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CV-22 cleared for combat, and promptly grounded

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posted on Mar, 26 2009 @ 02:24 PM
The USAF CV-22 successfully passed IOC, clearing the way for them to enter combat, March 19th. Two days later all V-22s were grounded. A USMC V-22 in Iraq heard an odd noise on landing, and maintenance crews found loose or missing bolts on the swashplate in one of the two engines. The USMC immediately ordered all 73 MV-22s and 11 CV-22s for inspections. Three more MV-22s were found with loose bolts that were still attached, and now the Navy has found one of their US based MV-22s with the same problem.

The problem was found on landing, so investigators are looking at what happens to the swashplate after stress is taken off it once the plane is on the ground. The swashplate controls the pitch of the rotor blades, and if the plate comes loose in flight, it could cause loss of the aircraft.

It initially was thought that the high tempo of operations was the cause, but the fifth aircraft was found at New River, North Carolina. All five aircraft are some of the highest time airframes in the inventory.

US Naval Air Systems Command confirms today that a fifth MV-22 -- and the first US-based aircraft – is afflicted with the same “loose bolts” problem that caused the fleet to be grounded earlier this week

This discovery means all “high-time” V-22 airframes may have a safety-critical design problem, and is not isolated to the four Iraq-based MV-22s previously found with the problem.

The bolts are used to attach a swashplate that controls the pitch of the propeller blade. If the swashplate comes loose during flight, the aircraft could crash.

“You would essentially lose control of the aircraft,” Col Matt Mulhern, V-22 programme manager, told


A precautionary order that temporarily grounded all 84 BellBoeing V-22 Ospreys currently in service marred a celebration for the US Air Force CV-22 programme’s latest milestone event.

The CV-22 fleet passed the initial operational capability (IOC) milestone on 19 March. The IOC event officially ushers the new aircraft type into combat service, although the USAF has already deployed CV-22s.

Two days later, however, a US Marine Corps MV-22 crew in Iraq heard unusual noises after landing, and discovered four bolts had shaken loose inside one of the engine nacelles, said a spokesman for the US Naval Air Systems Command.

The missing bolts are supposed to hold in place a fixed swashplate that transmits flight control inputs governing the V-22’s blade pitch during helicopter mode, according to NAVAIR.


[edit on 3/26/2009 by Zaphod58]

posted on Mar, 26 2009 @ 03:12 PM
My opinion, not that it matters, but screw the cv-22, what are you man? A heli or a plane?

posted on Mar, 27 2009 @ 01:20 AM
reply to post by Zaphod58

Damn! After decades waiting, loads of concept art, and a segment on FutureWeapons, the Osprey was about to reah the finish line. Then she trips a few feet from victory / combat status. I was hoping to see how she performed in combat, especially after the criticism about it's armor protection.

I was fortunate enough to see one flying near Las Vegas during my recent trip there. What aoment for me. I carried a huge smile the rest of the day.

posted on Mar, 27 2009 @ 01:32 AM
reply to post by guppy

The Marines have loved them in Iraq, until now. It APPEARS that it's only the oldest birds flying. Those five are the only ones found to date, and most of them have already completed inspections.

posted on Mar, 27 2009 @ 09:13 AM
Supposedly its a 2 day fix/inspection from what I heard. Personally i have no problem with them grounding the plane if it means its going to be safer in the long run. There are tight tolerances with hi tech planes of today and finding this issue before a plane was lost shows the amazing job that the maitenace crews are doing on the airframes.

posted on Mar, 30 2009 @ 09:51 PM
reply to post by Canada_EH

I agree completely that it's better to ground them and fix them than risk losing one. The irony of them clearing IOC and then getting grounded immediately is kind of amusing though.

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