Tiltrotor Busts Pentagon TFR

 - January 23, 2008, 9:10 AM

File this one under the heading “what were they thinking?” The U.S. Naval Air Systems Command (Navair) has confirmed that one of its test MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor transports (S/N 21) strayed from its approved IFR flight-test profile near Patuxent River Naval Air Station to make a decidedly VFR circular flight through the Washington, D.C. TFR, a flight evidently intended as a sightseeing circuit of the Pentagon. Both pilots, who have not been officially identified, were subsequently reprimanded for “extremely poor headwork” in the words of Navair spokesman Ward Carroll. While neither have been reported grounded, Navair has promised D.C. air security officials that such an incident will never happen again. Indeed, the December 17 incident might have gone unnoticed if not for the fact that the flight was personally witnessed by Vice Admiral John Nathman, head of Navy requirements, who was reportedly standing outside on the Pentagon steps having a quick cigarette break at the time.