Cohen to Appoint Panel to Study MV-22 Osprey

By Linda D. Kozaryn
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 13, 2000 - Defense Secretary William S.
Cohen will appoint a panel to look at the MV-22 Osprey
program in the wake of the second tilt-rotor aircraft crash
since early April.

Pentagon spokesman Ken Bacon announced Cohen's decision in
a press briefing here Dec. 12.

Four Marines died Dec. 11 when their Osprey crashed near
Jacksonville, N.C. Killed were Lt. Col. Keith M. Sweaney,
42, of Richmond, Va., Marine Helicopter Squadron 1, Marine
Corps Base Quantico, Va.; and Maj. Michael Murphy, 38, of
Blauvelt, N.Y., Staff Sgt. Avely W. Runnels, 25, of Morven,
Ga., and Sgt. Jason A. Buyck, 24, of Sodus, N.Y., all of
Marine Medium Tilt-rotor Training Squadron 204, Marine
Corps Air Station New River, N.C.

The crash was the fourth accident involving the tilt-rotor
aircraft since 1991. The Navy and Marine Corps have
grounded all MV-22 Osprey flights until further notice.
Military officials recovered the aircraft's "black box" in
good shape. An aviation mishap board will investigate.

The aircraft was about three minutes out from Marine Corps
Air Station New River when the crew sent a distress call,
according to Lt. Gen. Fred McCorkle, Marine Corps deputy
commandant for aviation. He said the Osprey went down about
five miles north of Jacksonville in a remote area
accessible only by four-wheel-drive vehicle.

"I don't think there's anything that we can say that would
... make this easier for the families," the general said,
"except to say that the Marine Corps is going to do
everything that it can do to find out what caused the
accident, to take care of these families and to take care
of our Marines."

In the earlier accident, all 19 Marines aboard an Osprey
died April 8 when their aircraft crashed at a small airport
near Tucson, Ariz. The accident investigation later blamed
the crash on windy conditions and a chain of human errors.
(Also see the related AFPS story at

The Osprey is the first operational aircraft to use tilt-
rotor technology. It flies like a plane; its two swiveling
wing-tip engines and rotors lift and land it like a

The Marines plan to acquire 360 Ospreys by 2013, with the
Navy and Air Force planning to purchase about 50 each. The
Marine version can transport 24 combat-equipped personnel
or a 15,000-pound external load.

McCorkle noted that the Marine Corps has recommended a
delay in the decision to proceed with production pending
further information.

"This program is very important to the Marine Corps, to me,
and, I think, to the nation," he said. "We're going to work
very hard to see what caused the accident."

Related Sites of Interest:
  • DoD Briefing, Dec. 12, 2000
  • Lt. Gen. McCorkle Briefing on the Recent MV-22 Osprey Crash,
    Dec. 12, 2000