Ospreys Can Fly Again, but Some Details Aren't Disclosed

Military hasn't identified which part failed in latest crash
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 8, 2024 1:30 PM CST
After Fatal Japan Crash, Ospreys Get OK to Fly Again
The military has greenlighted its Osprey to return to flight, three months after a part failure led to the deaths of eight service members in a crash in Japan in November.   (AP Photo/Hiro Komae, File)

Three months after the US military grounded its entire fleet of V-22 Ospreys, the aircraft has gotten the greenlight to fly again. The Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps grounded hundreds of aircraft after a deadly Nov. 29 crash off southwestern Japan; a preliminary investigation determined that a problem with the aircraft, not a human error, caused the crash. NBC News indicates the Naval Air Systems Command backs up that finding, with officials saying a material failure likely caused the crash, the fourth fatal one to occur in less than two years.

But officials are keeping a lid on what they know—and acknowledging what they don't: While they have identified the part that failed, they did not reveal it. NBC News notes officials earlier this week said they aren't sure why the part failed, but that it was the first time it was known to have done so.

Defense News spoke with Marine Corps Col. Brian Taylor, the V-22 joint program manager, and sheds some light: "Because the wreckage of the Osprey sat under the Pacific Ocean for about a month before being recovered, the drive system is corroded such that engineers may never understand why the unnamed component failed. But investigators created a 'fault tree' to map out potential causes, which are addressed in the services' mitigation plan."

story continues below

While Ospreys will return to flight, there will be some unspecified operational limitations put in place. They'll return to the sky in a phased manner, with maintenance checks happening more often than usual and "refresher training" for pilot instructors during the next month. The full fleet won't be in the sky until late spring or early summer, per the Marine Corps. (More Osprey stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.