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How the V-22 Osprey Works


Inside the Osprey
Osprey's external features
Osprey's external features
Photo courtesy U.S. Navy

Like any aircraft, the Osprey has the following systems:

  • Propulsion - generate power and lift to propel the aircraft
  • Fuel
  • Cockpit controls
  • Communications - allow for communication with air controllers and military operations
  • Payload - carry cargo
  • Stowage - especially important when it's stored on an aircraft carrier

Propulsion

As mentioned above, the Osprey has two rotors with three-bladed, 38-ft (11.6-m) propellers. Each propeller is driven by an Allison AE 1107C turboshaft engine that is capable of producing over 6,000 horsepower. Each engine drives its own rotor and transfers some power to a mid-wing gear box. This gear box drives the tilting mechanism. In the event of an engine failure, the Osprey is capable of running on only one engine. In this case, power from the remaining engine is distributed to the two rotors through an interconnecting drive shaft.

Osprey propulsion
Osprey propulsion
Photo courtesy U.S. Navy

Fuel

The Osprey has 16 fuel tanks, 10 integrated into the wings and six in the fuselage. The feed tanks directly supply the engines with fuel from the other tanks, and fuel transfer is automatic. As the fuel flows from the tanks, pressurized nitrogen gas fills the tanks to reduce the possibility of fire. Depending upon the configuration of the Osprey, it can hold from 1,450 to 3,640 gallons (5,489 to 13,779 liters) of fuel.

Osprey fuel tanks
Osprey fuel tanks
Photo courtesy U.S. Navy

Cockpit Controls

The cockpit of the Osprey holds a pilot and co-pilot. In addition, there is a fold-down seat in the center behind the pilots for a flight engineer. The instrument panels have multi-functional displays, similar to the new glass cockpit of the space shuttle. The displays hold information about the engines (such as oil pressure, temperatures and hydraulic pressures) and flight (such as fuel data, attitude and engine performance). There are also keypads used to interact with the flight computer and sticks used to control the flight maneuvers.

Osprey control panels
Osprey control panels
Photo courtesy U.S. Navy

Communications

The Osprey is equipped with multi-band radios (AM, FM, UHF, VHF) for voice transmission and radio reception. It also has navigational beacons and radios, radar altimeters and an internal intercom/radio system for communications among the crew and troops onboard.

Osprey control panels
Osprey control panels
Photo courtesy U.S. Navy

Payload

The Osprey can hold up to 24 troops and carry up to 20,000 lb (9,072 kg) in its cargo bay, which is 5.7 ft wide by 5.5 ft high by 20.8 ft long (1.72 x 1.68 x 6.35 m). The cargo bay has fold-down seats along the walls and a ramp that is used to load or deploy cargo and troops. Deployment can also take place in the air by parachute. In addition to the 20,000-lb load in the cargo bay, the Osprey has an external hook-and-winch system that allows it to carry up to 15,000 lbs (6,803 kg) of cargo in tow.

Stowage

When the Osprey lands on the deck of a ship, it can be folded up for down-time. The blades and the wings are both foldable. The sequence is shown below:

The blades fold inward (top left and right); the wings turn up (bottom left); the wings fold back (bottom right).
The blades fold inward (top left and right); the wings turn up (bottom left); the wings fold back (bottom right).
Photo courtesy U.S. Navy
The blades fold inward (top left and right); the wings turn up (bottom left); the wings fold back (bottom right).
The blades fold inward (top left and right); the wings turn up (bottom left); the wings fold back (bottom right).
Photo courtesy U.S. Navy
The blades fold inward (top left and right); the wings turn up (bottom left); the wings fold back (bottom right).
The blades fold inward (top left and right); the wings turn up (bottom left); the wings fold back (bottom right).
Photo courtesy U.S. Navy
The blades fold inward (top left and right); the wings turn up (bottom left); the wings fold back (bottom right).
The blades fold inward (top left and right); the wings turn up (bottom left); the wings fold back (bottom right).
Photo courtesy U.S. Navy