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NEWS | April 5, 2024

MV-22s Return to Flight Status

By Cpl. Tyler Andrews, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit

The 1st Marine Aircraft Wing returned its MV-22s to flight status on March 14, as the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) deemed the aircraft safe to fly based on a meticulous and data-driven approach that prioritized flight worthiness and safety.

“The Marine Corps has confidence in the Osprey, and we are laser-focused on the safety and mission readiness of our pilots and aircrew,” said U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Bradford J. Gering, Deputy Commandant for Marine Corps Aviation. “Our people have been and will always be our top priority. The Air Force CV-22 mishap is a tragedy, and we honor the legacy of those eight fallen service members by diligently and deliberately applying what we have learned from that day as we return to flight operations. We have worked extensively on plans and timelines that support a deliberate, methodical, and safe return to flight. We are flying the Osprey again because our airworthiness authority cleared it for flight, because we trust our well-established operational risk management procedures, and most of all because we trust our professional pilots, aircrew and maintainers to safely get this combat-proven aircraft back into the fight.”

Since the grounding on Dec. 6, 2023, the Marine Corps focused highly on the MV-22 Aircrew. The aircrew remained informed by the facts regarding the grounding bulletin, mitigated the impacts of not flying, maintained confidence in the aircraft, and were prepared to employ on a moment’s notice around the globe.

“During the four-month grounding period, aircrew development persisted through simulator training and academic endeavors. Simulator sessions provided opportunities to hone skills in challenging scenarios such as high-altitude landings and emergency procedures, mitigating risks through simulated in-flight practice,” said U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Col. Jason Laird, commanding officer of Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 265, Marine Aircraft Group 36, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing. “Complex tactical simulations facilitated leadership skill development and enhanced readiness for combat missions. Academic training, including individual study and peer-led classes, complemented simulator experiences, fostering maximum knowledge retention. Despite the grounding's temporary disruption to in-air currency, the unit continually refined aircrew capabilities.”

The Marine Corps has confidence in the analysis conducted by NAVAIR as the Airworthiness Certification Authority for the V-22 program and the engineering analysis driving the return to flight decision.

“To effectively balance crisis response and modernization, we must articulate the importance of Operations and Maintenance funding of ground and aviation training, maintenance, safety, and readiness…” stated Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Eric M. Smith in Fragment Order 01-2024, “Maintain Momentum”.