Here is some news that is going to cheer up the good folks assembling a state-of-the-art airship next door to Amarillo’s international airport.
A law student and former Marine who’s studied the bird says the V-22 Osprey is good ship.
It’s shown some weakness, some vulnerability and certainly been through some controversy, but it is superior to the aircraft it was designed to “displace,” the CH-46 twin-rotor helicopter.
It flies much faster and delivers troops and supplies in far less time.
The V-22 has had a rocky ride to be sure. You’ll recall the ship that crashed in Arizona, killing 19 Marines on board. Development and assembly was stopped in Amarillo. Critics began yammering about how dangerous the bird could be to fly.
The Marine Corps and Bell/Textron engineers fixed what was wrong and the aircraft has performed well on the battlefields in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Every leading-edge aircraft has gone through difficulty. The V-22 is really no different in that regard. Its bugs have been troublesome and, yes, have produced some tragic consequences. I ask, though, isn’t that the norm when introducing aircraft with technology never before used?
It takes off like a helicopter, tilts its rotors forward and flies like an airplane. It’s a difficult ship to learn to fly, but as a Marine Corps test pilot told me once years ago, once you learn how to fly the Osprey “it’s a joy to operate.”
I’ll take him at his word.
The Osprey isn’t perfect, as the essay attached to this blog notes. It still costs a lot of money to manufacture and its capabilities have limits.
But it plays a key role in our nation’s defense and our neighbors at the assembly plant in Amarillo deserve high praise for the role they play in that effort.