Thursday, April 11, 2024

Navy CMV-22 Ospreys Resume Flight Operations After Three-Month Grounding and Investigation

A CMV-22 Osprey on Naval Air Station North Island. Photo credit U.S. Navy.

For the first time since the December 6, 2023 grounding of all V-22 Ospreys, the U.S. Navy returned its CMV-22 Osprey fleet to flight status March 8. Coronado is home to the Fleet Logistics Multi-Mission Wing (VRM) that oversees all Navy Osprey squadrons. Along with the VRM Wing, the SunHawks of VRM-50, and the Titans of VRM-30 are also based on Naval Air Station North Island. A fairly new aircraft in the Navy’s arsenal, the CMV-22 arrived to North Island in June of 2020 and has been gradually taking over the Carrier On-Board Delivery mission from the C-2 Greyhound.

The grounding of V-22s occurred in the wake of a U.S. Air Force V-22 mishap investigation that found material component failure led to the crash that resulted in the loss of eight Airmen on November 29, 2023. According to a NAVAIR press release, “The grounding provided time for a thorough review of the mishap and formulation of risk mitigation controls to assist with safely returning the V-22 to flight operations.”

A CMV-22B Osprey from the “Titans” of Fleet Logistics Multi-Mission Squadron (VRM) 30 lands aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71), Nov. 12, 2023. Theodore Roosevelt, the flagship of Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 9, is conducting integrated training exercises in the U.S. 3rd Fleet area of operations. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Craig Z. Rodarte)

During the three-month investigation and review, both maintenance and procedural changes were implemented to address the material failure. These changes provided leadership with the confidence to allow a safe return to flight operations.

“The U.S. Navy, after a thorough review of available engineering data and revisions to the flight manual in place, will now initiate our return to flight plan,” said Vice Adm. Dan Cheever, Commander, Naval Air Forces. “The safety of our pilots, aircrew and surrounding communities remains of paramount importance.”

Cheever explained the process to returning to full flight operations saying, “Safe operations of the CMV-22 is enabled by a crawl – walk – run incremental approach. First, Fleet Logistics Multi-Mission (VRM) Wing will oversee enhanced maintenance checks and tailored training events to renew aircrew currency and unit readiness. Next, VRM Squadrons will conduct functional check flights. The earliest flight events will be done by our most experienced pilots first — functional check pilots and instructor pilots. In the coming months, aircraft and schedule permitting, the most experienced pilots will bring co-pilots up to currency status. We will work to achieve day flight operations, then night flight operations, and then resume training of our Fleet Replacement Squadron pilots.”

A CMV-22 conducts an airborne functional check flight as they work their way back to full flight operations. Photo courtesy of U.S. Naval Air Forces media team.

It has been a challenging time for the VRM community during the grounding of the Osprey. Cheever closed his remarks by saying “The Sailors assigned to the VRM squadrons have demonstrated exceptional knowledge, skill and professionalism – and a great deal of patience – to ensure they are ready to execute the Return to Flight plan immediately.”

Despite the grounding of the Osprey fleet, the carrier strike groups on deployment and in the training cycle were still able to accomplish their tasking by using other assets. Commander Beth Teach, Public Affairs Officer for Naval Air Forces said, “The carrier strike group operates with multiple logistical redundancies, including pier-side on-load, underway replenishment, and rotary-wing support for movement of personnel and cargo.”

CMV-22B Osprey arriving
The first CMV-22B Osprey to be stationed at Naval Air Station North Island arrived June 22.

According to the VRM-30 website, “Based at NAS North Island, the ‘Titans’ of VRM-30 were established to begin the Navy’s transition from the C-2A Greyhound, which has provided logistics support to aircraft carriers for four decades, to the CMV-22B. The CMV-22B is the Navy version of the V-22 Osprey, a multi-engine, dual-piloted, self-deployable, medium lift, vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) tilt-rotor aircraft, which has an increased operational range, faster cargo loading/unloading, increased survivability and enhanced beyond-line-of-sight communications compared to the C-2A.”

 



Jeannie Groeneveld
Jeannie Groeneveld
Jeannie is a retired Naval Aviator and Public Affairs Officer whose post-Navy career includes freelance writing, PR Consulting and a two year stint as the San Diego Padres Military Affairs Advisor. Having been stationed in various parts of the country including Washington D.C., Florida and Hawaii, Jeannie appreciates how amazing the Coronado community is and loves the experience her children have had growing up here. Jeannie earned her BS in Marine Biology from Auburn University, her MS in Global Leadership from the University of San Diego and her MA in Communication and Media Relations at San Diego State University. A life-long learner and avid traveler Jeannie enjoys writing travel pieces, Navy stories and anything else that will broaden her perspective. When she is not working you will find her watching her boys play sports, walking Odin at dog beach, hiking, playing beach volleyball or spending time with the family.Have news to share? Send tips, story ideas or letters to the editor to: [email protected]

More Local News