Emergency Landings by USMC V-22 Ospreys at Tokunoshima Airport: A Detailed Account

On October 19, 2023, in the afternoon, an unexpected event occurred when two V-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft from the United States Marine Corps made unplanned landings at Japan's Tokunoshima Airport (TKN) in Kagoshima Prefecture. The first Osprey made its landing at the airport in Amagi just past 2:20pm local time, as reported by the Kagoshima Airport Office officials and broadcasted by NHK, a Japanese public broadcaster. The pilot of the Osprey had informed the airport office about an emergency situation roughly five minutes before landing.


Later that day, just before 7 p.m., a second USMC Osprey arrived at Tokunoshima Airport. This aircraft was carrying maintenance staff and other support personnel who had been summoned to repair the first aircraft that had landed earlier. The airport had been given a two-minute notice before this landing. Local authorities have stressed that these emergency landings did not cause any injuries or disrupt the operations of commercial flights at Tokunoshima Airport. The regular schedule of commercial flights continued unaffected.


The two tiltrotor aircraft are part of the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing stationed at Futenma Air Station, which is roughly 200 kilometers (or about 125 miles) southwest of Tokunoshima Airport on Okinawa Island. These unexpected landings of Ospreys are not isolated incidents. Japan has witnessed a series of similar events recently. From September 14 to 21, 2023, at least three Ospreys made safety landings at various civilian airports in Japan.


In a statement emailed to AeroTime during that period, the USMC 1st Marine Aircraft Wing clarified that these mishaps in late September 2023 did not seem to be caused by a hard clutch engagement (HCE), a malfunction that led to the fatal crash of an MV-22 Osprey near Holtville, California, at Range-2512 IVO on June 8, 2023.

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