When it comes to military aircraft, most enthusiasts are familiar with the subcategories airplanes and helicopters, and the differing ways they generate lift. The former propels one or more stationary wings through the airstream and thus requires a relatively high minimum flying speed. The latter rotates multiple overhead wings, which facilitates flight in a stationary hover but typically at the expense of a relatively slow top speed.
A less-well known third category combines the best features of airplanes and helicopters into one highly effective platform. Powered Lift air vehicles feature short or vertical takeoffs and landings as well as high top speeds—offering a tremendous advantage in military operations. The powered lift category features only three aircraft: the AV-8B Harrier, the ‘B’ variant of the F-35 Lightning II, and the subject of this week’s show: the V-22 Osprey.
On this episode, US Marine Corps Reserve Major Josh “Sweet Pea” Smith joins us to discuss the Osprey in depth: from its tumultuous development, to the variants flown by three of the four US military branches, to its weapons systems, and more. Sweet Pea further describes what it’s like to pilot an Osprey—whether loaded with Marines or in the service of our country’s top governmental leadership.
During the listener question segment, Jell-O and Sunshine discuss supersonic flight restrictions, carrier obsolescence, ordnance selection for uncertain mission tasking, and whether Cold War and older aircraft will be featured on coming episodes.
New Powered Lift bumper music by Jaime Lopez. Episode artwork by Janek Krause. Bumper announcements by Clint Bell.