The apparently oldest Bell/Boeing CV-22 Osprey in the US Air Force inventory has been taken out of service this week. The last trip will put the tilt-rotor aircraft to National Museum at Wright-Patterson AFB, of the U.S. Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, USA.
The machine in question is 12 years old and seems to have serial 0021, but AIRheads↑Fly was not able to confirm that at this time. Unlike the US Marines Corps MV-22s, the USAF uses the CV-22 especially for special operations. The first of the more operational USAF ones was CV-22 with 0026, flown from Edwards AFB to the 58th Special Operations Wing at Kirtland AFB on March 20, 2006. The aircraft has the unique ability to take-off, land and hover like a helicopter, and it can tilt its propellers to fly like a conventional, prop-driven aircraft.
The first operational USAF unit flying the CV-22 started operations at Hurlburt Field, Florida, in 2007. The Osprey has proven to be four times less vulnerable to enemy fire than helicopters. It is 75 percent quieter, can fly higher and has one-tenth the infrared signature compared to most rotary aircraft. Initial stability problems during landing, causing several death in crashes, seem to have been solved by adjusting landing routines with the advanced transport aircraft.
Meanwhile US Secretary of Defence Chuck Hagel has ordered the US Marine Corps to designate their next six production MV-22 to be transferred to the Israeli Defence Forces.