While the immediate effect on the ongoing tests of the MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor is questionable, the U.S. Navy’s Office of Naval Research (ONR) has reportedly awarded Boeing a $10.25 million contract to look into the workability of a reconfigurable rotor-blade design as part of the overall reevaluation of the troubled convertiplane.
With little fanfare and a lot of crossed fingers, flight test of the embattled Bell Boeing MV-22 Osprey resumed in the final days of May at the U.S. Navy’s Patuxent River Naval Air Station in Maryland.
Like the old blues song goes, “It’s been a long time coming. But a change is gonna come.” That change–the possible revolution that is the promise of civil tiltrotor flight– took to the air on March 7 with the first flight of Bell/Agusta Aerospace’s BA609 tiltrotor prototype.
Taking its place on Bell Helicopter’s Arlington, Texas, tiltrotor test stands for the first time last month, the long-awaited first of a planned four Bell/ Agusta 609 convertiplane prototypes began its engine runups in December. First flight is loosely scheduled for the first quarter of this year. The six- to 10-passenger aircraft will undergo a planned 40 to 50 hr of static testing before flight.
By some accounts, riding as a passenger in the Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey military tiltrotor is memorable not for its comfort level but because of the aircraft’s pronounced vibrations.