Black Helicopters @ George Washinton Bridge ~ 10/28/07

This is an open-ended curiosity post.

My office is very close to the George Washington Bridge in Manhattan, and around 4 I take a half-hour run across and then back every afternoon.

Somewhere between 2 and 3 weeks ago, as I was headed across, an interesting, very military-looking black helicopter flew by, following the Hudson River. Instead of a single overhead rotor, it had two, one each on each of two wings, which were akin to the wings of a small airplane; the rotors did not stick up vertically but instead were slightly canted forward, maybe 12-15°. There didn’t appear to be a tail propeller, although there was a tail.

I continued my run, hit my turnaround point in the NJ side, and headed back. Around mid-bridge, I observed what appeared to be the same plane flying back, except this time the rotors had been repositioned so as to face entirely forward, and the plane was flying not like a helicopter but like a small airplane (i.e., it was moving right along, whereas before although it was making definite progress you could have called it “hovering”).

The turnaround time was at the most 20 minutes and probably a bit less, and I can’t readily think of any place close to the George Washington Bridge where someone could set down an aircraft and do things to it on the ground and then take off again, so I am left with the impression that the pilot converted this sucker from what was essentially a helicoper to a small airplane right there in the air.


a) Anyone know all about this, it’s a known type or model of aircraft? Provide Info?

b) If not, is it something that sounds feasible, to rotate ones propellors in mid-flight from a nearly-vertical asix to straight-ahead on the fly? Do you think I could have confused two similarl-sized black aircraft, one a helicopter and one a small airplane, and it was just coincidence that they were both black and aside from the rotor angle twins of each other?

c) If this is not a commonly known piece of equipment, is there any conceivable reason someone would test equipment still in development by flying it alongside the Hudson River, i.e., under the noses of the most concentrated urban population in north america? For this reason alone I’m expecting Type-a answers, “Yo, AHunter3, did it look like this linkie? Quite popular for traffic reporting, it’s the YC-212 built by Amazon Aero, about 1400 of them in major cities”. But if no one can chime in with a recognition, put me down for a double dose expression of what the fuck.

Does it look like an Osprey? It’s a fixed wing aircraft that goes from plane to helicopter. Sounds a lot like your description.

Could it possibly be an Osprey ?

The only problem is that they aren’t terribly small.

That’s totally it. Awesome. I didn’t know they could do that.

ETA: The one I saw was black and kinda small.

This photo is almost identical to what I saw.

They were doing some of the initial acceptance testing of the Ospreys when I was working on Kirtland Air Force base around 99 or 00. Seeing them fly was one of the few pleasant memorys I have of that job.

I thought the military was almost ready to abandon the Osprey 6-7 years ago, due to safety/stability problems.

Did they manage to iron the bugs out, or am I misremembering?

They supposedly got the bugs ironed out (or at least glossed over) and they were deployed to Iraq last month.

Black Osprey, you say?

Man alive, the MIBs are getting more advanced every day! ::D&R::

I want to believe . . .

Well, it’s certainly feasible, as demonstrated by the Osprey programme. Whether it’s PRACTICAL, and cost-effective, and superior to the traditional ways of doing this is still somewhat open to question, as demonstrated by the Osprey programme.

edit: random link giving the nay-sayer’s perspective.

I can’t believe it was flying! No sooner did a buddy of mine defend that the bugs are out than USA Today (IIRC) reported on more bugs driving up the desire for Congress to kill the funding for this looney bird! (Congress proposes to rename this bird an “Albatross” :wink: )