News: VMM-264 crosses Atlantic Ocean
Story by Lance Cpl. Ryan Joyner
HAMPSHIRE, England - Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 264 recently returned from the Farnborough Air Show, an international trade fair in Hampshire, England, where it demonstrated some of the unique features and capabilities of the MV-22B Osprey.
“VMM-264 showcased the tactical, safe and advanced capabilities of the MV-22B Osprey with their successful self-deployment to Farnborough,” said Capt. Ryan O’Rourke, VMM-264 Osprey pilot.
The flight across the Atlantic Ocean was a first for a fleet squadron, said Capt. Matthew Cave, lead operations officer for the mission.
It was the also the first time Marines used a different route to make their way to England.
“We went from Canada to Lodges Field in the Azores and then up to England,” said Cave. “Planning was the biggest thing; getting excellent weather forecast and doing the fuel computations with much detail along with the wind.”
“It gave us all the confidence that we can do it. We knew the planes were capable of it but we never proved it and now we have,” Cave added. “Those are two firsts that we accomplished.”
While in England, VMM-264 was in support of Bell Helicopters and Boeing Corporation in order to showcase the V-22 to perspective international customers.
For approximately three weeks, VMM-264 conducted orientation and indoctrination flying for international customers as well as allied military members. They also provided static displays for spectators to see the Osprey in person along with demonstration flights, said Cave.
“While in England, we had a Royal Air Force pilot with us on some of the flights so he could translate some of the rules and regulations they have; everything else operated as normal,” said Cave.
“By understanding how they operate in their country it helps us understand (how they operate) at Camp Bastion, the main British base in Afghanistan, creating an overall better working condition with the British,” said Cave.
With the capabilities of the Osprey, the Marines were able to safely self-deploy to England and operate without any issues, meaning they were able to move their airplanes into theater and operate on their own, according to Cave.
According to O’Rourke, range, navigation and maintenance readiness with the new airplanes is what gave VMM-264 the capability to fly over the Atlantic.
“You can leave your base and operate anywhere with the MV-22B. We were capable of achieving this because of the Osprey’s indefinite range because of air-to-air refueling. That’s how we managed to fly across the Atlantic Ocean,” said O’Rourke. “I thought it was a cool demonstration of how safe the Osprey is. I wasn’t nervous.”
“Pretty soon people are going to have to accept that the MV-22B Osprey is, in fact, a safe aircraft. With all of the success, it is hard to believe that (not everyone has) accepted it yet,” said O’Rourke.