House oversight committee to hold hearing on fatal Osprey crashes

(The Center Square) — A congressional subcommittee will take a look at several fatal crashes of the V-22 Osprey tiltrotor. 

The Subcommittee on National Security, the Border, and Foreign Affairs Chairman Glenn Grothman, R-Wis., will hold a hearing on Wednesday over a series of Osprey mishaps.

Since the V-22 became operational in 2007, 32 US service members have been killed. The most recent crash in November 2023 killed eight. The V-22 is a tiltrotor aircraft used to transport Marines and cargo that is both faster and longer-ranged than conventional helicopters. 

The November crash led the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps to ground hundreds of V-22s. Since then, the aircraft has become operational again in a limited capacity. 

“Current CMV-22 operations are limited to flights and missions that stay within 30 minutes of a suitable divert airfield,” according to a report from the subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces. 

“At this time, the material failure that occurred is known but the cause of the failure has not been determined,” Air Force Special Operations said in a statement. “Engineering testing and analysis is ongoing to understand the cause of the material failure.”

The November crash was linked to chipping from the Osprey’s proprotor gearbox, according to NBC. Previously, the V-22s have had problems with a “hard clutch engagement,” which can cause pilots to lose control of the aircraft.

 “The question that it raises to me is — is there a linkage between the chip detections and the problems with the clutch?” Tom Farrier said in a statement to NBC. Farrier is a retired Air Force pilot and expert in aviation safety. 

Since 1991, the Aviation Safety Network has logged a total of 58 accidents with the V-22. 

“The Committee is seeking assurances from the Department of Defense that it is conducting robust oversight of this program to ensure the safety of U.S. service members,” according to the Committee’s press release. The Committee has requested numerous documents and information from the Department, but has been met with “recalcitrance.” 

By Nolan Mckendry

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