Did a GoPro lead to pilot error in the crash of a USMC MV-22 Osprey in Norway?
The crash of a United States Marine Corps (USMC) MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft in Norway in March 2022 was due to pilot error, an investigation has found.
In the late afternoon of March 18, 2022, an MV-22B Osprey belonging to the United States Marine Corps and taking part in Exercise Cold Response crashed while on a training mission in Norway. Four US Marines died in the crash.
An investigating officer of the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing (MAW) released a report on August 15, 2022, in which it determined that the causal factor for the accident of the Osprey, call sign “Ghost 31”, was pilot error.
Ghost 31 was on a training flight out of the Royal Norwegian Air Force (RNoAF) Bodø Air Base. According to the investigation, the aircrew deviated from the preplanned flight and entered the Gråtådalen Valley for a series of low-altitude maneuvers.
At one point, the aircrew conducted a left turn at a 68-degree angle-of-bank in the river valley, exceeding the MV-22B Osprey normal operating envelope by 8 degrees. It was followed by an overcorrected maneuver with a right turn in excess of 80 degrees.
The incorrect maneuvers caused the aircraft to lose altitude and airspeed, with not enough turning room to recover. The Osprey impacted the valley’s eastern side.
While the reason for the flight deviation is unclear, the investigators note that an unauthorized personal GoPro recording device was found at the crash site and was in use at the time of the crash.
“Such devices are prohibited on grounds that they can incentivize risktaking and serve as a distraction; that may have been the case with Ghost 31,” the report reads.
However, the footage recovered from the GoPro helped rule out degraded weather conditions as a factor in the accident. The investigation also concluded that the aircrew was qualified and the aircraft properly maintained.
In order to better debrief and analyze post-flight information in the future, the report recommends the addition of a video and voice recording system to the MV-22B, which it currently lacks.
“If an unauthorized device could contribute to risky decisions, it is very likely that the mandatory employment of a video and voice recording system provided by the Marine Corps would have the opposite effect,” Major General Michael S. Cederholm, then-commander of the 2nd MAW, commented.
Another USMC MV-22B Osprey tiltrotor aircraft crashed in the Southern California desert in June 2022, killing five Marines. The investigation into that accident is still ongoing.
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