Hungry-Looking CV-22 Osprey Spins Massive Blades as It Approaches Flying Gas Station

CV-22 Osprey on refueling mission 11 photos
Photo: USAF/Jeremy Dyer
CV-22 Osprey on refueling missionCV-22 OspreyCV-22 Osprey flying over DubaiCV-22 OspreyCV-22 OspreyCV-22 OspreyCV-22 OspreyCV-22 OspreyCV-22 Osprey landing at Wittman Regional AirportCV-22 Osprey in fast rope operation
Although they are the most visible flying vehicles to do so, fighter jets are not the only ones with the capability to refuel while in the air. Helicopters, tankers themselves even, and tiltrotors can just as easily perform such actions.
And when speaking of tiltrotors, there’s really only one aircraft that fits the bill: the Osprey, a strange machine put together by Bell and Boeing with the goal of giving the American military access to the advantages of helicopter-style take-off and aircraft flight in a single package.

Around in the skies of the world since the 1980s, the thing draws its power from two engines developing 6,150 shaft horsepower each. What makes them truly special is that they sit in dedicated nacelles, located at the ends of long wings, and can shift position to provide either lift or forward motion.

The general range of an Osprey is of almost 500 miles (over 800 km) with 24 troops on board or over 2,500 miles (4,000 or so km) in self-deploy mode. But with aerial refueling, that range is only a number on a piece of paper: back in April, for instance, Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 363 (VMM-363) took their MV-22 Ospreys on a 5,443 miles (8,760 km) self-deploy journey.

The tiltrotor featured in the main photo of this piece is with the U.S. Air Force (USAF), a CV-22 Osprey captured on film during an approach to an aerial tanker for a refueling op that took place in mid-April over Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico.

Shot from up close, the Osprey proudly displays its rapidly spinning and absolutely massive blades, each covering a diameter of 38 feet (over 11 meters). And it looks quite fancy, too, especially given how the 58th Special Operations Wing machine was flying as part of “a two-week documentation of the 58th SOW by the publication Vertical Magazine.”
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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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