The V-22 Osprey always brings up heated emotions from both its supporters and detractors. There are those that love it, claiming it's the herald of a new era of aviation. There are others who despise it, claiming it's little more than a multi-billion dollar death trap.
There's also a lot of misinformation spread by both camps, owing to the fact that each faction has elements within it with a financial incentive to either promote or derail the V-22 (just take a look at the comments in this particularly vicious thread at Tom Ricks' blog).
However, there are still quite a few credible independent sources out there, one of which is the US Naval Institute's blog, which called into question the V-22 Osprey's safety record. Foremost among the issues cited is the fact that the US Navy Safety Center claims that the V-22 has had no Class A accidents (one which causes over $1 million in damage or loss of life) since 2001, despite the fact that a Congressional service report found at least two such accidents since 2006, including an engine fire which resulted in $16 million in damages.
Now, there's a million ways to manipulate statistics, and I suspect that safety records can be no different. If anyone with more experience in V-22 Osprey safety reads this blog, I'd gladly appreciate their feedback.
The V-22--a hybrid between a helicopter and airplane--is one of those ideas like the battlecruiser. Sure, a hybrid solution looks great on paper, but the truth of the matter is, it tries to combine the strengths of each platform, but it winds up incorporating a lot of the drawbacks as well.
The V-22 has been performing "ring route" missions in Iraq relatively well--it can hit more locations in a day than a conventional helicopter, and can land at remote outposts. I wouldn't claim that it's a piece of junk. Nevertheless, was that capability really worth all the billions of dollars we put into it? Couldn't the Marines have gotten, maybe, a mix of several Chinook helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft?
Photo from USNI's blog.