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Veterans give insight on the safety of military aircraft, Osprey

While still in the investigation process, a former Marine and Air Force investigator told CBS 8 what could happen now, following the fatal crash.

SAN DIEGO — The MV-22 Osprey crash that killed five Marines is still on top of minds just one day after the incident.

While still in the investigation process, a former Marine and Air Force investigator told CBS 8 what could happen now, following the fatal crash.

"It’s a tilt rotor airplane, takes off and lands like a helicopter but once its airborne, it rotates and flies like an airplane," said Richard Martindell. 

Martindell is a retired aircraft accident investigator for the Air Force, he’s now an aviation safety consultant and he was active from 1970 to 1991.

He says the Ospreys are a trustworthy aircraft. 

"They have had some accidents that they’ve learned a lot from, both operationally from learning how to fly it with mileage, and some design features they had to fix as well," said Martindell.

On Wednesday, a Marine Corps Osprey aircraft carrying five Marines crashed Wednesday in the Southern California desert near Glamis in Imperial County.

All five Marines on board have been confirmed deceased, according to a release Thursday morning from the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing.

Prior to Wednesday crash, there have been 46 active-duty service members who have died from Osprey crashes.

"On an accident like this, the first thing they do is they go and isolate the training records of all the pilots involved and isolate the maintenance records of the aircraft involved, and the accident ward will go over the info very thoroughly," said Martindell.

The MV-22 or also referred to as, “Marine Vertical” aircraft, can still fly with certain mechanical failures.

"The airplane can actually have an engine fail and still fly because it’s got interconnecting drive shafts," said Martindell.

And while the Osprey’s have been in service since 2007, there have been concerns about its safety.  

It’s had a total of eight crashes. Back in March, four Marines died when aboard an Osprey that crashed in Norway.

And in 2015, one MCAS Miramar based Marine died and 21 were injured, when an Osprey caught fire during a “hard landing” in Hawaii.   

Ringo Fanning was an F-18, fuel system mechanic, and plane captain in the Marines from 1996 to 2001.

He says he’s always had a passion for planes. He’s worked on 12 aircrafts, and he believes while tragic, the fatal crash on Wednesday could save countless Marines in the future. 

"Aircraft maintenance is so meticulous and all the experience, improvements, over all the years is unfortunately, written in blood," said Fanning.

And of course, as a fellow Marine, Fanning says his heart is heavy tonight. 

"My heart goes out to all the family members and family members and Marines because it’s a loss for all," said Fanning.

The Osprey is a joint project of Bell helicopter Textron and Boeing. 

During the trial period of the Osprey aircraft, 19 marines were killed during a training exercise in Arizona in April of 2000.  

WATCH RELATED: 5 Marines killed after Osprey crashes in Southern California desert (June 2022)

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