A tilt-rotor plane that can take off and land like a helicopter landed Thursday on a runway outside the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force closing a chapter on its old duties as a test aircraft in Florida.
The CV-22 Osprey will be stored in a restoration hangar until the museum builds a new, fourth air and space gallery slated for construction next spring with an opening date in 2015, said museum spokesman Sarah Swan. Turner Construction Co. of Washington, D.C., was selected as the prime contractor on the $35.4 million project to build a privately funded 224,000-square-foot hangar. The Air Force Museum Foundation Inc. has raised funds for the expansion.
The Osprey’s arrival had been postponed for a day because of weather concerns, but Thursday’s flight in the frigid Arctic-like air went off without a hitch, according to Master Sgt. Joseph Levine, 42, a Fairfield High School graduate and a flight engineer.
“It was bittersweet just because that particular aircraft, all of us on the crew have almost a personal connection with it,” Levine said.
The 413th Flight Test Squadron has flown the Osprey since 2005 at Hurlburt Field, Fla.
Levine said the plane, which can both hover vertically and fly horizontally, is easier to fly than other aircraft because of its versatility. “If we have to land in the middle of a field, we can,” he said.
The Bell Helicopter Textron Inc. and the Boeing Co. assembled the tilt-rotor aircraft flown by both the Air Force Special Operations Command and the Marine Corps.
The museum’s newly acquired plane, which began as a pre-production Navy aircraft, has been flown on more than 600 flights. It was tested at Edwards Air Force Base in the southern California desert prior to its relocation to Hurlburt Field near Florida’s Gulf Coast, according to the museum.
Video: Watch video of the Osprey’s landing at the Air Force museum at MyDaytonDailyNews.com/military