IWAKUNI, Japan - Marines with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 265 participated in a distinguished visitor and media relations visit aboard Japan Air Self-Defense Force Nyutabaru Air Base, Nov. 30, 2013.
The squadron, which operates out of Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, Okinawa, flew an MV-22 Osprey to the media event with hopes of clarifying misconceptions some Japanese public and media may have about the aircraft.
“I expected a much larger aircraft that would be noisier, but it is very quiet so far and it was much smaller than I expected,” said Koichi Ozawa, mayor of Takanabe. “I feel that this is what’s going to be the future, going from regular helicopters to the tiltrotor and I learned today that the Osprey is safer than regular helicopters and also more capable than regular helicopters and quieter.”
Ozawa spoke about the new information he gained, mentioning how it changed his view on the Osprey.
“This type of opportunity should happen more often and be available in the future in Japan. What we saw about the Osprey today is different than what has been reported in the press and spoken in the community,” said Ozawa. “What I learned is that this is a safe aircraft. I hope this type of opportunity will be available to the public more and more.”
Positioned outside their aircraft, three pilots from VMM-265 answered questions from media representatives and distinguished visitors, while also sharing their desire to convey the capabilities of their aircraft.
“We’re all proud of the MV-22 and we want it to be successful. So everybody puts their best foot forward and works really hard to make sure everything goes smoothly and looks good,” said Capt. Travis Keeney, a pilot with VMM-265.
Keeney said that he understands the concerns of the Japanese public when it comes to accepting the Osprey.
“This is a new aircraft, a new idea, there’s nothing like it in history,” said Keeney. “Anything that’s new and unknown garners criticism, but that’s just because it’s unknown. I think the more people see it, eventually it’ll become a commonplace aircraft that nobody worries about.”
Keeney mentioned that he has flown the MV-22 Osprey for more than six years and feels honored to represent his commanding officer and his squadron through this event.
“I think this is a great opportunity to quell the rumors and the common misconceptions because the local media is able to get the word out to the public,” said Keeney. “Otherwise, all they have to go on is some of the myths and the wrong information that is out there on the internet or by word of mouth. The media is able to get out the true story, that it’s nothing but another aircraft.”
Following the distinguished visitor and media relations visit, the crew and Osprey of VMM-265 participated in the Nyutabaru Air Show, Dec. 1, marking the first time an Osprey was on static display during a Japanese air show.