Midland Publishing

Aerofax Series

Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey: Tiltrotor Tactical Transport

by William Norton

Reviewed By Charles Landrum, #26328

128 pages with 240 photos and drawings

MSRP: $29.95 USD

Despite an extended development, not much has been written about the V-22 Osprey, a significant albeit controversial aircraft. The Osprey has been the subject of numerous aviation and defense trade publications but not that of a dedicated book. This latest release in the AEROFAX series corrects that oversight. Whether the V-22 becomes the effective aircraft that the US military, particularly the US Marine Corps, is banking on remains to be seen. But with such a long development and a rich array of predecessors, much can be said about this innovative aircraft and Author Bill Norton does just that.

As with the other titles in the AEROFAX series, this book is loaded with photographs and drawings. Unlike previous AEROFAX books this one is almost all color and many of the drawings come right from Navy technical manuals. Author Bill Norton goes one step further and gives not only extensive coverage of the design and development of the airframe but explains its operational principles as well. Given the aircraft’s unique operational characteristics, this primer on tiltrotor operations gives the reader a much clearer understanding of the challenges involved in achieving a functional design. The chapter breakdown is a follows:


  • Chapter one is the primer on Tiltrotor flight characteristics.
  • Chapter Two sets the stage by providing an overview of the many progenitors to the Osprey.
  • Chapter Three reviews the initial development of the aircraft during the 1980s, culminating in the cut of the program by then Secretary Of Defense Cheney.
  • Chapter Four (which in my edition is incorrectly numbered and titled the same as Chapter Five) discusses the resurrection of the program during the Clinton Administration.
  • Chapter Five provides an overview of the initial production aircraft entering limited service.
  • Chapter Six looks at the future of the type and subsequent concepts exploiting the technology.
  • Chapter Seven provides a breakdown of the engineering of the aircraft and it systems.
  • Chapter Eight provides the aircraft specifications.
  • Chapter nine is a gallery of superb images of the aircraft


While the authors delves into the trials and tribulations of developing such a complex airframe, what I found missing in all of this extensive coverage was a more thorough treatment of the controversy surrounding the aircraft. This is especially true of the series of spectacular crashes during the last five years that really caused many in Washington, the Marine Corps and Bell-Boeing to re-evalute the soundness of the design and the program management. But this is the only criticism I have of this book and it is minor.

Overall this latest release lives up to the standard of quality we expect from the AEROFAX series. There is plenty of detail for aviation enthusiasts and modelers alike. Given the wealth of pictures and drawings this book will make an excellent resource for those of you who have a V-22 on the shelf. Highly recommended!

The review copy was kindly provided by Specialty Press

Copies can be ordered direct – www.specialtypress.com or 1-800-895-4585

A $4.95 S/H fee will be added

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