V-22 Osprey

The bell Boeing V-22 Osprey is a fascinating aircraft that operates both as a helicopter and an airplane. It is a multi-mission tilt rotor military vehicle that has the combined capability of both VTOL and STOL. Using the tilt rotor, the aircraft can initiate vertical takeoffs as a helicopter and then change to an airplane in flight. In other words, the V-22  can combine the functionality of a conventional helicopter with the long-range, high-speed cruise performance of a turboprop airplane.

V-22 Osprey
 A U.S. Marine Corps MV-22 prepares to land aboard USS Nassau in 2008
As a work of the U.S. federal government, this image is in the public domain.

The Osprey has two pairs of three blade rotors, which rotate in opposite directions, subsequently producing a vertical lift off the ground. Since the rotors turn alternatively in opposite directions, a tail rotor, which is usually found on most helicopters, is used to provide stability. This conversion from helicopter to airplane can occur in as little as 12 seconds.

Its origins materialized from the United States Department of Defense Joint-service Vertical take-off/landing Experimental (JVX) aircraft program and in 1983, Bell Helicopter and Boeing Helicopters were awarded the contract to build the Osprey and the two share in the development and construction of this unique aircraft.

Its initial flight was in 1989, but there were many disappointments, as complications were found related to physically combining the two takeoff components into to one aircraft. As a result, the initial deployment of the Osprey was continuously delayed and many additional years of development was required.

Since entering into service with the U.S. Marine Corps and Air Force, the Osprey has been deployed in successful transportation and medevac operations over Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Kuwait and continues to be used against terrorist strongholds and other enemy targets.

The V-22 Osprey Video Documentary

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