What a chicken $hit rule.
Someone email me an address to send this kid some relief, to him and his family.
VMA-231 The Ace of Spades Squadron since 1919.
Sorry that you dont like the rules, it not like we make them up then apply them. perhaps if you posted more than 3 times this year your words may have some meaning for the higher ups to listen too...
Osprey in the spotlight at air show
Marines tout hybrid tilt-rotor as Corps builds fleet at Miramar
By Gretel C. Kovach
Friday, October 12, 2012
The Osprey MV-22, a hybrid tilt-rotor that takes off like a helicopter and flies like a plane, has been featured in the Miramar Air Show for years. Until now, the revolutionary aircraft with a notorious early development history merely played a supporting role in the simulated combat assault by the Marine Air Ground Task Force.
On Friday, the Osprey debuted its first solo in the annual three-day event, the largest military air show in the country.
Opening-day crowds watched as the MV-22 hovered and spun in place, flew sideways and scooted backward. In its most unusual maneuver, the Osprey lifted vertically into the air, the nacelles on its wing tips flipped forward and what had looked like a strange helicopter began flying forward at high speed like a plane.
Other highlights of this year’s air show include the Air Force F-22 Raptor, a fifth-generation stealth jet that can travel at supersonic speeds; the Army Golden Knights parachute team and the Navy Blue Angels flying F/A-18 Hornets in precision six-jet formations.
Despite sprinkles Friday morning, the usual first-day crowd of about 75,000 showed up as the sun came out in the afternoon. Upward of 500,000 are expected through Sunday.
The Osprey has been an increasingly common sight in the skies over San Diego in recent years as personnel at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar swapped out aging Vietnam War-era CH-46 helicopters and created new MV-22 squadrons. Now, as it plays an expanding role in the war zone and the Pacific, the Marine Corps is highlighting the unique capabilities of the Osprey.
The changeover also comes amid renewed concern in some corners about the aircraft’s safety record after a crash in Morocco killed two Marines in April and the crash of an Air Force special operations variant, the CV-22, injured five in June in Florida.
The accidents fed into political tensions in Okinawa, Japan, over the unpopular Marine Corps Air Station Futenma and spurred more than 100,000 people to protest the arrival last month of the first Ospreys assigned to the heavily populated area.
The 12-aircraft squadron in Okinawa was trained and organized at Miramar. Remaining here are four Osprey squadrons and a fifth that deployed this summer to Afghanistan, the first West Coast MV-22 squadron to do so. By about 2016, the San Diego air station will have six Osprey squadrons flying about 12 aircraft each.
In the interim, Miramar Marines will train and build Osprey squadrons to send to Asia-Pacific and eventually to Hawaii. Air crews train on four simulators at Miramar before traveling to the Corps’ East Coast Osprey training squadron for basic level work on maneuvers such as takeoff and landing. Then they return to Miramar to complete advanced training.
The aircraft has proven its superior capability for Marine Corps operations in Afghanistan, and it soon will have the same impact in the Pacific for transport of troops and supplies in security operations or humanitarian relief, said Maj. Gen. (select) Steven Busby, commanding general of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing headquartered at Miramar.
The primary advantage is its superior speed and range, coupled with aerial refueling capability. Those attributes effectively allow the Corps to replace a helicopter fleet with airplanes while retaining the ability to operate off ships at sea or areas ashore lacking runways.
“In the end what it means is the infantryman in the back, or whoever it is, is out of harm’s way faster than anything else on the planet. And that’s important to us,” Busby said.
In the Pacific, with “the ability of that airplane to deploy with the KC-130s that provide refueling, we now have an asset that can range the entire theater. Either on a ship or without the ship ... it’s going to be a game changer because higher, farther, faster is reality with that airplane.”
The Marine Corps now has 177 MV-22 of the 245 contracted purchases to date and planned final total of 360. About three aircraft are delivered each month, said Capt. Richard Ulsh, a spokesman for Headquarters Marine Corps.
The Osprey program was nearly terminated several times in its development because of technological challenges of the unique tilt-rotor design, its cost and some headline-grabbing crashes.
On April 8, 2000, an MV-22 crashed in Marana, Ariz., killing all 19 Marines aboard. In 2001, the fleet was grounded for 17 months for significant software and hardware redesign.
The aircraft flying over San Diego today, “is not your grandfather’s Osprey,” said Richard Whittle, senior scholar at the Wilson Center and author of “The Dream Machine: The Untold History of the Notorious V-22 Osprey.”
Whittle was interviewed by Japanese media amid the protests over the Osprey. “One of the most logical places for the Osprey to be owned is Japan,” he said, a crowded island nation where “theoretically you could land it on your Walmart parking lot.”
The Osprey has become the latest flashpoint for Okinawans to pressure their government to make good on plans to close Futenma and relocate it to a less populated area, but the MV-22 is actually one of the safest of Marine rotorcraft, Whittle said.
Since October 2001, three Osprey have crashed, killing six people. In that same period, 417 U.S. military helicopters have crashed, killing 625, Whittle said.
“You can always argue about statistics. I look at those statistics and think if I were in a combat zone, I would much rather fly in an Osprey,” Whittle said. The Osprey is often described in the conventional wisdom as an unsafe boondoggle, “people who describe it that way fell asleep midway through the story.”
Until this year the MV-22 had flown more than 100,000 hours without any major crashes. As of May, the Osprey had been edged out for safety by the CH-46Es it is replacing, which have a rating of 1.35 Class A mishaps per 100,000 flight hours. The average among Marine rotorcraft is 2.55.
The Osprey rating is 1.97. The echo and delta models of the CH-53 both have worse safety ratings than the Osprey, as does the AH-1W Cobra and both the standard and new upgraded model of Huey UH-1.
An investigation into the Morocco crash blamed pilot error during the transition from helicopter to airplane mode.
With its dual modes of flying, the Osprey is a complicated piece of machinery, but computerized automation in the cockpit make it relatively user-friendly compared with older aircraft, said Lt. Col. Jan “Jaws” January, commanding officer of VMM-165.
Sometimes pilots need to push the aircraft to its limit in a combat situation, but they always need to understand where those limits fall, January said.
January is a former CH-46 helicopter pilot who was one of the first Marine aviators selected to fly the Osprey. His friends were among those killed in the early crashes, before the fleet was grounded and January went back to flying helicopters for almost eight years.
After the deaths, “You get a feel for the severity of it. But there is an equal or more number of my peers who have paid the ultimate price in other airframes. Aviation is fantastically challenging. Any casual observer will tell you it’s unforgiving,” he said. “But this plane has proven time and time again, that the aircraft itself is fantastically fun to fly and very very safe.”
(Source: San Diego Union Tribune)
I post as seen fit.
Crash Drives Air Force to Restart CV-22 Pilot Formation Training: EXCLUSIVE
By Richard Whittle
Published: October 17, 2012
The Air Force plans to reinstate substantial formation flight training for CV-22 Osprey pilots that it eliminated four years ago, AOL Defense has learned. Reinstatement of the training four years after the service ended it is an implicit admission, V-22 aviators said, that better training might have prevented the June 13 crash of a CV-22B in Florida.
From now on, Air Force pilots going through initial Osprey flight training with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Training Squadron 204 (VMMT-204) at Marine Corps Air Station New River, N.C., will take a classroom course in formation flight, fly two formation flights of two hours each in a V-22 simulator, and fly one actual two-hour formation flight in the tiltrotor troop transport.
The decision to increase formation flight training for Air Force pilots at VMMT-204 is "an acknowledgement that our V-22 formation training was lacking," said an AFSOC member who spoke without authorization. "Obviously, in hindsight, the decision removing it is questionable at best."
Marine Corps pilots have received such formation flight training for years and regularly fly in two- and three-ship sections. The Air Force, though, whose CV-22Bs are flown solely by Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) pilots, directed VMMT-204 four years ago to exempt AFSOC students from most formation flight instruction and remove it from the syllabus for Air Force students, Air Force and Marine Corps sources said. Air Force pilots instead were given more training in using the CV-22B's inertial navigation system and terrain following/terrain avoidance radar, the sources said. The Air Force also streamlined its training at VMMT-204 to get pilots into the field more quickly, the sources said, holding each student's total flight hours at the training squadron to about 28 to 29 hours compared to 33 or more for Marine student pilots.
The June accident near Eglin Air Force Base injured all five crew aboard, destroyed their $78.5 million aircraft and cost their squadron commander his job. The CV-22B crashed after its pilot flew through the rotor wake of an Osprey he was following in formation. The mishap Osprey went into a sudden, uncommanded roll to the left, and while the pilot and copilot were able to regain control, their aircraft hit some tall pine trees and slammed to the ground upright.
"To ensure this doesn't happen again, we have instituted additional training procedures highlighting this hazard," AFSOC spokeswoman Capt. Kristen Duncan said in an email. She said she was unable to provide details. A spokesman for the Air Education and Training Command declined this week to describe the changes in CV-22 training, citing undescribed "sensitivities." Aside from what may be a reluctance on AFSOC's part to admit having made a mistake by curtailing formation flight training, Osprey-related "sensitivities" include concerns the Japanese government has expressed in the face of protests by activists opposed to the Marine Corps's deployment of 12 MV-22Bs on Okinawa. Japanese critics of the Marine presence on Okinawa have questioned the Osprey's safety and the adequacy of pilot training in the wake of the June CV-22B crash and an MV-22B crash in Morocco last April also attributed to pilot error.
An Accident Investigation Board (AIB) suggested the pilots in the June AFSOC crash failed to recognize they were flying in the other Osprey's wake partly because "CV-22 wake modeling is inadequate for a trailing aircraft to make accurate estimations of safe separation from the preceding aircraft." V-22 pilots and other experts agree that more testing is warranted, and the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) V-22 program office will conduct more starting this spring. NAVAIR officials said those tests have long been planned, however, and Osprey pilots said the danger area behind a V-22 is sufficiently well known to avoid – provided a pilot gets enough formation flight experience to be able to judge the distances and angles involved accurately.
Lack of awareness of how dangerous the Osprey's rotor wake can be in helicopter mode is illustrated by a popular photo,taken from the rear ramp of one CV-22B, that shows three other Ospreys as the four AFSOC aircraft took off in dangerously close formation, one behind the other, from a Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., taxiway on May 1, 2007. The photo was made prior to a 2008 incident in which a senior Marine Corps Osprey pilot nearly lost his aircraft in an uncommanded roll off that occurred during a formation flight near New River.
Since that near-disaster in 2008, the Marine Corps has placed "great emphasis on the hazardous areas to avoid while flying formation," one veteran V-22 pilot noted.
The hazard stems from the peculiar configuration of the helicopter-airplane hybrid Osprey. Built in a 50-50 partnership by Bell Helicopter Textron Inc. and Boeing Co., the Osprey tilts two 38-foot-diameter "proprotors" on its wingtips upward to take off and land like a helicopter and swivels them forward to fly with the speed and range of a fixed-wing turboprop airplane. The Osprey's proprotors are undersized for the aircraft's bulk – a design compromise dictated by the need to fly V-22s from amphibious assault ships for Marine Corps missions – and consequently have to generate a relatively large amount of thrust for each square foot of area the V-22's rotor disks describe. As a result, when the Osprey flies like a helicopter, its proprotors leave behind a wake of turbulent air so powerful and persistent some V-22 pilots call it "Superman's Cape."
You don't tug on Superman's cape
You don't spit into the wind
You don't pull the mask off that old Lone Ranger
And you don't mess around with Jim
By Jim Croce, from the song, "You Don't Mess Around With Jim"
All Osprey pilots are taught that flying through Superman's Cape can knock the lift out from under one of their rotors, causing an uncommanded roll. They are also instructed to avoid that danger by keeping at least 250 feet of separation between their cockpit and the cockpit of a V-22 ahead of them, staying out of the lead aircraft's 5 to 7 o'clock position, flying at least 25 feet higher than the lead Osprey, increasing that vertical "step up" to at least 50 feet when crossing the lead aircraft's path and never crossing the lead's path in a descending turn.
Those restrictions appear in both the Marine Corps and Air Force flight manuals, along with illustrations of the Osprey's rotor wake, and the AIB report on the CV-22B crash said the pilot "did not maintain the required 25 feet of vertical separation" from the lead aircraft. The AIB report also said, however, that the pilot was flying two to three times farther back from the lead than the 250 feet stipulated in the CV-22B flight manual. "Specification of a minimum of 250 feet cockpit-to-cockpit separation between aircraft in formation and charts depicting aircraft wake effects extending only to 375 feet can potentially give a false sense of security to aircrews flying at significantly greater distances in trail," the AIB said.
Arthur "Rex" Rivolo, who in the 1990s monitored the Osprey's development program for a federally funded think tank, issued a statement – and posted it on AOL Defense under the screen name "Icon" – declaring that the AIB report on the June crash was a "total distortion of the facts and a blatant attempt to blame the pilots for a very serious design flaw in the V-22 aircraft." Rivolo, a former fighter pilot who argues that the Osprey's side-by-side rotor configuration creates insurmountable aerodynamic hazards, recalled that after a Marine Corps Osprey crashed due to an uncommanded roll at Marana, Ariz., in April 2000, killing 19 Marines, he filed an official request that NAVAIR "evaluate proprotor wake interactions in the V-22" but the tests were never completed.
Don Byrne, Bell-Boeing V-22 flight test director at NAVAIR, said in an interview that some of Rivolo's 23 pages of test requests were performed as part of a series done to satisfy the recommendations of a special panel that examined the Osprey in 2001. The Defense Department convened the panel because of the Marana crash and another caused by a hydraulic leak and a flight control anomaly that killed four more Marines at New River on Dec. 11, 2000.
"We did do testing that defined the current envelope, that said the 250 foot cockpit to cockpit separation and 25 foot step up is safe for the fleet to use," Byrne said. The bulk of the tests Rivolo requested weren't done, however, because he wanted test pilots to "get fully involved in the vortex of another aircraft and experience a complete roll off – an out of control roll off – of the aircraft. That's just not a smart thing to do and no other aircraft goes out and tests to those extremes, either." Byrne added that the additional testing to be done isn't of that nature.
"We already know where the 'avoid' regions are, as documented in the NATOPS," Byrne said, referring by its acronym to the Marine Corps flight manual for the V-22, the Naval Air Training and Operating Procedures Standardization manual. The point of the new testing, he said, is to "see if there's any way to reduce the limitations that are currently in the NATOPS. We've been requested 'can you fly any closer than that?' So we're going to do it, but we're only going to do it to the point where we start to feel the vortex interaction."
A different NAVAIR expert involved in the issue, speaking on condition of anonymity, described the additional rotor wake testing as part of the routine work by a program office to expand knowledge about any military aircraft to improve safety and performance rather than a search for some way to alter the Osprey to prevent rotor wake roll offs.
"The answer is in training, not in a change to the aircraft," this official said.
Experienced V-22 pilots agreed. All aircraft leave turbulence in their wake, several noted, and air traffic control towers routinely caution pilots of other aircraft to keep their distance from planes ahead of them.
"As a test pilot, I always want to do more tests," said Bill Leonard, a former Bell V-22 test pilot who now teaches an aerodynamics course to incoming Osprey pilots at VMMT-204. "I think it's warranted it be considered and looked at in a technical manner and then come up with an envelope, much as we have a wind envelope for operating aboard the boat. If there is such an envelope out there, the fleet needs to know about it."
At the same time, Leonard said, mapping the Osprey's rotor wake in greater detail may be of little help to a pilot flying a combat mission at night, when it can be hard to judge distances between aircraft and precise altitudes despite markings on other V-22s visible through night vision goggles. "In the heat of battle, people get behind the power curve and they get in trouble by losing situational awareness," Leonard said. "If they know where the (rotor wake) boundaries are – if we tell them it is 247 feet on an azimuth of 9.7 degrees off of the aft nacelle, if we tell them exactly where it is -- it won't do any good. They have no way in the airplane to know where that is. They can't read that in the cockpit. All they know is, it's a lot of wind and don't get in the wrong place."
An AFSOC aviator agreed, saying: "The problem you have with spacing is, the further you get away from that aircraft, the harder it is to find those landmarks and references that will tell you 'I am not in the five to seven o'clock,' or, 'I'm 25 feet up.'"
An operational Osprey pilot who wished to remain unidentified said V-22 crews can measure their distance to another aircraft to within one tenth of a nautical mile, or about 600 feet, using their TACAN (Tactical Airborne Navigation) receiver-transmitter but have no device on board that can measure their separation from a lead aircraft precisely. Even so, this pilot agreed with Leonard's view that while more data about the Osprey's rotor wake would be welcome, it would not necessarily prove vital to operational pilots.
"The data we have is very clear about the wake turbulence out to 350 feet aft of the aircraft," this pilot said. "I'd be happy to have additional data. My opinion, as a professional V-22 pilot and taxpayer is, spend the money on something else. I have enough testing data to fly this aircraft safely. These (AFSOC) pilots were neither adequately trained nor adequately proficient with formation flying."
The AFSOC member quoted above agreed, noting that in addition to reinstating formation flight training for its pilots at VMMT-204, since the June crash, the Air Force has required all CV-22 pilots – including those returning from deployments to Afghanistan -- to go through new classroom instruction about Superman's Cape, fly for an hour or two with an instructor to be shown "bad places to be" when flying formation, then take the controls during a formation flight with an instructor as copilot as well.
"What we've instituted in training after the crash is a pretty big flag to say, 'If they'd had the training that we're getting now, the June crash doesn't happen,'" this source said. "It's a pretty explosive acknowledgement that the training wasn't adequate before."
(Source: Aol Defense)This message has been edited. Last edited by: SATCtech,
Osprey pilots resume formation flying training
Staff writer - Staff writer
Posted : Wednesday Oct 31, 2012 13:21:40 EDT
The Air Force is reinstating formation flying training for CV-22 pilots that follows a crash during a formation flight earlier this year, but the service says the decision to reinstate the training was made before the mishap.
The Air Force dropped formation training in 2007 from the Osprey flight training syllabus to “facilitate on-time graduation,” Air Education and Training Command spokeswoman Maj. Carla Gleason said. Pilots would then receive formation training at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., during follow-on mission training after graduation.
Last December, the service decided to reinstate the training, and send pilots to work with the Marine Corps’ Marine Medium Tiltrotor Training Squadron 204 at Marine Air Station New River, N.C. The decision was made based on available resources, and the syllabus was implemented in September, Gleason said.
The Marine Corps continued its formation flying training even after the Air Force canceled its training. Pilots from both services fly the MV-22 Marine variant during training.
Errors in formation flight caused the June crash of a CV-22 on a gunnery range near Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. The Osprey went down after pilots flew into the wake of another aircraft during training.
An accident investigation board report said the pilots thought they were far enough away from the leading aircraft, but the wake forced the Osprey to go into a 63-degree roll. Pilots were able to stabilize the wings before it crashed, and the five crew members escaped with non-life-threatening injuries. The $78 million aircraft was destroyed.
The board report identified shortfalls in training and flying techniques that are “areas of concern” and which contributed to the crash. The investigation also found that the Air Force lacks official guidance on how to recover from a roll when an Osprey flies into a wake, and that the CV-22 simulator used in training cannot replicate the turbulence.
Following the incident, Lt. Col. Matthew Glover, the commander of the 8th Special Operations Squadron, was relieved of command due to a loss of confidence in his ability to lead.
The new training, which was first reported by AOL Defense, is up and running and at any given time there are about eight students in the program, Gleason said.
(Source: Air Force Times)
Osprey simulator promotes safety, prepares pilots
By Lance Cpl. Mike Granahan | Marine Corps Installations Pacific | November 22, 2012
MCAS FUTENMA, Okinawa, Japan -- All Marine pilots face an endless number of variables every time they take to the air in their respective platforms. However, the Corps provides its personnel with special equipment, preparing pilots for as many of those variables as possible.
On Okinawa, Osprey pilots train with the MV-22 Osprey Containerized Flight Training Device, an Osprey flight simulator located at Marine Corps Air Station Futenma. The air station has two simulators, which can be linked together for simultaneous training of two pilots.
The simulator is a safe and cost-effective training device in which pilots sit in an Osprey cockpit and conduct virtual flight missions, allowing them to experience and respond to almost any foreseeable flight situation without putting lives or aircraft at risk.
"In the real world, mistakes can cost lives and damage equipment," said Gunnery Sgt. Andrew Bauer, the staff noncommissioned officer in charge of Marine Aviation Training Systems Site Futenma, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force. "Practicing emergency procedures and specific flight patterns in the simulator allows aircrews to pilot the Osprey more efficiently and safely in the real world."
While the simulator offers a unique, valuable opportunity for pilots, it is important to note that virtual flight hours are no replacement for the critical training and experience that real-life flights provide, according to Col. Jeff A. Hagan, the assistant to the chief of staff, G-3, operations and training, 1st MAW.
"The simulator is a fantastic asset for our Osprey pilots, but the actual sensations and feelings experienced in the air during actual training flights are critical," said Hagan. "The role of the simulator is to supplement training flights and provide opportunities for pilots to practice a variety of scenarios."
The device simulates situations the pilots may encounter, from enemy threats to friendly maneuvers to inclement weather conditions, according to Maj. John P. Arnold, the officer in charge of MATSS Futenma.
"They can conduct air-to-air refueling, link two simulators together and see each other's aircraft, and practice (flight) formations," said Arnold.
Since the majority of flight missions for Ospreys involve a two-aircraft formation, simulators provide excellent opportunities for realistic training when linked up, according to Arnold.
"The pilots get to conduct the same mission and rehearse communications procedures over the radios in the presence of their instructors," said Arnold. "This allows the pilots to get instant, direct and invaluable feedback while training."
Another advantage of the simulator is its ability to prepare pilots to fly in a wide range of weather conditions, simulating unpredictable weather.
"We can put any weather condition possible in the simulator, so pilots can practice flying at night, in the snow, during heavy winds, rain, dust storms, brown or white out landings, and in any cloud level," said Arnold.
Using a virtual alternative to an actual aircraft promotes safety while saving training dollars.
"With the high cost and wear and tear on actual aircraft (during real-world training), flight simulators allow Marine aviators to safely train and execute any of the various missions that could be given to them in a cost-effective environment," said Wendell Smith, the MATSS Futenma contracting officer representative.
Perhaps most importantly, the simulator gives pilots a chance to think through what actions they would take in a variety of scenarios virtually before encountering them physically.
"This approach to training ensures every conceivable ‘what if' scenario is identified and properly dealt with before ever strapping into the cockpit," said Bauer. "It greatly reduces the risk of an actual mishap."
Gunnery Sgt. Andrew Bauer, left, and Maj. John P. Arnold pilot an MV-22 Containerized Flight Training Device at Marine Corps Air Station Futenma recently. Arnold is the officer in charge of Marine Aviation Training Systems Site Futenma. Bauer is the site's staff noncommissioned officer in charge.
Photo By: Lance Cpl. Mike Granahan
New Ospreys in Japan involved in Guam exercise
Stars and Stripes
Published: November 29, 2012
YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — Three of the 12 Osprey aircraft the U.S. recently deployed to Japan will cut their chops in Guam at the annual Forager Fury exercise, which began Thursday.
It’s the first exercise the Japan-based MV-22s will participate in since they began replacing the Marines’ aging CH-46 helicopter fleet on Okinawa this fall.
The Ospreys’ main mission during Forager Fury is transporting personnel and equipment to and from Okinawa and Guam — a roughly 1,500-mile trip the CH-46 is incapable of making, said Senior Master Sgt. Arsenio Cortez, a spokesman for U.S. Forces Japan.
The hybrid aircraft are scheduled to depart for Guam early next week, Cortez said. The exercise concludes Dec. 18.
The U.S. already has deployed the Ospreys to Iraq, Afghanistan, Haiti and Libya. But their arrival on Okinawa in October ignited a backlash on the island, where critics are leery of the safety record of the aircraft, which crashed in Florida and Morocco earlier in 2012.
U.S. and Japanese officials contend the increased capability of the Osprey makes it necessary for the defense of Japan — the crux of the allies’ security treaty. A bilateral committee set some operational guidelines to increase public safety, though the military is only obligated to follow the rules when they are practical and do not conflict with mission requirements or other safety measures, according to the document, which can be viewed online.
USFJ deputy commander Marine Maj. Gen. Andrew O’Donnell, who is qualified to fly the Osprey, recently has been to Okinawa to “help ensure we’re following the procedures that we agreed to in the joint committee,” Lt. Gen. Sam Angelella told Stars and Stripes Thursday.
Staff writer Wyatt Olson contributed to this story.
Three MV-22 Ospreys Arrive on Guam From Okinawa for Training Exercise
Last Updated on Saturday, 08 December 2012 15:01
Written by News Release Saturday, 08 December 2012 14:17
MV-22 OSPREYS COMPLETE LANDMARK DEPLOYMENT TO GUAM
NAVAL COMPUTER AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS AREA MASTER STATION, Guam – Marine Corps Aviation hit another significant landmark yesterday with the successful deployment of three MV-22 Ospreys across 1500 nautical miles in just over five hours from Okinawa, Japan to Guam. The aircraft arrived at Andersen Air Force Base at 5:09 p.m.
The aircraft are participating in the Marine Aircraft Group -12 (MAG-12) exercise FORAGER FURY 2012 (FF12).
The MV-22s from Marine Medium Tilt Rotor Squadron 265 (VMM-265), 1st Marine Aircraft Wing (1st MAW), III Marine Expeditionary Force (III MEF) completed the simulated “assault support” mission with four F/A-18 Hornets and KC-130J from Aerial Refueling Transport Squadron 152 (VMGR-152), 1st MAW, III MEF.
The MV-22s linked up with a VMGR-152 KC-130J about 850 nautical miles into the flight, southwest of Iwo Jima, to aerial refuel en route to Guam.
The flight from Okinawa enabled 1st MAW to simulate safe flight passage through 500 nm of permissive territory free of enemy threats, and 200 nm of hostile territory with four F/A-18s providing realistic replication of enemy aircraft.
This event reinforces Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) integration and exercises maneuver to an objective from over the horizon. Lessons learned from this exercise will enable the Marine Corps to refine the tactical application of MV-22s in support of current and future contingency operations in the Asia-Pacific area.
During FF 12, Anderson AFB will serve as the MAG-12 forward operating base and will be the venue for the MAG-12 operations center. Training on Tinian's West Field includes emplacement of arresting gear and fuel storage/distribution for purposes of extending aviation training throughout the MIRC.
FF 12 provides an excellent opportunity for Marine forces to demonstrate their ability to displace rapidly and generate significant combat power in an expeditionary environment. Additionally, FF 12 will allow MAG-12 to improve aviation combat integration across all echelons of the Marine Air Ground Task Force and heighten expeditionary readiness.
The inclusion of three MV-22B Ospreys from VMM-265 provides a unique opportunity for MAG-12 to incorporate the diverse capabilities of the aircraft into MAG-level exercises.
This is the first exercise that the Ospreys have participated in since they have replaced our aging CH-46 helicopters in Okinawa and it is important that the MAW execute the unique capabilities that the MV-22 brings.
The MV-22 is a highly capable aircraft with an excellent operational safety record. The aircraft combines the vertical capability of a helicopter with the speed and range of a fixed-wing aircraft. With its proprotors in vertical position, it can take-off, land and hover like a helicopter. Once airborne, its proprotors can be rotated to transition the aircraft to a turboprop airplane capable of high-speed, high-altitude flight.
The MV-22 was chosen to replace the CH-46 to introduce a revolutionary change in capabilities absent in helicopters - a leap forward in speed, payload and range. When compared to a CH-46, the MV-22 is roughly twice as fast, can carry nearly three times the payload and has approximately four times the combat radius. Additionally, the MV-22 has the ability to operate at much higher altitudes and refuel while airborne.
The vertical take-off and landing capability of the MV-22, combined with increased speed and extended range enables the squadron to provide assault support transport of combat troops, supplies and equipment during expeditionary, joint or combined operations. Training enables the squadron to respond to short-notice, worldwide employment in support of Marine Air-Ground Task Force operations.
Since October 2003, MV-22s have successfully assisted in humanitarian assistance/disaster relief operations in Haiti, participated in the recovery of a downed U.S. pilot in Libya, supported combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and conducted multiple Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) deployments.
MV-22 aircraft will operate primarily out of Andersen AB, but will execute missions throughout the MIRC and Northern Marianna Islands in order to exercise the diverse capabilities the aircraft brings to the MAW.
(Source: Pacific News Center)
Higher, Farther, Costlier
The IAF is contemplating whether to add the V-22 Osprey to its aircraft fleet. IsraelDefense's editor-in-chief went on a flight in England’s skies in an airplane that is also a helicopter, and returned with impressions
Amir Rapaport 5/12/2012
It isn't completely an aircraft, or a helicopter – however, will the V-22 Osprey be the replacement for the Yasur helicopters, which will conclude 50 years of IAF service in 2019?
As of now, the IDF intends to operate a small portion of its Yasur (Sikorsky CH-53) helicopters, at least until 2025. At the same time, initial flights were carried out by IAF pilots on the unusual aircraft being offered to the corps.
An IAF delegation visited a US Marine base in North Carolina in November 2011 and examined the aircraft by carrying out low altitude flights, night flights, and air refueling exercises. Former IAF commander Major General Ido Nechushtan (who finished his service in May 2012) flew the aircraft himself during his last visit to the US in the spring of 2012.
The acquisition of an entire squadron of V-22 aircraft is not expected to be included in the framework of the IDF’s multi-year plan slated for the autumn of 2012 (intended for the 2013 -2017 timeframe). However, it is not inevitable that the IDF will later decide to acquire or lease several such aircraft, as an initial stage. In such a case, the question would be where the funding would come from. Will it come from the IAF budget or from the IDF’s central budget?
An Unusual Aircraft
The V-22 is unusual by any criterion. The aircraft-helicopter is a joint product of Boeing and Bell. Boeing is constructing the hull and Bell is building the “helicopter” parts, which include the propellers. It also possesses a tilt-rotor thrust and engines by Rolls-Royce.
The design for the aircraft began on paper during the Cold War. The intention was to design a unique aircraft that could take off vertically from any vessel at sea or any point on the ground and then switch to a horizontal flight mode as a swift aircraft, after tilting the thrusters at a 90° forward angle.
Initial aircrafts were engineered only at the start of the last decade after aerodynamics engineers overcame considerable obstacles. However, additional years of development were needed to overcome all the problems in the wake of an accident that resulted in the deaths of 19 marines. At the end of development, since the start of 2007, the new aircraft has fully served in missions in Iraq and Afghanistan – and its personnel participated in rescue operations while under fire.
The V-22 does not possess the capabilities of a swift fighter aircraft, nor of a quick assault helicopter. Instead, it integrates the capabilities of both. It always takes off and lands vertically like a helicopter, and after transitioning to flight mode, it can reach a maximum speed of 565 km per hour and a flight altitude of 25,000 ft. The aircraft is intended to carry 24 sitting or 32 standing fighters, and can handle 9,070 kg of internal cargo, or up to 6,800 kg of external cargo. Its two versions – one in service to the US Marines, and the other used by special forces – are difficult to differentiate. The main difference is in the radar systems, most of which are not visible from the outside.
Flight in England
In order to inspect the aircraft closely, which may join the IAF’s aircraft fleet, I joined the flight of a V-22 with a Marines configuration, held by Bell-Boeing in the framework of the Farnborough Air Show in England held in the second week of June 2012.
The V-22 was already prominent at the takeoff point (the backyard of the Embraer aircraft factory). This is not only because it has two pairs of wings and a tail (like any standard aircraft) alongside vertical thrusters (which change angle in flight during the transition from helicopter to aircraft). It also has a wide underbelly that sits atop three pairs of small wheels – one frontal pair and two rear pairs.
“The only way to understand this aircraft is to fly in it. I will be shocked if you aren’t amazed from the flight,” said Bell’s CEO, John Grisso, before taking off. Minutes later, the passengers boarded the aircraft using a rear ramp. We took off after quickly strapping into our seats.
Prior to the take-off, it is difficult to understand how the giant lump of metal rises – but it does so quickly. After dozens of seconds, the aircraft was already hovering low above the infinite meadows that surround Farnborough, to the east of London. The British grass and castles gleamed in the sunlight, which shone brightly after days of continuous rainfall.
The take-off, which was explained by the pilot on the internal communications network, can be done entirely vertically. However, it is usually done at an 80° angle to provide the aircraft with immediate horizontal speed.
During the initial stages of take-off, the aircraft behaves like any other helicopter. It is only at a speed of 40 knots that the wide wings (a wingspan of 25.8 m) take effect. When the pilot decides to switch to airplane flight mode, the maneuver takes him 12 - 15 seconds. He can continue the flight and end it as a helicopter. However, 95% of the flight time is carried out as an airplane, simply because the aircraft is faster and more efficient. The helicopter flight capabilities primarily serve for takeoff and landing, or in situations in which there is a need to fly close to the ground, in order to avoid enemy fire or to search for survivors.
The initial flight stages are reminiscent of the flight of a Yasur helicopter, only one that is more modern. It was possible to see the electrical wiring systems in the aircraft we flew in – most of the aircraft systems are mechanical and do not convey technology that is not known from other helicopters or airplanes. Then comes the significant change – during the transition to airplane mode, the V-22 displays considerably impressive maneuverability capabilities. The takeoff and climbing is carried out sharply. The iPhone in my hand became surprisingly heavy during the climb. Of course, the aircraft did not reach a miniscule portion of its maneuverability capabilities, but at least 2-3 G forces were applied to the generally light device, which nearly slipped from my grasp.
Suitable for Israel?
While in the air, I tried to think whether the V-22 was suitable for the IAF, or would it be more of a luxury? On one hand, its market price is intimidating – something in the area of $70 million, which is about 70% compared to a Hercules C-130I cargo aircraft (the IAF is buying three such aircraft from Lockheed Martin), yet more expensive than a standard cargo helicopter. A squadron of V-22’s could cost a fortune.
On the other hand, the aircraft has clear advantages with regards to the IAF’s combat outline (and not just when discussing the US marines or special forces that have to operate quickly and from any point across the globe). A clear advantage is its ability to take off and land beyond air force bases, which are expected to be within the range of rockets in any future war scenario. Beyond that, the aircraft’s operational range is large and can be suitable for special operations in very distant locations or for a war scenario in Iran.
The V-22 can easily reach an operational radius of nearly 700 km (the precise distance depends on the amount of cargo it carries). This means that it can reach places such as Iran and return, with just a single fueling, compared to the Yasur helicopter that flies slowly and requires at least three refuels. Its refueling is simple and fast in itself. The aircraft is equipped with an opening, and it can fly at the same speed as a Hercules aircraft and get another portion of fuel while still in the air. The Yasur helicopter, on the other hand, must accelerate to top speed and catch up with the Hercules at the point where it is flying as slowly as possible, in order to improvise the refueling. In distinguishing from an ordinary helicopter, the V-22 can fly above clouds and can essentially operate in all weather conditions. Its ability to avoid antiaircraft fire is also considered superior to any helicopter.
However, are these advantages worth $70 million per unit? The IDF has not made a decision, and is perhaps waiting for another US gift. Can the Bell-Boeing factories supply the aircraft to the IAF quickly, should it decide to procure it? According to Bell’s personnel, the answer is yes. The V-22’s production lines are at record activity. Every month, three new aircraft are produced; however, the rate will soon decrease.
The production of an aircraft intended for the IAF can be integrated immediately, and it would be received within two years, once a decision is made. “This aircraft is equipped with safety systems that completely control it. Once I take off, I trust my aircraft almost to the point of being blindfolded,” said US Marine pilot Crew Chief Timothy Guest Bachelor, while trying to convince the IAF to acquire the V-22. The question remains whether he will convince them.
(The writing is less than stellar. Rapaport appears to have studied at the same institutions that churn out bad engrish Chinese technical writers.)
VIPs in Japan impressed by flight on controversial Osprey
Media from Guam and Japan photograph and shoot video of the MV-22 Osprey on Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012 at Andersen Air Force Base before taking a flight.
Charlie Reed/Stars and Stripes
By Charlie Reed
Stars and Stripes
Published: December 19, 2012
ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam — Critics claim the Osprey is unsafe. Backers praise its flexibility and cite its track record in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya. Queasy fliers have lost their lunches as it makes the mid-air switch from helicopter to airplane.
No matter what you think of this hybrid aircraft, one word fits best: unique.
When the MV-22 takes off in helicopter mode, it doesn’t hover when separating from the ground like a conventional chopper does.
Instead the Osprey, its tilt rotors at a 60-degree angle, accelerates and lifts off the runway while moving forward. Fast.
Then comes the moment of truth, when the pilot swiftly switches to “airplane mode” and the rotors tilt forward to look like airplane propellers — a conversion most of its 24 passengers can’t see but sure can feel. The Osprey zooms upward with a jolt, as if booster rockets have kicked in.
The sensation is fleeting. The 10-minute ride allows photographers near the back to shoot out the open cargo door while the Osprey cuts through the windy skies above Andersen, banking left over the rocky, ocean-sprayed cliffs near Ritidian Point into the Philippine Sea.
Once in airplane mode, the ride gets quieter, slightly smoother. The initial force of the switch would have sucked out anything not strapped down from the back of the Osprey at take-off but evens out mid-flight. Upon descent, the switch back to helicopter mode sends the force up toward the cockpit.
The Osprey pressurizes only above 10,000 feet. The cockpit is air-conditioned to help preserve the avionics, aircrew members said, a plus for pilots when flying in the desert or the tropics.
Ospreys typically are accompanied by fighter jets — usually one of the Marines’ F-18s or an Air Force A-10 — but are also equipped to hold a machine gun from the open cargo door when needed.
With the flight nearing completion, the MV-22 hovers like a helicopter and slowly drifts down till wheels kiss the ground.
The experience was enough to impress a group of dignitaries, politicians and reporters who got a ride last week when three Ospreys from the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing based in Okinawa, Japan, arrived to participate in exercise Forager Fury, making time for two “familiarization flights” in between missions.
One Marine said his measure of the Osprey’s risks is his mother’s peace of mind.
“I know it’s safe. My mom would kill me if I wasn’t flying something safe,” crew chief Sgt. Jeff Schneider told Stars and Stripes.
While deployed in Afghanistan, an Osprey he was flying in absorbed rounds from an AK-47 through protective gel on the hull’s interior, he said.
It’s proven in combat.
“I’ve seen this machine do some amazing things,” Schneider said.
Most of the VIPs on the short flight seemed amazed.
They asked questions of Schneider and other aircrew members, as well as the general in charge of them, before and after the flight.
“It’s so much smoother than a regular helicopter,” said Mark G. Calvo, a retired Army lieutenant colonel and Guam native.
“It felt like you were in a plane the whole time,” said Calvo, special assistant to the governor of Guam and director of the state’s military buildup program. The U.S. territory is preparing for the arrival of 5,000 Marines from Japan — but not their Ospreys.
Among the other VIPs was Toshio Matsumura, Japan’s deputy consul general, who said his worries about the Osprey dissipated after he got the chance to fly in it and talk to aircrews.
“Originally I was very scared,” said a windblown but smiling Matsumura. “I didn’t think it was that stable.”
Forager Fury is the first exercise the Japan-based MV-22s are participating in since they began replacing the Marines’ aging CH-46 helicopter fleet on Okinawa this fall.
The 1,500-nautical-mile trip from Japan to Guam alone was a “huge success,” a trek beyond the capabilities of the CH-46, Maj. Gen. Christopher S. Owens, commander of the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, told the civilian group.
Owens explained how the Osprey works: It can land and take off only in helicopter mode, when the rotors are oriented vertically and provide the lift. As the aircraft transitions to airplane mode — ideally about a 10-second process — the rotors move to a forward position and the wings take over the lift. In full airplane mode, the wings provide all the lift and the rotors provide thrust.
“I hate to use the word revolutionary because it sound cliché,” Owens said. “But that’s what this aircraft really is.”
The Ospreys can fly further and faster and carry more than helicopters. Unlike cargo planes, they do not require runways — a boon both for combat and humanitarian missions.
“We can get supplies in where otherwise we couldn’t reach…and can get in and get out a lot quick than we could with helicopters,” Owens said.
What’s more, the Osprey’s “low signature” characteristics mean the enemy “won’t hear us coming, they won’t see us coming,” he said.
The U.S. already has deployed the Ospreys to Iraq, Afghanistan, Haiti and Libya, where two MV-22s helped rescue a downed F-15 pilot last year.
However, their arrival on Okinawa in October ignited a backlash on the island, where critics are leery of the aircraft’s safety record after crashes in Florida and Morocco this year.
“I disagree with the criticism being leveled at the aircraft but I understand the concerns. We’re doing our best to operate the aircraft as safely as we possibly can and to be as friendly [a] neighbor as we possibly can,” Owens said.
Opponents on Okinawa say they will never be satisfied as along as Ospreys are there.
“If they can conduct exercises and operations (on Guam) what makes it necessary to base them on Okinawa?” said Yasuhiro Miyagi, who leads one of many groups staging rallies and protests around the gates at Marine Corps Air Station Futenma on Okinawa where the Ospreys are based.
Calvo said Guam would be open to hosting the Ospreys because of the benefit more military operations would bring the local economy.
Still, the staunchest advocates of the Osprey were the Marines who fly them daily.
The Osprey can practically land anywhere, pilot Capt. Brian Psolka said, from parking lots and roads to cliffs and ships., and it’s strong enough to transport a Humvee.
“The capabilities this aircraft brings are phenomenal.”
Reporter Chiyomi Sumida contributed to this report.
(Source: Stars and Stripes)
Defense Ministry studies Osprey use by Self-Defense Forces(The JSDF no less)
December 31, 2012
THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
The Defense Ministry has started studies on equipping the Self-Defense Forces with the V-22 Osprey, the U.S. military transport aircraft whose safety record has sparked huge protests in Okinawa Prefecture, sources said.
The ministry is expected to demand millions of yen for research and studies on the aircraft in the fiscal 2013 budget plan.
The Osprey exceeds current SDF helicopters in terms of flight range, speed and payload capabilities. The ministry expects to eventually use the Osprey to defend the Nansei Islands, including the Senkaku Islands, the center of Japan’s recent territorial feud with China.
The ministry believes the aircraft will strengthen the SDF, as ordered by new Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the sources said.
Former Defense Minister Satoshi Morimoto in autumn ordered ministry officials to seek expenses on research and studies of the Osprey. The ministry maintained this approach even after the Democratic Party of Japan-led government was ousted from power in December.
The Defense Ministry estimates the cost of one Osprey aircraft at around 10 billion yen ($116 million), more expensive than current SDF helicopters. The ministry plans to study ways to deploy the aircraft effectively and how it can be used in cooperation with U.S. forces in Japan.
But introducing the Osprey to the SDF will fall under a review ordered by Abe of the National Defense Program Guidelines and the Mid-Term Defense Program. It will take several years for the SDF to obtain the Osprey even if the expenses for research and studies are approved.
The SDF will also have to deal with the issues of where to deploy the Osprey and where it will conduct training flights.
The distinctive features of the Osprey are the large tilting rotors mounted on the wings. The rotors are moved in a vertical position for take-offs and landings and are horizontal when the aircraft moves forward.
Critics have raised concerns about the safety of the aircraft. An Osprey crashed when the rotors were readjusting in Morocco in April. Another Osprey crashed in the U.S. state of Florida in June.
The Japanese and U.S. governments investigated the accidents and issued a declaration of safely in September.
But that has done little to quell the protests in Okinawa Prefecture, where the U.S. military deployed 12 Ospreys to the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in Ginowan. It plans to send 12 more to the prefecture in 2013.
Regular protests against the Osprey have been held in the southern prefecture, and local government workers and citizens are monitoring movements of the aircraft.
Local governments outside Okinawa Prefecture have also voiced concerns about the U.S. military’s low-flight training, in which Ospreys fly over their areas.
(Source: The Asahi Shimbun)
Marine pilot, crew honored for heroic rescue
Published Sun, Jan 06, 2013 09:39 PM
Modified Mon, Jan 07, 2013 04:49 AM
Marine Corps Capt. Erik Kolle at the controls of a V-22 Osprey. Kolle is being honored with an Air Medal for the rescue of a pilot whose F-15E went down in Libya; the pilot was being pursued by unknown assailants. COURTESY OF ERIK KOLLE
By Martha Quillin
The dilemma of Capt. Erik Kolle’s job as a pilot on a Marine Corps search-and-rescue team is that while he likes to use his extensive training, getting the call means that somewhere, an American is in serious trouble.
But for their willingness – and skill – in answering such calls, Kolle and his fellow crew members will each receive the distinguished Air Medal during a ceremony Monday morning in Jacksonville.
Drinking a cup of coffee in the officers’ mess hall on the USS Kearsarge late on the night of March 21, 2011, Kolle wasn’t itching for a chance to show off his skills. It had been a busy deployment, starting with the Kearsarge’s departure in August – a month ahead of schedule, so Marines could help provide humanitarian aid in Pakistan, where flooding had covered a fifth of the country with water.
Kolle’s unit, Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 266 – based at Marine Corps Air Station New River in Jacksonville – was on the Kearsarge with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), based at Camp Lejeune. Kolle’s specialty is flying the Marine Corps’ V-22 Osprey, the craft that can take off and land like a helicopter, then roll its rotors and fly like a plane.
After helping out in Pakistan, the Kearsarge sent Marines ashore at Djibouti, Africa, in October, to train in the mountains. In January, it sent troops and aircraft into Afghanistan to help fight insurgents.
Then came the Arab Spring, and the Kearsarge was sent to the waters off Egypt. Kolle (pronounced “Coal”) and others on the TRAP teams – Tactical Recovery of Aircraft and Personnel – were on alert in case the situation turned hostile, and U.S. Embassy personnel needed to be evacuated.
As Egypt began to calm down, Libya heated up, and the Kearsarge was positioned off the Libyan coast to help rebel fighters push back against the forces of then-dictator Moammar Gadhafi.
Harrier jets from the Kearsarge were among the first to go into Libya when the campaign began. While the Air Force attacked Gadhafi’s surface-to-air missiles and radar installations, the Marines’ Harriers went after the ground forces that were shelling civilians in Benghazi and elsewhere.
“Our jets were going out hitting tanks, artillery pieces – that kind of thing – to push the pro-Gadhafi forces away from the city,” Kolle said. “They would go in, hit the target, come back, get gas and go back out.”
A jet down
As Kolle drank his coffee and a pair of the jets got ready for another sortie, news came that something had gone wrong.
Kolle’s executive officer shouted at him, using his nickname.
“Brillo! Get your butt in the ready room. We’ve had a jet go down.”
Kolle and others got a quick briefing: An Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle had crashed inside Libya minutes before. It wasn’t known whether the F-15E had been shot down or had suffered a mechanical failure. Both the pilot and his weapons officer had ejected, and the weapons officer had been picked up by rebel forces. The pilot was still out there, being pursued by people in trucks. He didn’t know if they were rebels or pro-Gadhafi forces – or what they’d do with him if they caught him. He didn’t plan to find out.
Air Force jets were headed to the area, and the two Harriers from the 26th MEU were redirected to go there. The Kearsarge also would send two CH-53E helicopters full of infantry and two V-22s with TRAP teams.
The Harriers need the ship’s whole flight deck to take off. Once they had left, the helicopters would be pulled onto the deck, unfolded and launched.
But there was another problem. Of the four V-22s on the ship, two were undergoing scheduled maintenance. One of the other two was awaiting a starter-motor replacement, a job that normally takes about two hours.
‘I had no qualms’
Versatile and fast, the V-22 Osprey proved itself highly valuable in Afghanistan and Iraq, but it is also remembered for a series of deadly crashes during its developmental years.
And there was no time to dispatch anyone else; the next-closest aircraft were on a ship 45 minutes away.
A maintenance crew replaced the motor in 20 minutes.
“I had no qualms.” Kolle said. “When the maintenance Marines tell me they’ve made a fix, I trust them.”
With only the location of the pilot, the last known location of Gadhafi’s anti-aircraft threats and a rescue force of 15 Marines, Kolle said, “We grabbed our gear, grabbed our weapons and got on the plane.”
Kolle, 34, joined the Marine Corps in 1998 and has flown V-22s since 2007. He had flown the Osprey in Iraq, where the biggest threat was small arms fire – machine guns – that could be avoided by flying high.
But in Libya, as long as any of Gadhafi’s radar system was still intact, “We couldn’t fly that high. We liked to come in low and fast,” about 500 feet above the ocean, and 200 feet over the ground.
The F-15E had gone down about 40 miles inland, near Benghazi – more than 130 miles from the Kearsarge. When the Ospreys left the ship at 11:32 p.m. with Kolle flying the second aircraft, the F-15E pilot had been on the ground for about two hours, and his situation was tense. Using a survival radio, he could communicate with Air Force pilots now circling above him. As Kolle and his team flew toward him, Kolle could hear the Air Force guys directing the pilot where to run, using remote sensors to scan the scan the dark ground below.
“There’s a ditch 50 yards to your east. Go there, now,” Kolle could hear them say. “There’s a little bush 100 yards the other way. Go there. Now.”
When his pursuers started closing in on the pilot, the Marine Corps Harriers dropped a pair of 500-pound bombs. One reportedly hit a vehicle, and the other was enough to make a second truck turn around.
Meanwhile, the Ospreys were coming in as fast as they could, about 300 mph.
Onboard, “We were preparing ourselves,” Kolle said. They weren’t sure whether there would be government forces trying to attack them when they landed.
This part of Libya, Kolle said, is rolling land, but dry and dusty. “Sort of like a piedmont, but with no grass or trees.” During landings in sandy terrain, he said, Ospreys often experience “brownouts,” in which the wind from their own rotors kicks up so much dirt, it’s impossible to see.
Kolle backed off the lead aircraft to give it room to land and to see how badly it was going to brown out before he chose a spot to land. The first Osprey circled out and was getting ready to land when Kolle spotted the pilot on the ground. He landed about 50 feet away from him.
“He was ready to get out of there,” Kolle said. They got him on board and gathered up the rest of the team.
Count and count again
“OK, count everybody,” Kolle told the team, because the last thing he wanted to do was leave somebody there. “Now count everybody again.”
They were on the ground for about a minute before taking off and tucking in behind the lead Osprey for the flight back to the ship. It had taken 47 minutes from the time they launched until they had pilot safely on the plane.
Kolle says that because of the way Marines train and the way they integrate with other forces, the only variables in the mission to retrieve the F-15E pilot were his location and that of the last-known threats.
“There’s a lot that goes into a mission,” he said, “But because there are so many standard operating procedures, it’s just: Here’s him, here’s the bad guys, everything else is SOP; let’s go.”
Anybody on the flight schedule that night could have done what his team did, Kolle says, but the military believes it’s worth noting. Kolle, along with Staff Sgt. David Potter and Sgt. Daniel Howington will receive the Air Medal with the combat distinguishing device for valor during a ceremony at 8 a.m. Monday at the New River Air Station. The mechanics who got the Osprey ready to fly on short notice also have been commended.
“I don’t see it so much as a personal award but a validation of the squadron and the things the V-22 can do,” Kolle said.
After the ceremony, it’s back to work. Kolle will deploy on the Kearsarge again in a couple of months. At the end of the year, he’s been told, he’ll transfer to Washington to fly for the presidential squadron, which is getting V-22s this summer.
(Source: News & Observer)
UPDATE: New River Osprey squadrons commemorate brief time together
In a historic formation flight above the City of Jacksonville and Marine Corps Air Station New River Friday morning, the seven operational New River V-22 Osprey squadrons celebrated all being home at the same time.
By AMANDA WILCOX - Daily News Staff
Published: Friday, January 11, 2013 at 09:57 AM.
Updated at 4:35 p.m.
In a historic flight above the City of Jacksonville and Marine Corps Air Station New River Friday morning, the seven New River V-22 Osprey squadrons celebrated all being home at the same time.
“It’s a very unique thing to have everybody here at the same time,” said New Riverspokeswoman 1st. Lt. Kristin Dalton. “Since (Marine Aircraft Group 26) became an only V-22 squadron, this is the first time all the squadrons have been home at the same time.
“Because of deployments and a high ops tempo, at least one squadron — if not more — is almost always deployed.”
MAG-26 is the largest all-Osprey unit in the Marine Corps, with its roots deep in the heart of Jacksonville, at New River Air Station. The MAG consists of seven Osprey squadrons: six deployable squadrons and one training squadron.
To commemorate the unique opportunity to fly together, eight MV-22B Ospreys took off from MCAS New River around 11 a.m.Friday morning and made multiple passes over Jacksonvilleand the air station for about an hour.
Seven of the eight aircraft grouped into a formation and the eighth bird flew alongside the others to document the historic flight through pictures and video. The seven formation Ospreys represented the six operational squadrons within MAG-26 as well as the group’s one training squadron.
Lt. Col. Brian Hart, the MAG-26 executive officer who was on-board one of Ospreys, called the opportunity to fly together “a fleeting moment.”
“This was a rare opportunity for all the flying squadrons within MAG-26 to fly together at the same time,” Hart said. “It was fun and exciting. It was really neat seeing all the aircraft flying together over Jacksonvilleand the air station, and it was a pretty proud moment.”
All but one of the Ospreys was piloted by its respective squadron commander. The one aircraft not piloted by its squadron commander was instead flown by MAG-26 commanding officer, Col. Christopher Seymour.
While the commanding officers were excited to celebrate being home with their fellow V-22 brethren, the celebration will be brief, as one of the squadrons is set to deploy to Afghanistan.
(Source: The Daily News)
New hangar to house 48 MV-22 Ospreys
Friday January 4th 2013 - by Cpl. Scott L. Tomaszycki
Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 366 and Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 467 are scheduled to return to Marine Corps Air Station New River, N.C., in 2014, pending the completion of a new hangar complex that recently broke ground. When Osprey squadrons with Marine Aircraft Group 26 move into the new hangars, HMH-366 and HMLA-467 will take over the hangars the Osprey squadrons vacated.
Moving the squadrons from Cherry Point, N.C., to New River and geographically co-locating all MAG-29 squadrons will streamline operations for the units and the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing. Maj. Jeff Hubley, the executive officer of HMH-366, said simply being closer to the squadrons’ New River-based storage facilities will improve efficiency.
“The logistics piece is what we struggle the most with because our parts warehouse is 50 miles away, and we rely on ground transportation to do up to three runs a day to bring us the stuff we need,” said Hubley. “It would be easier to just run down the street to get something if we needed it.”
Hubley said the current maintenance system is working, but would be simplified by the move. Turnaround time on aircraft maintenance will be reduced from eight hours to about two, and the marine corps will save a significant amount of time and resources.
The new building that will house the Osprey squadrons is estimated to cost $141 million and will house 48 MV-22B Ospreys – every aircraft belonging to four Osprey squadrons.
“It’s going to be the largest Marine Corps building on the East Coast,” said Doss Comer, the facilities manager for New River.
Comer is a retired lieutenant colonel who flew CH-46 Sea Knights out of New River for 14 years. During his entire time there, New River has been one hangar short of providing space for all deployable squadrons.
To compensate, squadrons were “hot seated,” meaning as one squadron moved out of a hangar for a deployment, a squadron returning from deployment moved in. Squadrons that did not fit were headquartered at Cherry Point.
“It’s a major capital improvement for New River,” said Comer. “The squadrons were all supposed to be here anyway, but we didn’t have room for them. This is just to make room for them.”
(Source: Vertical Mag)
Israeli pilots give detailed assessment of V-22 tiltrotor
By: Arie Egozi Tel Aviv
Israel is continuing to evaluate a possible acquisition of the Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey, with fresh details having emerged about the experience gained by two of its helicopter pilots in flying the tiltrotor type.
The Israeli air force magazine has released parts of a report written by senior helicopter pilots, identified only as Lt Col Avi and Lt Col Nimrod, who flew the US Marine Corps' MV-22 in the USA during 2011 and 2012.
During their assessment, the pair flew the type in conditions ranging from daylight to pitch darkness, and during dust landings and operations in other extreme conditions. They were accompanied by Israeli technical experts, who also completed a thorough evaluation of the V-22 system.
Israeli air force magazine
Avi, a Sikorsky CH-53 helicopter pilot at the Israeli air force's flight test centre, pointed out several factors with the tiltrotor concept that might challenge some pilots.
"The plane is naturally energetic. The accelerations are literally breathtaking and the mid-stage in which the plane transitions from a vertical standpoint to a horizontal one is problematic as well," he says.
"The pilot uses a control stick and a system that is similar to a throttle. In one standpoint, the control stick serves to determine altitude while the 'throttle' serves to determine speed. In the other standpoint, each of them serves the opposite role. In the mid-stage you feel like you're losing control of the plane. I imagined that the fly-by-wire system would function more smoothly, but discovered that in some cases we needed to intervene."
However, Avi says that in all other areas, the system surpassed his expectations. "One of the biggest problems that helicopter pilots have when flying a plane with fixed wings is stalling", he explains. "On regular planes it's very easy to lose control, while on the V-22 you need to try very hard to stall."
In their report, the pilots also tried to address the tiltrotor's ability to meet Israel's operational needs.
Israeli air force magazine
"We examined how the plane would alter operational activities we've carried out and will carry out in the future deep in enemy lines," Nimrod says. "While some of the operations would have changed completely with its help, there are some that would not have been altered at all. For example, in the situation in which we needed to bring back forces from Lebanon, I suspect that the plane had no real advantages." However, he notes: "It's safe to assume that when evacuating injured people inside Israel, the plane would be a less efficient choice, but when rescuing from far away land, using the plane would make a significant difference.
"We realised that the plane will absolutely change the name of the game. It will be able to carry out operations that we never imagined that one of our planes could execute. If we purchase the plane, our ranges of activity will dramatically change and we'll be able to reach points we've never even dreamed of," he concludes.
The air force's final report following the evaluations was in favour of purchasing a number of V-22s for use during missions defined as special operations, and not as direct replacements for its existing helicopters. As previously reported by Flightglobal, the general staff of the Israel defence forces is also considering a possible lease agreement for between six and eight V-22s.
Deliveries of the V-22 have so far been made only to the USMC and US Air Force, with the Bell Boeing partnership still seeking its first export customer for the type. Some 159 of the aircraft are currently operational, as recorded by Flightglobal's Ascend Online Fleets database.
(Source: Flight Global)
Reserves receive first MV-22 Osprey squadron; looking for good Marines
By Sgt. Ray Lewis | U. S. Marine Corps Forces Reserve | January 16, 2013
EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. --
Marine Forces Reserve has never had a V-22 Osprey squadron—until now. Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 764 (HMM-764) transitioned into the Reserve’s first Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM-764) during a three-part ceremony here Jan 12, 2013.
“It was kind of one big last event to say goodbye,” said Lt. Col David A. Weinstein, commanding officer of VMM-764.
The event started with a change of command where Lt. Col. Scott A. Craig, a CH-46E Sea Knight pilot, relinquished command of HMM-764 to Weinstein, an Osprey pilot.
“It has been a busy two years supporting operations and executing the transition plan of action,” said Craig, about the tiltrotor transition. “But it’s opening doors with the Osprey and we did our best to set those guys up at Miramar.”
Weinstein gladly accepted the torch, and said he is very eager to demonstrate the capability the Osprey can provide for the 4th Marine Aircraft Wing. After Weinstein took command, the re-designation ceremony began.
“Over the past 48 years, the CH-46 has flown every clime and place around the world,” said Brig. Gen. William Collins, commanding general of the 4th MAW. “It has supported our Marines literally everywhere. It served a mark in our legacy. It has been tested under fire in countless conditions. It’s delivered combat troops, supplies, MEDEVACs and has earned the title of the ‘battle frog.’ We will never forget.”
The CH-46 was flown in Vietnam … to Iraq to Afghanistan. It’s hardworking. It has saved a lot of Marine and sailor lives, said Navy Capt. Josh M. Lieberman, a Reserve flight surgeon.
The ceremony reflected on the history of the CH-46 and the future of aviation with the tiltrotor capability.
“This last year marked a significant milestone… as we just past 100 years of Marine aviation,” Collins said. “How fitting it is to go into this 101st year with another milestone, and that milestone is for this squadron to transition to a new aircraft.”
The Marines of the squadron agree.
“We were the last to fly on the CH-46 in the Reserves and the first to transition to a new aircraft,” said Sgt. Jacob L. Anthony, an Active Reserve aviation operations Marine. “It feels historical.”
According to Boeing, the Osprey is the first aircraft designed from the ground up to meet the needs of the Defense Department's four U.S. armed services. The tiltrotor aircraft takes off and lands like a helicopter. Once airborne, its engine nacelles can be rotated to convert the aircraft to a conventional airplane configuration capable of high-speed, high-altitude flight.
Marines will get to see that the amazing capability the V-22 brings will revolutionize 4th MAW, Weinstein said. “We’re headed in the right direction.”
Sgt. Maj. David M. Dyess, sergeant major of VMM-764, said the transition has been a little tough, but the change opens a new door for a new generation of Marines.
“I had a Marine who is going to school to be a V-22 crew chief come up to me yesterday and say that he enjoyed the school and is looking forward to working on the Osprey,” Dyess said. “It is a learning curve for the Marines but once they get in, it will be an excellent opportunity to carry grunts around.”
After the re-designation ceremony came the official relocation of VMM-764 from Edwards, AFB to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, also in California. But they couldn’t leave without a thank you and goodbye to their brothers and sisters in the Air Force.
For over 13 years, the airmen here have provided Marines with outstanding overall support, said Collins. “We have established relationships that, at this point, we are sad to see go. But as always we will remain friends, and we look forward to seeing you all in the future.”
Weinstein said the Marines of the squadron are very excited to relocate, get started, get airplanes and get flying.
Although VMM-764 is officially a tiltrotor squadron, the unit has to establish programs, obtain qualifications and pass inspections before it can receive the V-22 Osprey -- the first delivery is expected in November 2013. The unit plans to be a fully operational tiltrotor squadron by mid-2014. The Marine Corps will transition the one remaining Reserve CH-46 squadron, HMM-774, to a tiltrotor squadron by 2017.
“As we transition to the V-22, the airplane itself has a new capability…. that has taken us to the next chapter of Marine Corps history,” Collins said. “It, right now, is providing our commanders across the globe … an unprecedented level of performance in the tactical, strategic … and operational options for our commanders. We look forward to the transition of this capability within 4th MAW.”
The Marines that stayed with the squadron are Active Reserve Marines that lateral moved from CH-46 to V-22.
That only left VMM-764 with a fraction of what the unit needed. The tiltrotor unit now needs to fill 70 percent of their enlisted Selected Marine Corps Reserve slots.
Marine recruiters are looking for V-22 specialists for airframes, avionics, general support equipment, flight equipment and the seat shop to send to school over the next couple years, he said.
Marines interested in affiliating with VMM-764 should contact the prior service recruiter at Site Support Miramar at 858-577-8345.
Ospreys conduct low-altitude training in Philippines
By 1st Lt. Jeanscott Dodd | Marine Corps Installations Pacific | January 31, 2013
An MV-22 Osprey prepares for take off for night low-altitude training Jan. 24 on Antonio Bautista Air Base in Puerto Princesa, Palawan, Republic of the Philippines. Ospreys conducted day and night low-altitude training Jan. 23-24 in the Republic of the Philippines, marking the Marine Corps’ first Osprey training in the Republic of the Philippines and the first low-altitude training the pilots and crew have conducted since the aircraft’s Oct. 2012 arrival to Okinawa. The Osprey is with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 265, Marine Aircraft Group 36, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force. Photo By: 1st Lt. Jeanscott Dodd
ANTONIO BAUTISTA AIR BASE, Philippines -- Three MV-22B Ospreys and approximately 30 Marines with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 265 conducted low-altitude flight training here Jan. 23-24, marking the Marine Corps’ first Osprey training in the Republic of the Philippines.
The Marines flew routes approved by the Philippine government and used during previous flight training exercises. The flights also marked the first low-altitude training the squadron has conducted since arriving to Okinawa.
“The flights we conducted are important for our pilots and crews to maintain proficiency,” said Maj. Joshua T. Fraser, the operations officer for VMM-265, Marine Aircraft Group 36, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force. “The routes here provide a great venue for low-altitude training.”
Philippine Air Force members accompanied Marines on the flights, providing an opportunity to familiarize themselves with the aircraft and learn about its capabilities firsthand from the pilots and crew.
“It was exciting to fly in the Osprey and experience what it can do,” said Tech. Sgt. Edwin Agang, operations chief for 570th Composite Tactical Wing, PAF. “The Marines flew by the same rules and regulations the Philippine Air Force abides by and used similar routes to those flown by our aircraft.”
Marines also briefed PAF personnel on the capabilities of the MV-22 Osprey and gave tours of static displays of the aircraft, emphasizing its ability to support diverse missions including combat, disaster relief and noncombatant evacuation operations.
“We appreciated the Marines coming down and taking time to discuss the Osprey with us, answer our questions, and provide us tours,” said Agang. “We are glad to host them at our base and look forward to future bilateral training opportunities with the U.S. Marines.”
The low-altitude training the Marines conducted is critical for the squadron’s pilots and the crew, according to Fraser.
“Pilots may have to fly at low altitudes for a variety of reasons, from evading detection by enemy aircraft and radar to locating and evacuating casualties or delivering troops and supplies,” said Fraser.
“The assigned mission and terrain will dictate altitudes for flight, so it is important Osprey pilots train at low altitudes.”
The squadron was able to meet all its goals for its first training evolution in the Republic of the Philippines, conducting both day and night low-altitude flights. The Marines look forward to returning for future training alongside Philippine Armed Forces personnel, according to Fraser.
Camp Lejeune, NC - Marine Corps Recruiting Command currently uses this image in its "Toward the Sounds of Chaos" advertising campaign. MCRC will hold a casting call for selected Marines Feb. 5-6 at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune and Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point.
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