‘Widowmaker’ Osprey to Fly Again Months After Fatal Crashes

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The U.S. military will resume the use of the Osprey aircraft, known among servicemen as “the Widowmaker,” officials announced Friday.

The decision reverses an order from December, when the U.S. grounded the entire Osprey fleet following a disaster off the coast of Japan that killed eight service members.

Naval Air Force Systems Command (NAVAIR) said its decision to resume flights was informed by a safety review of the Nov. 29 accident, adding that additional precautions have been taken.

Navy officials located the specific part of the Osprey which failed and caused the Japan crash, but have not named it. At a press briefing earlier this week, they admitted they still don’t know why the part failed.

Still, NAVAIR said, armed forces officials are confident that it can resume operations safely. It will be taking a phased approach to get the Ospreys back in the air over the coming months, including improved safety checks followed by extensive safety and procedural training.

The aircraft, made by Boeing and Bell Textron and used primarily by the Marine Corps for transport, has been tied to more than 50 deaths since its rollout in 2007. In the past 2 years alone, 20 service members have died in Osprey crashes.