CV-22 Osprey on TAAR Mission Shows Just How Massive Those Blades Are

CV-22 Osprey refueling over Japan 12 photos
Photo: USAF/Senior Airman Gary Hilton
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Aerial refueling of military aircraft has become an increasingly common maneuver for the U.S. Air Force (USAF). After all, it routinely practices it as it tries to keep targets that otherwise would be unreachable with a single full of fuel within striking distance.
Depending on the aircraft doing the refueling, the experience can be a little different for those involved, though. Both fixed and rotary wing aircraft can be refueled mid-air, and all such maneuvers are spectacular, regardless of the machine involved, but when it comes to tiltrotors, there’s an extra dose of awe attached to the whole thing.

In the case of machines such as the CV-22 Osprey, the maneuver has a special name, with airmen calling it tiltrotor air-to-air refueling, or TAAR, for short. It basically unfolds just like in the case of all other aircraft, with the flying, hungry beast chasing and catching up to an aerial tanker, hooking up to it, and allowing fuel to fill its empty tanks.

But when the Osprey does this, the people inside the tanker are enjoying a view they don't usually get when dealing with other aircraft.

And that’s owed solely to the massive, three-bladed rotors fitted to each side, which spin vertically when the aircraft is been fed. On paper, the diameter of each rotor is 38 feet (11.5 meters), but you can’t really put that into perspective until you see their blades next to something, for scale.

The image we have here, captured at the beginning of July and recently published by the USAF, does just that. It shows just how massive the blades are compared to a human sitting a few meters away from them, inside the MC-130J Commando II that was feeding fuel to the Osprey. The image was captured in the skies near Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, in Japan, and it's a perfect fit for our Photo of the Day feature, where you can now enjoy it as well.
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Editor's note: Gallery shows other Ospreys.

About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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