MV-22 Mishap Information:
The MV-22 mishap occurred approximately 8 p.m. Saturday night 8 April when a MV-22 Osprey crashed near Tucson, Arizona. The MV-22 was conducting a training mission in support of Operational Evaluation (OPEVAL). Aircraft was second aircraft in two ship flight inbound Marana Northwest Regional Airport (encl 1) about 15 miles NW of Tucson, Arizona. The landing site was a hard surface concrete pad area, free of obstacles and parallel to a 6,900' runway. Safety personnel had conducted a safety site survey and a daytime landing there to ensure suitability.
The mishap aircraft was part of the Multi-service Operational Test Team (MOTT), based at Patuxent River, Md., but was temporarily attached to Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron-1 (MAWTS-1) at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz. OPEVAL commenced in November 1999 with planned completion date of June 2000. OPEVAL is being conducted by the MOTT under the auspices of Commanding Officer, HMX-1, the Marine Corps' aviation OPEVAL agency. In this capacity, CO, HMX-1 reports to Commander Operational Test and Evaluation Force. OPEVAL determines aircraft effectiveness and suitability and must be conducted to the maximum extent possible under the most realistic conditions (DOD 5000.2).
During the mission, the crew and Marines conducted Non-combatant Evacuation Operations (NEO) exercises as part of the Weapons and Tactics Instructor (WTI) Course, with Marines embarking and disembarking the aircraft. The mission profile called for the utilization of the latest version of Night Vision Goggles, (ANVIS-9) and Forward-Looking Infrared Radar to enhance night operational capability. Flight was undertaken in good weather conditions with 17% illumination. The flight also served as a training vehicle for the MAWTS current WTI course designated as Assault Support Mission 3 (encl 2). Non-aircrew personnel aboard were part of the Evacuation Control Center for the simulated NEO.
The mishap aircraft was not an experimental aircraft. The aircraft was the fourth of five production aircraft delivered to the Marine Corps. Formal developmental testing of the MV-22 was conducted on the Full Scale Development aircraft (aircraft 1-6) flying 1184 flt hrs and the Engineering and Manufacturing Development aircraft (aircraft 7-10) flying 1600 flt hrs. The mishap aircraft was a Low Rate Initial Production aircraft (aircraft 11-15). The LRIP aircraft have flown a total of 840 flt hrs conducting operational/mission training and evaluation. The MV-22 fleet have flown a total of 3624 flt hrs. The mishap aircraft had flown 135.5 flight hrs since it was delivered to the Marine Corps on 17 Jan 00.
The two previous MV-22 testing mishaps demonstrated the risks inherent in any flight test development program, but the mishap causes were not unique to "tiltrotor technology." The last mishap was in July 1992. The identified design deficiencies were corrected and incorporated in all production aircraft. The MV-22 fleet has flown over 2400 hours (2/3 of all hours) since the last mishap in 1992.
A complete Aviation Mishap Board (AMB) has been convened in Tucson under in accordance with OPNAVINST 3750 under the direction of Col Dennis Bartels from Dept of Avn, HQMC. Team is being supported by joint agencies and the entire Naval Aviation establishment.
Although MV-22s have not been grounded by Commander Naval Air Systems Command, operations have been suspended in order to evaluate the current situation and determine the most appropriate course of action and safe flight operations.