Osprey Deaths

30 deaths, 3 accidents 1992-2000

7:30 p.m December 11, 2000

JACKSONVILLE, North Carolina (CNN)-- Four Marines were killed Monday night in the crash of a V-22 Osprey tilt rotor aircraft that went down in a heavily wooded area near the Camp Lejeune Marine base in southeastern North Carolina, the Marine Corps told CNN. The aircraft belongs to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Training Squadron 204, based at Marine Corps Air Station New River, North Carolina.

Dead are: Lt. Col. Keith M. Sweaney, 42, from Richmond, Va., of Marine Helicopter Squadron 1 (HMX-1), based at Quantico, Va.; Maj. Michael L. Murphy, 38, from Blauvelt, N.Y., of Marine Medium Tiltrotor Training Squadron 204 (VMMT-204), based at New River; Staff Sgt. Avely W. Runnels, 25, from Morven, Ga., VMMT-204; Sgt. Jason A. Buyck, 24, from Sodus, N.Y., VMMT-204.

The aircraft belongs to VMMT-204, based at Marine Corps Air Station New River

Corps cites software failure in Osprey crash - By Bill Murray, April 09, 2001
Software direct cause of December 2000 Osprey crash - Peter B. Ladkin
Marines: Hydraulics problem, software glitch led to fatal Osprey crash - By Sandra Jontz, Washington bureau


8 p.m. on April 8, 2000

HEADQUARTERS MARINE CORPS, WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 9) -- Marine Corps officials are expressing condolences to the families of 19 Marines killed approximately 8 p.m. on April 8 when an MV-22 Osprey crashed near Marana, Ariz. - [Marine Corps News 04/09/2000]

The names, ranks, assignments, units and hometowns for those killed, as released by the Marine Corps: [Source: cbsnews]


From Camp Pendleton, Calif., all from the 3rd Batallion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division:

Sgt. Jose Alvarez, 28, machine gunner, Uvalde, Texas
Pfc. Gabriel C. Clevenger, 21, machine gunner, Picher, Okla.
Pfc. Alfred Corona, 23, machine gunner, San Antonio.
Lance Cpl. Jason T. Duke, 28, machine gunner, Sacramento, Calif.
Lance Cpl. Jesus Gonzalez Sanchez, 27, assaultman, San Diego.
Lance Cpl. Seth G. Jones, 18, assaultman, Bend, Ore.
2nd Lt. Clayton J. Kennedy, 24, platoon commander, Clifton Bosque, Texas
Lance Cpl. Jorge A. Morin, 21, assaultman, McAllen, Texas
Cpl. Adam C. Neely, 22, rifleman, Winthrop, Wash.
Pfc. Kenneth O. Paddio, 23, rifleman, Houston.
Pfc. George P. Santos, 24, rifleman, Long Beach, Calif.
Pfc. Keoki P. Santos, 24, rifleman, Grand Ronde, Ore.
Cpl. Can Soler, 21, rifleman, Palm City, Fla.
Pvt. Adam L. Tatro, 19, rifleman, Brownwood, Texas

From Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif.:

Cpl. Eric J. Martinez, 21, a field radio operator, Marine Wing Communications Squadron 38, Marine Air Control Group 38, Williams, Ariz.


Maj. John A. Brow, 39, pilot, Marine Helicopter Squadron 1, California, Md.
Maj. Brooks S. Gruber, 34, pilot, Marine Helicopter Squadron 1, Jacksonville, N.C.
Cpl. Kelly S. Keith, 22, aircraft crew chief, Marine Helicopter Squadron 1, Florence, S.C.
Staff Sgt. William B. Nelson, 30, aerial observer/mechanic, Marine Tilt-Rotor Training Squadron 204, Richmond, Va.

The four Ospreys, including the one that crashed, were based in Yuma and another is based at the Marine Corps Air Station, New River, N.C. Both the Osprey's co-pilots had extensive flying experience. Maj. John A. Brow had logged 97 hours in the Osprey, Gruber had 86 hours. Brow had 3,777 total flight hours in various aircraft; Gruber had 2,117 hours.

" facts" relating to the case from Plane Crash Attorney Network:

o Osprey program threatened. Tremendous pressure has been exerted by various interested parties, including members of the military and Bell/Boeing to divert attention away from the aircraft's flaws because of the risk of losing this $40 billion dollar program.

o Military personnel caught lying about the safety of the Osprey's safety. Shortly after the second crash in North Carolina, on January 18, 2001, the Commandant of the Marine Corps, General James Jones, revealed that the Osprey's test unit commander had been relieved of duty and that an investigation was underway to address claims that the commander ordered his maintenance personnel to lie about the aircraft's safety.

o Botched investigation at Marana crash site. Additional evidence indicates that the official investigation of the Marana disaster attempted to hide the plane's flaws by pinning blame on the pilots. Our attorneys' assessment of the evidence is that Bell/Boeing failed to advise the Marines of the risk of a sudden and unrecoverable loss of control under routine flight conditions.

o Potential danger from flawed design kept from Marine Corps and its pilots by Bell/Boeing. When an aircraft takes off, it can experience an asymmetrical lift condition that stabilizes and flips the aircraft upside down. Known as power settling, if this happens near the ground, a catastrophic and fatal crash is certain to occur. After 20 years of testing its aircraft, Bell/Boeing neglects to inform of this design flaw. No where, including the pilot's flight manual, is this risk mentioned or any emergency procedures provided.

o Testing finds Osprey design unsafe. Testing conducted after the April crash shows that the danger of a sudden loss of control exists in the very situation the Marine Corps planned to use the Osprey. These tests conclude that the Osprey's current design is unsafe for its mission

20 July 1992

The 20 July 1992 crash of prototype #4 forced an 11-month suspension of operations, the next flight coming on 17 June 1993. An experimental V-22 tiltrotor Osprey plunges into the Potomac River while trying to land at the Marine Air Station at Quantico, Va., killing three Marines and four civilians. The Pentagon finds a combination of a flash fire, engine failure and a failed drive shaft are to blame. [Associated Press 4/9/00]

Dead include Brian Joseph James, Marine Corps Master Gunnery Sgt. Gary Leader, Gunnery Sgt. Sean P Joyce, Boeing Tech. Robert Rayburn, Boeing Tech. Anthony Stecyk, Boeing Tech. Gerald Mayan, & Boeing Tech. Patrick Sullivan - Respectfully,
The Crew at Check-Six - www.Check-Six.com

11 June 1991

The first of the Osprey crashes occurred on 11 June 1991 at an airport in Delaware. It was only three minutes into the maiden flight and fifteen feet off the ground when it experienced problems with the gyros and crashed into the ground. Luckily nobody died.

Pilots Lt. Col. Keith Sweaney, Lt. Col. Jim Shaffer, Maj. Mike Westman, Maj. Mike Murphy, and Maj. Jim Schafer were the first V-22 operational test pilots to log in flight time in the new production aircraft.

The original recommendation to cancel the Osprey program was in 1986.

Two 6150 shaft horsepower turboshaft engines each drive a 38 ft diameter, 3-bladed proprotor. Prime Contractor(s): Boeing Defense and Space Group, Philadelphia, PA Bell Helicopter Textron, Ft Worth, TX Allison Engine Company, Indianapolis, IN

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