Generally speaking, the bird is powered by a pair of Rolls-Royce Liberty engines, that develop 6,200 shaft horsepower each. The combo allows the machine to reach a top speed of 322 mph (518 kph) and altitudes of up to 25,000 feet (7,620 meters).
The Osprey has been designed to operate both as an airplane and a helicopter, meaning it can take off and land either horizontally (on short runways) or vertically. This greatly expands the aircraft’s reach and makes it suitable for a larger range of missions.
The one we have here is on a behold-and-be-amazed mission, if we can call it that. Deployed with the 58th Special Operations Wing, the helicopter was on a mission to the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
There, the Osprey had to conduct what the Air Force calls a mountain landing, then provide the cadets there with “familiarization opportunities and orientation flights in an effort to develop knowledge and passion for airpower within the cadet wing.”
We’re pretty certain tons of civilians would love to take a ride in this thing as well but, as is, the Osprey is for now restricted to the military. That may change soon, as last year the Italians from Leonardo announced the AW609, a bird we’ll talk about at length this coming weekend.