Propeller blades dangerously close to the hose: MV-22 Osprey refuels from KC-130

There is no room for error when an MV-22B Osprey has to be refueled mid-air.

The following video shows Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft with VMM-262 refueling from a KC-130J belonging to the VMGR-152 during thir flight from Okinawa to Singapore, where the MV-22Bs attended the Singapore Airshow 2014.

Even if Helicopter Air-to-Air Refueling (HAAR) is usually difficult, considered how close those blades look in the video, no doubt it is even harder when the receiver is an Osprey, considered the size and position of the blades.

Obviously, the video doesn’t show anything really dangerous. The Osprey safely takes the fuel and there’s more clearance than it may appear between the hose and the blades. Still, things can really become pesky, in turbulent air, at low level and speed, etc. when large helos or tilt-rotors come close to the refueler.

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About David Cenciotti 4425 Articles
David Cenciotti is a freelance journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written four books.

6 Comments

  1. Ummm, when did they even get close to the hose, never mind dangerously close??? It was an optical illusion from the angle it was filmed! Seriously, lets stop with the media scare tactics and report only on factual findings, thank you.

  2. Thanks for the comments guys. The post was not meant to scare anyone but just to highlight how dangerous HAAR can be compared to a standard AAR. Obviously, as mentioned in the last part of the piece, there’s much clearance between the blades and the hose and nothing strictly dangerous happened.

    • Hi David, Not only is there greater clearance between the proprotors and hose for the V-22 compared to the main rotor of refueling helicopters, but the way the aircraft maneuver and make attitude adjustments during the time they are hooked up make refueling helicopters much more potentially perilous. Adjustments are made primarily in pitch and roll which for the V-22 are accomplished with elevator and flaperon control surface movements. Neither the pitch or roll adjustments make any appreciable change to the distance between the proprotors and hose. However, pitch adjustments in helicopters are accomplished with cyclic movement of the main rotor. So when the main rotor disk is moved down to reduce the pitch angle of the aircraft, there is the danger of severing the hose or even the refueling probe if over controlling takes place as the CH-53 video shows. Much more critical than severing the hose or refueling probe is if the contact damages the main rotor blades which could result in complete loss of control of the helicopter and an ensuing fatal crash.

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