MV-22 Osprey landing at Salt Pond

SUBHEAD: Multiple landings and takeoffs of controversial aircraft at Kauai public beach.

By Juan Wilson on 5 February 2017 for Island Breath -

Image above: Photo for this article by Juan Wilson of Osprey aircraft landing over Salt Pond Beach Park.

Last Tuesday, January 31st, I was at the beach with my wife Linda and granddaughter Ruby. We were at the kiddy beach at the west end of Salt Pond Park in Hanapepe, Kauai, Hawaii. It was a pleasant sunny day and there were several locals and tourists on the beach and in the water.

At four-thirty in the afternoon a deep guttural growl could be heard coming from the east. In moments the sound amped up as a strange looking "plane" flew past going west offshore of the southern extremity of nearby Puolo Point. The profile was that of uniquely odd MV-22 Osprey helicopter/plane that was developed primarily for the US Marine Corps.

The Osprey has rotational wings that old two turbine propeller engines that allow it to fly much faster than a conventional helicopter yet rotate its engines and land vertically.

"The best of both world's?" Not exactly! I knew from previous reporting that the Marine Corps had been having performance issues with the Osprey.

It was found that the Osprey is quite sensititve to dust entering its turbine engines when landing in sandy and dusty conditions. It has experienced crashes. Hovering for even a short while over dusty terrain had to be severely limited.

I had hard that the military had plans to do training for the Ospreys on Kauaiand be stationed out of the Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF). I heard it involved difficult landings and takeoffs from narrow valleys on the Napali Coast. I assumed the passing Osprey was on its way west to land at the PMRF for that training.

But once shortly just past Kamakani near the old Gay & Robinson sugar mill the Osprey could be seen turning around. It approached Salt Pond Beach low and fast. As it past the sound of the rotors was quite load. The Osprey passed right over swimmers and people on the beach and slowed as it came to the runway near Puolo Point.

That's when the thing got really noisy. As it rotated its wings to vertical orientation it ceased traveling horizontal and the engines whined loudly. There must be some strange dynamic between the horizontal and vertical flight that causes chaotic and disturbing vibrations boomed across the water to where I stood a half a mile away. It sounded like a controlled crash.

The Osprey never shut down its engines after landing. In a moment it revved up the turbines and began a vertical take-off. Again chaotic and noisy at it made it transition to horizontal flight. Some people did not understand what was going on and seemed disturbed.

The Osprey took off going east and somewhere over Hanapepe Sound came around to west again and past again heading towards Kamakane. Once there it did a one-eighty and returned to land again. It seemed a little closer to where I stood in the kiddy pond.By this time I was shaking my fist at the Osprey.

Altogether there were three test landings over the public beach.

A a resident of Hanapepe, and a frequent user of Salt Pond Beach Park, I strongly request that the US military use its own 10,000 foot runways at the PMRF for this training activity and stay away from public recreational areas with this controversial aircraft.

The Japanese on Okinawa have had a long struggle with the US Marines and their Ospreys. This Janaury 9th there was a non-fatal crash of an Osprey in Okinawa that brought safety fears to the fore. See (

Closer to home their has been a crash on Oahu.

After relating this encounter with the Marines to a friend he identified a valley on the Napali Coast where if one hikes these days you will be met with camouflaged armed soldiers coming from hidden structures who will frog-walk you out of the valley.

Visdeo above: Osprey aircraft takes of after passing over Salt Pond Beach Park and landing on tarmac of runaway near Puolo Point near Hanapepe, Kauai, on 31 January 2017. Filmed by Juan Wilson.  From (

Image above: Two days before this landing on Kauai an Osprey crashed in burned in Yemen during the ill-fated Al Qaeda raid by Seal Team Six. From (

See also:
Ea O Ka Aina: Kauai and Niihau endangered 9/24/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Oceans 4 Peace Pacific Pivot Panel 6/18/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Judgement against RIMPAC 2016 5/29/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Okinawans wish US military gone 8/26/15
Ea O Ka Aina: RIMPAC 2014 in Full March 7/17/14
Ea O Ka Aina: Stop bombing Kaula Island! 10/8/12
Ea O Ka Aina: Marines backing off 8/24/12
Ea O Ka Aina: Unproved Osprey on Kauai 8/21/12

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