First Osprey Search:

Tapped to assist in a civil search and rescue operation earlier this month, the 58th Special Operations Wing at Kirtland AFB, N.M., put the new CV-22 Osprey into the rescue package that included two HH-60 helicopters and an MC-130P Combat Shadow for aerial refueling, reports Lt. Col. John Bernhart II. The low cloud ceiling hampered civilian operations, but the 58th SOW CV-22 was in the air within two hours for the “200-mile sprint” to the search area. Maintenance crews first had to strip down the HH-60s for the high altitude search, about 11,000 feet. Lia Martin reports that the Osprey crew, first to the search coordinates, searched both sides of the mountain as high as they could under the cloud cover, then orbited until the MC-130 with its sensors could spot the crash site. The Osprey then made a low pass over the site looking for survivors. It then led the two helicopters to the area.