2010 Afghanistan CV-22 Crash

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2010 Afghanistan CV-22 Crash
CV-22B Osprey, US Air Force (19843371491).jpg
A U.S. Air Force CV-22 similar to the aircraft that crashed
Date09 April 2010
SummaryUnknown cause
SiteNear Qalat, Afghanistan
Aircraft typeBell Boeing CV-22 Osprey
OperatorUnited States Air Force

On April 9th, 2010, a United States Air Force Bell Boeing CV-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft crashed while conducting an infiltration mission in southern Afghanistan about seven miles west of Qalat in Zabul Province.[1] The crash occurred at night and killed three U.S. troops and a civilian. Despite a thorough investigation the cause of the crash is not known for certain.[2]


The CV-22 first entered operational service with the U.S. military in 2007 after eighteen years and $20 billion in development.[3] It deployed to Iraq in the service of the United States Marine Corps where it saw purpose as a multirole transport aircraft, ferrying troops and conducting reconnaissance missions previously off limit to older helicopters because of range limitations not present in the Osprey. The aircraft was praised for its high survivability during its service in Iraq with no hulls lost to enemy fire in the time it served in Iraq despite its role in numerous combat operations.[4]

Development and testing of the Osprey was tumultuous as cost overruns, political controversy, frequent redesigns and several fatal crashes, including one that killed 19 Marines[5], led to scepticism that the aircraft would ever enter service. Many government officials, including Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney, sought to kill the program.[6] A litany of issues with the Osprey were addressed during its many years of development including but not limited to leaking hydraulics, on-board fires, and in certain conditions, aero-dynamic instability.[7] The Air Force, alongside the Marine Corps, also purchased the CV-22 in its initial introduction, assigning it to a role within Air Force Special Operations Command. The aircraft saw service in this capacity in Mali and Central America.[8] It soon deployed to Afghanistan where it became an essential platform for special operations units due to its speed, range, and armor.[9]

In March 2010, the crew of CV-22 T/N 06-0031 arrived in Afghanistan after a period of pre-deployment training in the United States and began preparing to conduct combat operations in the country.[10]


On April 9th, 2010, a CV-22 Osprey T/N 06-0031 piloted by Major Randell D. Voas, 43,[11][12] and part of the 8th Special Operations Squadron was performing a routine night infiltration mission of special operations forces in Zabul Province, Afghanistan when it crashed into the ground while attempting to land. The Osprey was moving at a speed of about 75 knots with its landing gear down and locked and its rotors vertical when the crash occurred.[13]

The Osprey slammed into the ground, rolled for a short distance, and then flipped on its back with its cockpit nearly severed from the fuselage. The impact killed four Americans, including three servicemembers and a civilian and damaged the aircraft to the point where it had to be destroyed to prevent the wreckage from being exploited. 17 others aboard, including the co-pilot were injured.[14] Voas, the pilot, was among those killed.[15]

The other aircraft involved in the mission immediately responded to the crash and medical evacuation assets were called to the scene. Wounded personnel from the crashed Osprey, extracted themselves. The bodies of the four Americans killed were evacuated, and maintenance personnel arrived on the scene soon after to examine the wreckage to determine if it could be salvaged. A determination was made the aircraft could not be saved and it was destroyed by ordnance.[16][17]


Brigadier General Donald Harvel, lead investigator of the 2010 crash.

Shortly after the crash Air Force brigadier general Donald D. Harvel was commissioned to investigate the accident.[18] Over the course of the investigation, General Harvel conducted over ninety interviews, visited the crash site, as well as nearby bases, consulted with experts, and made countless reiterations of the same flight in a CV-22 flight simulator to determine the cause of the accident. Despite the exhaustive investigation, no clear cause was found. However, a number of contributing factors were identified including bad weather planning, a poorly executed approach, tailwind, low illumination, task saturation, high rate of descent, and possible engine power loss, among others. A number of causes such as enemy fire and brownout were considered and then ruled out. Determining a clear cause was made more difficult since much of the aircraft, including the Osprey's flight data recorder were destroyed in the crash and ensuing wreckage destruction. Major Randell Voas was a career helicopter pilot with 18 years of flying experience with more than 3,600 flight hours and was considered to be one of the most experienced and highly qualified CV-22 pilots in the U.S. military. The copilot, unidentified, was also an experienced pilot, though new in the CV-22, had accumulated more than 2,600 flight hours. [19]


  1. "ISAF: 4 killed in U.S. aircraft crash in Afghanistan". CNN.com. 2010-04-09. Retrieved 2018-01-10.
  2. "General: 'My Career Was Done' When I Criticized Flawed Warplane". WIRED. 2012-10-04. Retrieved 2018-01-10.
  3. "Marines to deploy tilt-rotor aircraft to Iraq". CNN.com. 2007-04-14. Retrieved 2018-01-10.
  4. https://www.wired.com/2008/07/httpwwwaviati-1/ OSPREY'S 'EXCELLENT PHOTO OP'
  5. http://www.nytimes.com/2000/04/10/us/19-marines-die-in-crash-of-trouble-plagued-craft.html 19 Marines Die in Crash Of Trouble-Plagued Craft
  6. https://www.wired.com/2005/07/osprey/?pg=1&topic=osprey Saving the Pentagon’s Killer Chopper-Plane
  7. Pappalardo, Joe (2017-11-14). "The Osprey's Real Problem Isn't Safety—It's Money". Popular Mechanics. Retrieved 2018-01-10.
  8. "CV-22s complete first operational deployment". Air Force Special Operations Command. 2016-01-13. Retrieved 2018-01-10.
  9. "CV-22 Osprey". U.S. Air Force. 2014-01-09. Retrieved 2018-01-10.
  10. http://blogs.star-telegram.com/files/afsoc-crash-report---afd-101215-007.pdf Sequence of Events - Pre-deployment Training, Preparation, and Staging - UNITED STATES AIR FORCE AIRCRAFT ACCIDENT INVESTIGATION BOARD REPORT CV-22B OSPREY, T/N 06-0031
  11. https://www.army.mil/article/74832/air_force_names_building_after_fallen_osprey_pilot Air Force names building after fallen Osprey pilot
  12. https://apps.washingtonpost.com/national/fallen/5407/randell-voas/ Faces of the Fallen: Maj. Randell D. Voas
  13. http://blogs.star-telegram.com/files/afsoc-crash-report---afd-101215-007.pdf Sequence of Events - Impact - UNITED STATES AIR FORCE AIRCRAFT ACCIDENT INVESTIGATION BOARD REPORT CV-22B OSPREY, T/N 06-0031
  14. http://blogs.star-telegram.com/files/afsoc-crash-report---afd-101215-007.pdf ACCIDENT SUMMARY - UNITED STATES AIR FORCE AIRCRAFT ACCIDENT INVESTIGATION BOARD REPORT CV-22B OSPREY, T/N 06-0031
  15. https://apps.washingtonpost.com/national/fallen/5407/randell-voas/ Faces of the Fallen: Maj. Randell D. Voas
  16. http://blogs.star-telegram.com/files/afsoc-crash-report---afd-101215-007.pdf Sequence of Events- Search and Rescue- UNITED STATES AIR FORCE AIRCRAFT ACCIDENT INVESTIGATION BOARD REPORT CV-22B OSPREY, T/N 06-0031
  17. http://blogs.star-telegram.com/files/afsoc-crash-report---afd-101215-007.pdf Sequence of Events- Recovery of Remains- UNITED STATES AIR FORCE AIRCRAFT ACCIDENT INVESTIGATION BOARD REPORT CV-22B OSPREY, T/N 06-0031
  18. https://www.wired.com/2011/10/osprey-crash-cover-up/ Air Force Shoots Down Investigation Into Deadly Crash 10.17.11
  19. http://blogs.star-telegram.com/files/afsoc-crash-report---afd-101215-007.pdf Causation-UNITED STATES AIR FORCE AIRCRAFT ACCIDENT INVESTIGATION BOARD REPORT

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