Feeds

V-22 Osprey downblast scatters spectators like skittles

72-year-old, baby bowled over by descending tiltrotor

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Spectators were blown "thirty feet" along the ground and battered by flying debris including branches ripped from trees by downwash from a V-22 Osprey tiltrotor landing in a park at the weekend.

The MV-22B aircraft, operated by the US Marines, was landing in Clove Lakes Park, Staten Island as part of Memorial Day festivities. The New York Post reports that ten onlookers were hurt by the tiltrotor's downwash, fortunately none seriously.

"I felt something hit me in the back and knock me down, and it just blew me along the ground," airforce veteran John Wilson, 72, told the paper.

"I looked back, and it looked like I'd been dragged about 30 feet. It's a memorable Memorial Day," he added.

"It was pretty scary. I was trying to hold on to the stroller, and I got dragged," local mother Jenny Gasser told the Post. Ms Gasser reportedly required several stitches for an injured knee, and her one-year-old, Katie, sustained a "nasty scrape" to the foot.

In all seven bystanders were taken to the local Richmond University Medical Center to have "cuts and bruises" attended to.

"People were getting physically thrown," commented Sal D'Alessio, 35, who required 7 stitches for his injuries.

Before the V-22 landed, conventional helicopters had set down without incident. However the Osprey is known to have higher "disc loading" than a normal chopper when operating in vertical-lift mode; that is it generates more thrust per square metre of rotor disc, and so it naturally blows air with greater force. Also, the V-22's engine exhausts - according to US government sources powerful enough to buckle a warship's steel flight-deck - point downwards for landing, unlike those of normal copters.

Another factor in the incident may have been that the Osprey's approach was restricted by the need to avoid the already-landed choppers, causing its pilot to set down nearer to the spectators and pass closer above them than he otherwise would have.

The V-22 is famous in America and in aviation circles, as much for its troubled, long-drawn-out and hugely costly development saga as for its radical design. Nonetheless it is highly valued by the US Marines for its combination of helicopter-style vertical landing and takeoff with superior height, range and speed while operating in aeroplane mode. The machine has seen frontline service in both Iraq and Afghanistan, reportedly without difficulties.

Captain Michael Henson, piloting the Osprey, told the Post he had noticed a blanket flying through the air as he descended toward the park - apparently close enough that he was able to identify it as a Tennessee Titans one, suggesting that the V-22 may have been in some danger of engine failure due to foreign-object ingestion into its intakes.

Marine Lieutenant Lauren Schulz, aboard the Osprey during the park setdown unpleasantness, added: "We noticed nothing out of the ordinary. It was probably one of the best landings I've been on." ®

Bootnote

Hat tip to the DEW Line blog for flagging the incident up.

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
Asteroid's DINO KILLING SPREE just bad luck – boffins
Sauricide WASN'T inevitable, reckon scientists
Brit amateur payload set to complete full circle around PLANET EARTH
Ultralight solar radio tracker in glorious 25,000km almost-space odyssey
Boffins spot weirder quantum capers as neutrons take the high road, spin takes the low
Cheshire cat effect see neutrons and their properties walk different paths
NASA Mars rover FINALLY equals 1973 Soviet benchmark
Yet to surpass ancient Greek one, however
Famous 'Dish' radio telescope to be emptied in budget crisis: CSIRO
Radio astronomy suffering to protect Square Kilometre Array
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.