A look at the hybrid aircraft involved in fatal Hawaii crash

May 18, 2015, 2:12 PM
In this April 22, 2015 photo, a Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey comes in for a landing at Miami Internati...
In this April 22, 2015 photo, a Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey comes in for a landing at Miami International Airport before a presidential visit, in Miami. A fatal crash of a U.S. Marine Corps aircraft in Hawaii has renewed safety concerns in Japan, where more of the Ospreys will be deployed. A tilt-rotor MV-22 Osprey caught fire after a hard landing on Sunday, May 17, 2015, killing one Marine and injuring 21 others at Bellows Air Force Station on Hawaii's main island of Oahu. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
(AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

HONOLULU (AP) — An investigation is underway after a U.S. military Osprey aircraft crashed during a weekend training exercise in Hawaii, killing a Marine and injuring 21 others.

Here are some things to know about the Osprey:

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HELICOPTER OR PLANE?

It’s actually both. The Osprey is a tilt-rotor aircraft, which means its propellers can be adjusted to fly either vertically or horizontally. That allows it to take off and land vertically like a helicopter, but it also flies like a fixed wing airplane.

It can reach up to 277 mph and 25,000 feet, making it ideal for long-range missions.

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VARIED MISSIONS

Ospreys are used by the Marines and Air Force, and have been deployed to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Air Force’s website says the aircraft’s primary mission is “special operations forces long-range infiltration, exfiltration and resupply.”

Some Ospreys are involved in humanitarian work, such as assisting earthquake relief efforts in Nepal. The aircraft also have been used to deliver supplies to those fighting Ebola in Liberia, and aid to typhoon victims in the Philippines.

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SAFETY RECORD

The Osprey program was nearly scrapped after a history of mechanical failures and deadly crashes. Boeing Co. and Bell, a unit of Textron Inc., build the aircraft.

There were two crashes of its early version, in 1991 and 1992. Seven people died in the second wreck.

In 2000, two test crashes killed 23 marines. In 2010, three service members and a civilian contractor were killed in a wreck of the Air Force version of the aircraft.

The military maintains Ospreys are safe, and the Hawaii training exercises were not cancelled after the crash.

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JAPAN’S CONCERNS

Sunday’s wreck has renewed concerns about the Osprey in Japan, where more of the aircraft are to be deployed. Okinawa’s governor called for all flights to be suspended there until the Hawaii crash is investigated.

The U.S. military already has 24 Ospreys on Okinawa, and last week said 10 more would be stationed at Yokota Air Base near Tokyo, starting in 2017.

In addition, Japan’s Defense Ministry plans to buy 17 Ospreys from the U.S. government.

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Associated Press writers Mari Yamaguchhi in Tokyo and Mark Thiessen in Anchorage, Alaska, contributed to this report.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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(Dave Ellis/The Free Lance-Star via AP)...
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A look at the hybrid aircraft involved in fatal Hawaii crash