Executive: Educated workforce key to success in the skies

Published: Wednesday, February 5, 2014 at 06:01 PM.

Many in the audience had ties to the military or the Fleet Readiness Center East aircraft maintenance and repair facility at Cherry Point. Maintenance of the Osprey is a large part of the FRC East workload.

Rader ran down a long list of superior aspects of the Osprey.

“We take the advantages of a helicopter and also the advantages of a longer range cargo aircraft and we do both with one aircraft,” Rader said. “The challenge is how do you do both within one aircraft. You talk about STEM. You talk about engineering breakthroughs. This airplane is one of the most amazing systems airplanes that you can ever look at.

“Below a certain speed, you’re flying as if it’s a helicopter. Your controls move like a helicopter’s. As you start gaining speed, the computer takes over and transitions the flight controls and now you’re flying like a jet guy. We have found that when we put people in the simulator that are new to this airplane, within 15 minutes they are flying it perfectly.”

Rader said that while the Osprey has a checkered past, having experienced two tragic fatal crashes and having been canceled twice by the Department of Defense, the modern Osprey is a bird of a different breed.

“If you look at the airplane today it is really nothing like the airplane that was first developed in the 80s. The internal guts of it are very, very different,” Rader said. “The flight control laws are completely different. It’s a software airplane. It’s like a JSF. It’s like an F-18 in that pretty much everything you do is controlled by software.”

There are more than 240 Ospreys with more than 200,000 flight hours, which means the aircraft is relatively mature, Rader said.

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