As preparations for the first flight of the Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey continued at Bell’s Flight Research Center in Arlington, Texas, the prototype made its first engine runs on 28 December 1988.
The first example of the Bell-Boeing Osprey to fly is one of six prototypes in the full-scale development (FSD) batch, and is devoted to basic performance and flight behaviour. Although Bell is assembling four of the FSD airframes and Boeing only two. each company will handle the flight testing of three V-22s. Some 4,000 hrs will be flown on the six aircraft prior to the Osprey’s acceptance by the armed forces.
Rolled-out at Arlington, Texas, on 23 May 1988, the Osprey prototype shown here, which is actually an MV-22A in the configuration of the Marines’ assault transport version, was finished for the occasion in operational-style camouflage. It has subsequently reverted to an all-white finish for the initial test flight phase.
Studies are already being made, both by the manufacturers and by the relevant government agencies, including the FAA, of the potential for commercial aircraft making use of the V-22's wing and propulsion system.
The Bell XV-3. Using the tilt-rotor configuration, this was among a whole series of VTOL prototypes studied in the US in the fifties, giving several companies a sound basis for the development of the later, larger types.
A highly successful test programme flown by the two prototypes of the Bell XV-15 helped to convince the Department of Defense that an aircraft using the tilt-rotor configuration was operationally viable, leading to the development of the Osprey.
The Vertol, later Boeing Vertol, VZ-2. Using the tilt-wing configuration, this was among a whole series of VTOL prototypes studied in the US in the fifties, giving several companies a sound basis for the development of the later, larger types.