One of the U.S. Air Force’s more unique aircraft landed at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force Dec. 12.
The CV-22 Osprey, a tiltrotor aircraft that combines the vertical takeoff, hover and vertical landing qualities of a helicopter with the long range, fuel efficiency and speed characteristics of a turboprop aircraft, was designed for use by special operations forces. Equipped with integrated threat countermeasures, terrain-following radar, forward-looking infrared sensor (FLIR) and other advanced avionics systems, the CV-22 can operate at low-altitude, in bad weather and high-threat environments.
“This new addition to our collection will give us the opportunity to tell two stories,” said Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Jack Hudson, museum director. “One is the use of the CV-22 by Air Force Special Operations Command aircrews. This airframe is also the culmination of decades of research and development, tying in with an early attempt at a tiltrotor aircraft – the Bell Helicopter Textron XV-3 displayed in our Research & Development Gallery.”
This aircraft (serial number 99-0021) is the Air Force’s oldest CV-22. It was originally built as a preproduction aircraft for the U.S. Navy. In 2005, it was modified into a CV-22B and designated an Additional Test Asset (ATA). At Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., it flew more than 200 developmental test missions. Transferred to the U.S. Air Force in 2007, it was assigned to the 413th Flight Test Squadron at Hurlburt Field, Fla., where it completed over 400 additional test missions.
“From the operator standpoint, it hurts to retire a test asset in such good shape and one that has served so well for so long,” said Maj. Wayne Dirkes, a CV-22 test pilot from the 413th Flight Test Squadron, who piloted the aircraft during its final flight. “However, we are incredibly proud that it will be in the museum, where it can begin a new public education mission. I can’t wait to bring my kids and tell them all about it.”
The CV-22 will remain in storage pending the completion of the museum’s fourth building. Once aircraft have been moved into the fourth building, plans call for the CV-22 to be placed on display in the Cold War Gallery. In the meantime, visitors participating in the weekly Behind the Scenes Tours will see the CV-22 during their tour of the museum’s restoration area.
More information about the CV-22 is available at www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=21229.
The National Museum of the United States Air Force is located on Springfield Street, six miles northeast of downtown Dayton. It is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day). Admission and parking are free. For more information about the museum, visit www.nationalmuseum.af.mil.