Osprey’s rotor wash injures 10 in NYC park

This morning a V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft being demonstrated by the U. S. Marine Corp at a Staten Island park near New York City injured 10 spectators when the rotor wash sent debris flying. In the video below (link) you can see that the Osprey was flying slowly and at very low altitude over some trees when some large tree branches were broken off and smaller ones became projectiles along with other debris and dirt from an athletic field. Ten spectators were injured, and seven were transported to hospitals.

HERE is a link to another video of the incident.

On January 3, we wrote about this vertical take-off and landing aircraft replacing some of the Vietnam era CH-46E Sea Knight and CH-53 Super Stallion helicopters used by the Marine Corps, which are occasionally used for dropping water on wildfires. But the Osprey has never dropped a gallon of water on a fire, most likely due to the tremendous rotor wash generated by the huge propellers or rotors, and the very high-temperature exhaust that is directed down to the ground when the rotors are tilted in order to create lift. The exhaust has started wildfires, which would be at odds with a fire suppression mission objective.

Osprey. USAF photo
V-22 Osprey. USAF file photo.

The Osprey has a checkered past, having been involved in numerous crashes and incidents including one in 1992 when an onboard fire caused the aircraft to drop into the Potomac River in front of an audience of Congresspersons and other government officials at Quantico, Virginia, killing all seven crewmen and grounding the aircraft for 11 months. The most recent crash was on April 9, 2010 in Afghanistan, killing four. It was reported that the pilot flew too low in a brownout caused by the rotor wash, and struck a hill.

Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire. Google+

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