/electronic systems will be sufficiently compromised to render the A/C unairworthy.
        Three triply-redundant FBW computers, any one of which can fly the aircraft. Did you know that the live-fire T&E program for the V-22 was the most extensive ever for any aircraft? It fared well (e.g., a 23mm HEI through a spinning cross-shaft under flight loads that continued to run for XX minutes), and the good part is that after each shot, the engineers would sit down and say "Now, how can we make that better?" I wish more of our current aircraft had the emphasis on survivability the Osprey does.

        Semper Fidelis means Semper Fidelis


        • #5
          I hate to sound ignorant...

          ... but can you explain "3-3.5g available, flares/chaff, APR-39 and in the case of the CV-22, SIRFC/DIRCM" in language that old helicopter Marines can understand.

          Sounds like neat stuff, but even before I get to the "SIRFC/DIRCM" part I am completely lost.


          Raymond J. Norton
          1513 Bordeaux Place
          Norfolk, VA 23509-1313

          (757) 623-1644


          • #6
            ... but can you explain "3-3.5g available, flares/chaff, APR-39 and in the case of the CV-22, SIRFC/DIRCM" in language that old helicopter Marines can understand.
            3 to 3.5 G's as in g-loading generally associated with fixed wing aircraft in a high performance maneuver. Good luck being the crewchief in back...Its one thing to take "light" G's while you're sitting down, quite another to do it trying to standing up. Grunts aren't going like G's, but they're going to have to learn to deal with them.

            APR, SIRFC, and DIRCM are countermeasure systems.

            Given the choice, I'll take layered composite over aluminum sheets; engines separated by 40ft over a single-aft-engines/transmission/rotor pylon; and Power off-nose up-nacelles aft-rotors thrusting in reverse over H46 quick stop even with HVR AFT possible. I think that while the Osprey is larger, its rapid velocity changes are significantly more effective than an H46's best efforts at defeating any unguided threats.