Osprey Updates: Mulling the 2009 CV-22 Class A mishap…

by Craig Hooper on April 21, 2010

In the light of the recent Afghanistan CV-22 crash,  Insidedefense.com reports this interesting CV-22 nugget:

“The U.S. Air Force is investigating a CV-22 mishap that occurred at Kirtland AFB, NM, March 2, 2009,” said spokeswoman Col. Robyn Chumley. “At that time a CV-22 assigned to the 58th Special Operations Wing suffered a single engine failure shortly after takeoff which resulted in declaring an in flight emergency. The crew coordinated an emergency landing and landed at Kirtland AFB, NM, without further damage to the

aircraft. There were no injuries or property damage associated with the mishap.”

An Accident Investigation Board was not convened until late October 2009 after offic

ials learned the extent of damage to the engine…”

Interesting.  Just speculating, but maybe that incident helped push the Air Force to modify the CV-22s emergency fuel jettison system? (that was reported back in May/June 09)

Also interesting that the news of the CV-22’s failure wasn’t reported until well after the spectacular June 2009 hearing on the fate of the Osprey…It makes me sad to see the Air Force–which I think has been doing a wonderful job rolling out the CV-22 (and saving the MV-22’s PR bacon at the same time)–has indulged in the same selective data release that has compromised the entire Marine Corps aviation community.

I really don’t like to see policymaker options get limited by selective release of important data.  It’s a particularly toxic form of soft civic corruption.



USNVO May 3, 2010 at 3:49 am

“Class As are now $2 million in damage. This is the cost of an engine, so if the entire engine was destroyed, they would not have sent it for overhaul.”

That is, unless you thought it could be fixed so you sent it for overhaul but on further examination, when the engine was torn down, it was found to be a total write-off. So an initial estimate of say a $1 million quickly becomes §2 mil plus. Now you start the Class A process several months late. I still fail to see the huge conspiracy.

Carlton April 29, 2010 at 2:42 pm

They don’t have flight data recorders. I suggest they glue an ipod on the ceiling and record flights. Anyway, the co-pilot survived, so he should know. But sometimes mishap pilots have foggy memories since the truth might harm their career.

All that has been reported is that it ended up on its back. http://www.woi-tv.com/Global/story.asp?S=12374077

That not just a “hard landing” caused by poor vis.

Craig Hooper April 27, 2010 at 11:28 pm

I’d have to wonder if they saved any flight record materiel or internal flight data recorders before the aircraft was, ah, disposed.

But then again, I’d humbly suggest that education demands for aircraft mishap investigation protocol rates somewhere waaaay beneath “finding the latrine” and “where’s my unit’s grub” for front-line commanders. I’d cut ’em some slack there.

Carlton April 27, 2010 at 6:54 pm

I guess we would know if the report wasn’t pending forever.


Class As are now $2 million in damage. This is the cost of an engine, so if the entire engine was destroyed, they would not have sent it for overhaul.

There was no property damage? That indicates that while it landed at Kirkland AFB, it didn’t land at the airfield.

G2mil posted an update just days before the Afghan crash.

Four dead, and 16 injured, which is odd since the CV-22 has only 14 passenger seats. Were some on the ground? It ended up on its back, which indicates a VRS roll over. The program already destroyed the aircraft and used their covert PR firms (Aviation Week and Flightglobal) to inform everyone it was a common brownout problem. But what about the V-22’s laser autoland feature that it allows it to land with zero visibility?

Mishap data was on the open Internet so pilots and ground crews could instantly see causes and take preventive measures. After G2mil cited the V-22s numerous mishaps a few years back, data access was restricted. However, Mr. NextNavy could request access. http://www.safetycenter.navy.mil/aviation/aviationdata/hazrepdata.htm
There is nothing secret about mishaps, unless one is a “conspiracy theorist” who thinks that leaders sometimes conspire to hide bad things.

Craig Hooper April 23, 2010 at 10:38 am

You may be right. I thought I had put in enough caveats about the fuel dump modification. Now, remember, the fuel dump had the potential to screw up the electronics during an in flight emergency. That kind of project can get shunted to the back of the priority bus, but a high-profile and costly accident…it pushes that project a few notches higher on the priority list. At a minimum somebody got to talking about the fix post-mishap or it wouldn’t have made it into the press. I would suggest that the mishap focused the minds on the matter.

I know that mishaps have odd ways of valuing engines (And I’ve seen some odd accounting to make type A’s into B’s). It shouldn’t take a ton of time–months–to figure out whether an 2 million-dollar engine is a total loss or not. Now…the program uses the Type A mishap rate to look good versus legacy rotor programs. There’s a lot tied up in keeping that rate low. Just look at how the rate is used in, say, environmental impact statements. It keeps the natives from getting restless.

Announcing it just as the loss boundaries for a type A goes up to two million (which I agree with btw–a million is pretty low nowadays) seems like somebody was hoping the beancounters would let it retroactively slide to a Class B…

Would love to know how many Osprey in-flight emergencies end without hitting us taxpayers in the wallet.

USNVO April 23, 2010 at 2:08 am

I think your V-22 Conspirecy theories are a little over the top on this one.
1. Only thing damaged was the engine, the fact that they initally under-estimated the damage and repair cost is not abnormal. Remember, the reason it was a Class A mishap was the cost to repair the engine, no injuries, no property damage, no airframe damage. If, as they were overhauling the engine, they found more extensive damage than initially estimated, the cost would go up. I am not an expert on the V-22 logistics pipeline, but six months to get the engine to the contractor and the overhaul to be started sounds about right to me. Not seeing the conspirecy here.
2. In the world of Aviation, do you really think an engine failure in March could lead to a planned and activated fix less than 3 months later? Change to NATOPS sure, but hardware? Developed, fabricated, and tested in under three months? Besides, there have been several engine failures and emergency landings previously that would have led them to the same conclusion, even if they were not class A mishaps.
Connecting the dots is fine, but in this case I think you are connecting them in the wrong order.

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