Tell me, what do you make of this, on one hand we have scores of people protesting the deployment of the Osprey craft in Japan and on the other hand, we have the Japanese Defense Minister, Satoshi Morimoto, riding one from the Pentagon grounds. It was sight to be seen, the minister all dressed in a white flight helmet and goggles and taking position between the pilots, on the flat-gray Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey troop transport.
Undoubtedly the controversial craft is causing a strain the defense ties between the United States and Japan, the recent accidents related to the craft have got the Japanese population weary of its presence on its soil. A shipment of 12 of the aircraft has arrived at Iwakuni Air Station, and people are not impressed with this tilt-rotor aircraft, which takes off like a helicopter but flies like a plane.
Morimoto’s excursion took him to the Marine Corps Base Quantico in northern Virginia and back. The flight headed low from the Pentagon over the Potomac River and went past the vicinity of the cherry tree plantings (planted in 1912), which was a gift from Japan to the US as a friendship gesture. At the Quantico base, Morimoto observed a second Osprey land and evaluated its operation and noise levels. This is in light to the their intended use at Futenma Marine Air Station on Okinawa island.[Via Reuters]