US military Osprey aircraft were once again authorized to fly, following the crash in Japan of a device of this type that killed eight soldiers last November, it was announced this Monday.

The Osprey is a fast aircraft that can fly like a helicopter or a plane, but incidents over the years have led critics to warn of fatal flaws in its design.

On November 29, the the crash in Japan of a device of this type killed eight members of the US Air Force special operations unit next to the island of Yakushima. The entire fleet would be grounded on December 6th.

According to the United States of America (USA) Air Systems Command, This case was the second fatal accident in a few months and the fourth in two years.

Before reauthorizing flights for the Osprey fleet, authorities reported that they paid greater attention to some technical details and instituted limitations, in addition to adding mandatory maintenance inspections.


Although the inspection authorities have not identified the specific component that failed in the November accident, because the investigation conducted by the Air Force has not yet been completed, they reported that at this moment they have more elements — but not yet completely sufficient — to identify the reason that triggered the failure and the consequent fall of the device.

“This is the first time we have seen this specific component fail in this way. And this is unprecedented,” said Marine Corps colonel and joint V-22 Osprey program director at Naval Air Systems Command Brian Taylor.

A former Osprey pilot familiar with the investigation confirmed that the component in question is part of a critical engine system that includes gears and clutches that connect the aircraft’s engine to the rotor to turn it.

The Osprey only became operational in 2007, after decades of testing. Since then, it has become central to the operations of the Marine Corps and Air Force Special Operations Command. Under consideration, and before the November accident, was its use by the Navy to replace its C-2 Greyhound propeller planes, which transport personnel to and from aircraft carriers at sea.


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