KANEOHE, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - By Jolanie Martinez
Marines are training up for new Osprey aircraft to be permanently based in the islands.
On Wednesday, Marine Corps Base Hawaii officials gave reporters a tour of a new simulator, aimed at offering Osprey pilots a realistic training experience.
Twelve MV-22 Osprey will be stationed at the Kaneohe base, which is slated to have a fully-operational Osprey squadron by early fall.
The Osprey is a tilt-rotor aircraft, which can take off like a helicopter or an airplane.
The MCBH Osprey squadron will fulfill an assault support aviation role. Officials say the aircraft offer can travel long ranges while carrying big loads.
Osprey aren't new to the islands.
On May 17, 2015, during a training exercise, an MV-22 Osprey from Marine Corps Base Hawaii made a hard landing, killing two Marines and injuring 20 others aboard the aircraft.
An investigation found the crash was caused by pilot performance and an improper survey of the landing zone.
Since the accident, the Marines have looked for ways to improve safety standards and procedures.
"Once something like that happens, we go through a full investigation to figure out what happened. Find out what the causal factors are, and then we take those lessons learned," said Brig. Gen. Russell Sanborn, commanding general of the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing.