Former Air Force Pilot and Defense Analyst for the Pentagon, Rex Rivolo, says he's watched the Hawaii News Now video of the Osprey Crash multiple times. He says he has analyzed it, and believes there are two possible reasons for Sunday's fiery crash at Bellows Air Force Station.
"This to me looks like either an engine failure, or an inadvertent entrance into Vortex Ring State, pilot error," says Rivolo.
He also tells me by phone, that the Osprey engine is usually reliable so he is leaning toward pilot error. Vortex Ring State is when the rotor suddenly loses lift, it's a fatal trap for pilots.
"The pilot begins a slow decent while at zero airspeed and that reduces the available lift of the rotor. So the faster you go down, the less lift you have, the less lift you have, the faster you go down. And you accelerate all the way to the ground."
Rivolo has reviewed other, deadly Osprey crashes and says the aircraft leaves no room for error. The military wants it to take off and land like a helicopter, but, he says, it flies more like a plane and therefore, does neither well.
"The Osprey is extremely unforgiving, where as in a helicopter, the pilot can make a mistake and recover, the osprey is very unforgiving, so it makes the aircraft that much more difficult to handle,"
Two Marines died and 2 more remain hospitalized.
The military is investigating the cause and looking for more witnesses.