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V-22 Starts High Rate of Descent Testing

NAVAIR News Release

Release Date: 11/26/2002

By Ward Carroll, V-22 Public Affairs Officer

The V-22 Osprey Integrated Test Team (ITT) commenced Phase I of the high rate of descent (HROD) test plan in earnest on November 25th, completing 13 test points over the course of two back-to-back sorties. The ITT is using Aircraft #8, one of four Ospreys in the current test inventory, exclusively for the HROD testing. Aircraft #8 has been specially instrumented and wired to provide crucial feedback to pilots and engineers during the series of flights designed to ultimately give fleet pilots the confidence to exploit the V-22's unique maneuvering capabilities.

"There were no big surprises," Steve Grohsmeyer, test co-pilot for the initial HROD events, said of the flights as he walked back to the hangar at the end of a long but productive day at NAS Patuxent River. "The airplane behaved very nicely."

"Overall, it was a good start," added Tom Macdonald, ITT Chief Test Pilot and test pilot for the flights. "The test team worked hard and allowed us to get a lot done today."

While the team has taken a methodical and safe approach toward the HROD plan, Grohsmeyer explained that the first flights were by no means "baby steps." "Already we're hitting rates of descent that are well beyond where we expect fleet pilots to go," he said. "We're going to give the average tiltrotor aviator plenty of space to do what he needs to do in any operational environment."

The HROD test plan is divided into two phases: Phase I will clear the "placarded" envelope - no greater than 800 feet-per-minute rate of descent combined with a forward speed of less than 40 knots - for the fleet's return to flight in the fall of 2003. Phase II is designed to be the more experimental portion of the plan that will fully explore the Osprey's flight envelope, including the tiltrotor's characteristics with regard to vortex ring state, an aerodynamic phenomenon that affects all rotorcraft. Although the test plan is driven by events and not time, Fred Madenwald, ITT Contract Flight Test Director, estimated Phase I would be complete by late February.

Ray King, Test Director for Aircraft #8, summed up the first day's accomplishments in the flight debrief: "Thanks to everyone's efforts we're well underway with the HROD test plan."

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