Osprey highlight of Japanese-American Friendship Festival
YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan -- Marines with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 265, Marine Aircraft Group 36, flew MV-22B Osprey tiltrotor aircraft from Marine Corps Air Station Futenma to Yokota Air Base to participate in the 2014 Japanese-American Friendship Festival September 6-7.
More than 148,000 people attended the festival which showcased U.S. military and Japan Air Self-Defense Force aircraft.
The Osprey was one of the most popular aircraft at the festival, according to U.S. Marine Capt. Seth Woodhull, the squadron adjutant for VMM-265, MAG 36, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force. From the moment the Osprey was opened until it was closed, a crowd of people surrounded it, waiting hours for the chance to walk through.
“The (attendees) have enjoyed seeing and being around the Osprey a lot,” said U.S. Marine Capt. Jason N. Noll, an aircraft commander with the squadron. “This is the first year the Osprey has come to the Friendship Festival. They are very enthusiastic about the aircraft being here and us being on this base.”
The Osprey is the world’s first production tiltrotor aircraft, combining the characteristics of a fixed-wing aircraft with a helicopter. The combination gives the Osprey the capability to take off and land vertically, like a helicopter, and have the speed and range of a fixed wing aircraft.
The Osprey is important to display at the festival because the public knows little about the aircraft, according to Woodhull, from Greenwood, Arkansas.
“It is very important for the (attendees) to see the Osprey because it is a newer aircraft,” said U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Kurtis M. Lloyd, an Osprey crew chief with the squadron. “It’s important to learn what the Osprey can do for them.”
The Osprey replaced the aging CH-46E Sea Knight Helicopters and has a similar medium lift capability, with the ability to go farther and faster. The CH-46Es were used during Operation Tomodachi in 2011. It took nearly three days to reach Northeast Japan, while the Osprey is capable of reaching the same area within three hours.
The Osprey is becoming a much more popular aircraft and it is being displayed more frequently throughout Japan, according to Noll, from Kirksville, Missouri.
“It’s a really unique opportunity to bring the Osprey, show it to the public, and show them what we’re all about,” said Noll.
The Osprey is a great aircraft, according to Lloyd, from Portage, Indiana. Any airshow the Osprey has been in, it has been one of the more popular aircraft.
“My favorite part about being in airshows is meeting all the locals and seeing how much they appreciate us being here,” said Lloyd. “They love learning about the Osprey, and they love having us here.”