Marine Corps investigators continue to probe why an MV-22B Osprey caught on fire while trying to land in San Diego last month.
According to the Naval Safety Center, the tiltrotor aircraft’s engine erupted in flames on Oct. 14 while its crew was on a “short final” at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar.
That’s usually the final leg of a landing, when the aircraft is descending, at low altitude, and close to the runway.
It’s a feature of touch-and-go landings during aviation training. An aircraft flying a loop pattern lands without fully stopping, and then takes off again.
On Oct. 14, the pilots landed the Osprey and none of the three crew members were injured, but the Naval Safety Center indicated the aircraft “received significant burn damage.”
The Navy marked it as a Class A mishap, which means the blaze caused at least a $2.5 million loss.
Maj. Mason Englehart, the spokesperson for the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, told Coffee or Die Magazine the incident happened at approximately 4:30 p.m. local time in San Diego.
It happened during a routine training flight by the “Greyhawks” of Miramar-based Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 161, he added.
Built by Boeing, the Osprey is a unique aircraft because it combines the vertical performance of a hovering helicopter with the speed, altitude, and range of fixed-wing turboprop aircraft.
The Miramar fire was the first Marine Corps aviation Class A mishap for the federal fiscal year that began on Oct. 1.
Last year, the Marines suffered two very serious Class A accidents involving Ospreys.
On June 8, an MV-22B on a routine training flight from Arizona’s Marine Corps Air Station Yuma crashed, killing five crew members.
And on March 18 during another routine training flight near Bodo, Norway, an Osprey went down, killing four crew members.