USAF special operations plane stuck in Norwegian nature reserve
- A US military plane was forced to land in a remote nature reserve in northern Norway last month.
- The Osprey made a “controlled emergency landing,” a Norwegian military official told Insider.
- Norway and the United States attempt to save the aircraft using a boat fitted with a crane.
A US Air Force Osprey plane has been stranded for nearly a month in a remote nature reserve in northern Norway, a Norwegian military official said Thursday.
The military tiltrotor aircraft, which has the ability to fly like a propeller plane or hover like a helicopter, made a ‘controlled emergency landing’ on August 12 at Stongodden Nature Reserve on the island of Senja and has been stranded ever since, Lt. Colonel Eivind Byre, spokesman for the Norwegian Air Force, told Insider.
The Norwegian military is working with the US Air Force and local environmental officials to develop a rescue plan for the plane, Byre said.
“Basically it involves recovering the plane with a crane boat, but for that to be possible the plane needs to be brought a little closer to shore,” Byre said. “Therefore, we plan to build a small wooden road that harms nature as little as possible.”
“The weather and wind in Norway at this time of year can change quite quickly and that’s an important factor to consider,” added Byre.
Byre said they are currently awaiting the boat’s arrival and hope to start the operation early next week. The official did not say why the plane made an emergency landing.
The Air Force Times, however, reported on Wednesday that a mid-flight mechanical problem — caused by a problem with the tiltrotor clutch system — forced the crew to land the plane.
The US Air Force did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment, but air service officials have spoken on the matter.
“These things never seem to happen on airfields,” Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) Lt. Gen. Jim Slife said during an Air and Space Forces Association discussion, according to Air Force Times. . “They always seem to occur in Norwegian nature reserves above the Arctic Circle in early winter.”
The specific Osprey stuck in the nature preserve has been identified by the Air Force Times as a CV-22 model – a variant of the US Marine Corps Special Operations Forces MV-22 Osprey. According to AFSOC, its role is to “conduct long-range infiltration, exfiltration and resupply missions for special operations forces”.
“The aircraft is damaged but the extent is unknown,” AFSOC spokesperson Lt. Col. Becky Heyse told Air Force Times. “With other similar incidents, the gearbox had to be replaced and in some cases the engine as well.”