A wayward Osprey is on its way home.
Norwegian Armed Forces this week lifted a US Air Force CV-22 Osprey out of the nature reserve it had been stuck in since early August.
The tilt-rotor transport aircraft had been stranded on Senja, a remote island in northern Norway, after an emergency landing on Aug. 12. The remote island was far from any road that could allow recovery vehicles to retrieve the plane.
According to a press release, Norwegian forces working alongside US troops constructed a wooden ramp and then towed the Osprey closer to the water on Tuesday, Sept. 27. From there, a crane boat lifted the Osprey off the island.
The recovery strategy was less than ideal, but necessary to protect the nature preserve, an official from US Special Operations Command Europe told Coffee or Die Magazine. “The ideal recovery would be to repair the aircraft on site, so it can depart on its own,” said Lt. Col. Juan Martinez.
Odd Helge Wang, the Norwegian military official in charge of the recovery, said the operation was exciting but challenging. High water had postponed the recovery a couple of times, according to Wang.
But, as of Tuesday, the CV-22 was on its way to a nearby NATO facility. There, Martinez said, crews from the 752nd Special Operations Aircraft Maintenance Squadron will repair the Osprey and send it back home to the 7th Special Operations Squadron, in Mildenhall, UK.
The Osprey made an emergency landing in the nature reserve over a month ago as a result of a hard clutch engagement while participating in a military exercise, a spokesperson for the Air Force Special Operations Command, or AFSOC, told Coffee or Die Magazine.
Lt. Col. Rebecca Heyse said that the incident was one of two hard clutch engagements — an engine malfunction that could cause one of the aircraft’s propellers to lose power, potentially causing a crash — that happened within six weeks, causing AFSOC to ground its fleet of 52 Ospreys in mid-August. The other incident occurred in Florida in early July, Heyse said.
Even though the hard clutch engagement issue had not been resolved, AFSOC cleared its Ospreys for flight in early September, with updated guidelines in place, Heyse said.
One key mitigation step, Heyse told the Air Force Times, is making sure pilots pause right after taking off and before throttling to full thrust so that the clutch doesn’t slip.