Marines go to places where it's dusty and difficult to fly, but now an aircraft that can operate in adversity sits in their backyard.
The Miramar Marine Corps Air Station welcomed the first of its V-22 Osprey aircraft on Friday. The Osprey has endured major setbacks since first flying in 1989. In-flight test failures have led to the deaths of 27 Marines over the years, including 14 from Camp Pendleton and four from Miramar. Experts have said safety concerns of the past have been worked out.
It took nearly $30 billion to develop the Osprey and the cost of a single aircraft has gone from $37.7 million when the program was launched nearly 20 years ago to $93.4 million, according to a recent Government Accountability Office report.
They are replacing the 1960s-era CH-46 medium-lift helicopters that currently fly in the skies over MCAS Miramar. Marines who fly helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft said the osprey is well beyond both of those, because it flies like a helicopter and an airplane.
"It's like driving a Ford Tempo or a Ferrari, it's all glass cockpit, it's got tons of power," Richard McGahhey, the Director of Safety for VMM 16 said, "It will do pretty much anything you ask it to and it puts you back in your seat when you push on the power."