Third Marine Corps aircraft in a week makes emergency landing in Japan
By MATTHEW M. BURKE AND HANA KUSUMOTO | STARS AND STRIPES Published: April 26, 2018
CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — No injuries or damage were reported after a U.S. military tiltrotor aircraft made an emergency landing Wednesday afternoon in Kagoshima prefecture — the third such incident in the past week, officials said.
The MV-22 Osprey from Marine Corps Air Station Futenma’s 1st Marine Aircraft Wing made the precautionary landing at Amami Airport at about 4:30 p.m. after a warning light came on, Japanese and Marine officials said.
The helicopter-plane hybrid was flying from Futenma to Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni at the time of the incident, Marine spokeswoman Capt. Karoline Foote said in a statement to Stars and Stripes. They were joined on the ground by a second Osprey that had experienced no technical difficulties.
“The reason for the landing was a maintenance issue,” Foote wrote.
“The aircraft functioned as designed in that the cockpit indicators informed the aircrew of the issue,” she said. “The aircrew performed as trained; they took the appropriate action in accordance with standard operating procedures to safely land the aircraft at the closest airport.”
Once on the ground, the crew investigated the malfunction and found there was no problem, a Kyushu Defense Bureau spokesman said. Both tilt-rotor aircraft left the airport at about 5:50 p.m.
The Osprey that suffered the malfunction headed back to Futenma and landed at approximately 6:40 p.m., the Defense Bureau spokesman said. The other Osprey proceeded to Iwakuni as planned and landed at about 7:20 p.m.
The emergency landing did not cause an interruption to airport operations on the island between Okinawa and mainland Japan.
The incident comes on the heels of an emergency landing Tuesday in Fukuoka by an Iwakuni-based F-35B Lighting II fighter due to a cockpit warning, officials said.
A UH-1Y Venom from Futenma made a precautionary landing in Kumamoto on April 18 after a cockpit indication alerted pilots to a malfunction with the aircraft’s oil-cooling system.
In January, Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller said 2018 was starting out better than last year in regard to safety, despite three emergency landings that month that caused the Japanese to take a more active role in ensuring U.S. military aircraft safety.
On Jan. 23, an AH-1Z Viper helicopter made an emergency landing at a municipal helipad on Okinawa’s Tonaki Island. Similar incidents happened on the southern island prefecture on Jan. 6 and Jan. 8.