Bell Helicopter has unveiled what may become what everyone hoped the V-22 Osprey would be, a tiltrotor able to operate at high altitudes for long ranges and with easily managed downwash.
The new aircraft, to be known as the V-280 Valor, is the company’s offering for the Army’s Future Vertical Lift technology demonstration program. FVL is a science and technology program to develop four classes of advanced aircraft – light, medium, heavy and ultra — that can take off and land vertically. The first of the four to be built would be a medium-lift aircraft known as the Joint Multirole, a vehicle that could be adapted for various missions. The Valor is aimed at the Joint Multirole offering. Keep reading →
WASHINGTON [Corrected at 6 pm Friday]: The latest crash of a V-22 tiltrotor may be a black mark on the aircraft’s safety record, but it won’t bring down the program. Despite literally decades of criticism — which is now certain to flare up again — there’s simply too much budgetary momentum, political support, and, yes, operational value to the V-22.
Yesterday evening, a CV-22 — the Air Force Special Operations version of the Osprey — crashed in Florida. (The 1st Special Operations Wing aircraft was based out of Hurlburt Field, part of Eglin Air Force Base in Florida). The five people aboard were injured and taken to local hospitals, but the Air Force announced this afternoon that none of their injuries was life-threatening; four crewmen were listed as stable and one in “guarded” condition. [Updated Friday 3:45 pm: Two of the crewmen were released from hospital Friday; three remain hospitalized]. The wing commander, Col. James Slife, said in a press conference there was no general safety issue apparent that would require grounding the CV-22 fleet. Keep reading →