US Marine Osprey makes emergency landing at Japanese civilian airport

A USMC Osprey aircraft landed in Japan
U.S. Marine Corps

On the afternoon of October 19, 2023, two United States Marine Corps V-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft made unscheduled landings at Tokunoshima Airport (TKN) in Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan.  

The first Osprey touched down at Tokunoshima Airport in Amagi shortly after 2:20pm local time, according to officials from the Kagoshima Airport Office quoted by the Japanese public broadcaster NHK. The airport office reported that the Osprey pilot called approximately five minutes prior to landing, alerting them to the emergency situation. 

Later in the evening, just before 7pm on the same day, a second USMC Osprey carrying maintenance personnel and other support staff landed at Tokunoshima Airport, which had received two minutes’ notice. The personnel had been called to carry out repairs on the stranded first aircraft. 

Local authorities emphasized that these emergency landings did not result in any reported injuries or disruptions to the operations of commercial aircraft at Tokunoshima Airport. Commercial flights continued to operate as scheduled. 

The two tiltrotor aircraft belonged to the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing based at Futenma Air Station, located approximately 200 kilometers (125 miles) southwest of Tokunoshima Airport on Okinawa Island. 

These unplanned Osprey landings are only the latest additions to a series of such incidents that Japan has experienced in recent times. Between September 14 and 21, 2023, at least three Ospreys made precautionary landings at Japanese civilian airports. 

In an emailed statement to AeroTime sent at the time, the USMC 1st Marine Aircraft Wing claimed that the series of mishaps of late September 2023 does not appear to have derived from a hard clutch engagement (HCE), the malfunction responsible for the fatal crash of an MV-22 Osprey at Range-2512 IVO of Holtville, California, on June 8, 2023. 

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