Number of Osprey flights increase 1.3 times in the two months since deployment

Number of Osprey flights increase 1.3 times in the two months since deployment

MV-22 Osprey's operational status in Okinawa.

December 1, 2012 Ryukyu Shimpo

On December 1, two months passed since the MV-22 Osprey vertical take-off and landing transport aircraft were deployed to Okinawa. According to investigations carried out by the Ryukyu Shimpo, the number of flights by the aircraft from Futenma Air Station in November (except the first flight) totaled 64 times on 15 separate days. This figure is at least about 1.3 times the number of flights in October, which was 49 times on 13 days.

With regard to Osprey flight training after 10:00pm, which is limited by the noise abatement agreement between the governments of Japan and the United States, the Marine Corps carried out such night flights on nine occasions in November, more than the two flights in October. Sixty percent of reports of sightings provided by residents to the Okinawa Prefectural Government (OPG) stated that the Osprey were flying over urban areas. It is clear that Osprey flight training has intensified. In addition to training carried out in the U.S. military facilities in the northern part of the main island since November, Osprey aircraft flying at low altitude have frequently been seen by residents of Naha and Urasoe. According to the OPG, as of November 29 they had received a total of 465 Osprey sighting reports. Of these, 60 percent, or 280 cases were that the aircraft were flying over the city.

In their agreement, the governments of Japan and the United States confirmed that the Osprey would try to avoid flying over residential districts to the maximum extent possible, the sighting reports indicate that because the bases are concentrated in the small island the Osprey will not be able to fly avoiding above populated areas.

According to noise surveys carried out by the OPG and the Ginowan Municipal Office, 101.3 db was recorded on the November 26 at the Ojana Community Center in Ginowan, and 100.6 db was recorded (initial reports) on November 19 at the same place. On November 26, 74.5 db was confirmed when a CH-46 medium-sized helicopter flew past. According to the survey carried out by Takeshi Tokashiki, associate professor of the University of the Ryukyus, low-frequency sound, which shakes furniture and causes a feeling of pressure, has been confirmed in Ginowan and Nago when the Osprey flies. It was also recorded in Kin Town in addition to these areas. Tokashiki is concerned about the physical and psychological effects this may be causing since the Osprey deployment.

(English translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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