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More Osprey Probs: Deicer Troubled

The V-22 Osprey has serious problems with its deicing system, according to two sources familiar with the program.

Since it's operating in Iraq now, that doesn't seem to pose much of a problem. One source tells me that the manufacturer is working on a fix and the Block B aircraft "have at least a partial solution for this issue." But the bottom line: the plane cannot fly in conditions where deicing might be needed.

In addition to the deicing issue, dozens of you emailed us or posted comments about the November Osprey fire that Christian broke the story about.

One of our readers pointed to the fact that Osprey depends very heavily on onboard computers to fly it and claimed that "if one goes offline" the plane could not be flown manually. According to a source who has worked on the Osprey, this just isn't true. "The vast majority of the computers on board could go out and the aircraft could still land safely because very few of these computers directly impact flight. Because the Osprey is a fly-by-wire aircraft, it is true that the pilots do not have any direct mechanical input to the flight controls," our source notes. But fly-by wire isn't exactly new. Airbus planes all use it and the Osprey's system boasts triple redundancy, according to our source.

Several posters took issue with the durm und strang attitude of some posts. The Osprey, they argued, is a unique capability, one the Marines need and one that is proving itself in Iraq.

"I see many complaints about how this aircraft has so many known issues and therefore should be scrapped. I challenge anyone out there to find any aircraft in any branch of service that does not have any known issues. I also issue the challenge to find me any aircraft that has not caused fatalities or injuries or even as many as the Osprey has caused," one writer noted. In fact, OspreyTweek, as he called himself, pointed to the fact the Osprey and its crew survived the Nov. 7 fire as proof of the plane's survivability. "I think this very incident highlights how well this aircraft is built; even with a catastrophic failure of a hydraulic system and nacelle fire, the aircraft was still able to make it to the ground safely, saving all of the lives on board."

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