The Dream Machine by Richard Whittle
The Untold History of the Notorious V-22 Osprey

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Synopsis

WHEN THE MARINES decided to buy a helicopter-airplane hybrid “tiltrotor” called the V-22 Osprey, they saw it as their dream machine. The tiltrotor was the aviation equivalent of finding the Northwest Passage: an aircraft able to take off, land, and hover with the agility of a helicopter yet fly as fast and as far as an airplane. Many predicted it would reshape civilian aviation. The Marines saw it as key to their very survival.

 

By 2000, the Osprey was nine years late and billions over budget, bedeviled by technological hurdles, business rivalries, and an epic political battle over whether to build it at all. Opponents called it one of the worst boondoggles in Pentagon history. The Marines were eager to put it into service anyway. Then two crashes killed twenty- three Marines. They still refused to abandon the Osprey, even after the Corps’ own proud reputation was tarnished by a national scandal over accusations that a commander had ordered subordinates to lie about the aircraft’s problems.

 

Based on in-depth research and hundreds of interviews, The Dream Machine recounts the Marines’ quarter-century struggle to get the Osprey into combat. Whittle takes the reader from the halls of the Pentagon and Congress to the war zone of Iraq, from the engineer’s drafting table to the cockpits of the civilian and Marine pilots who risked their lives flying the Osprey—and sometimes lost them. He reveals the methods, motives, and obsessions of those who designed, sold, bought, flew, and fought for the tiltrotor. These stories, including never before published eyewitness accounts of the crashes that made the Osprey notorious, not only chronicle an extraordinary chapter in Marine Corps history, but also provide a fascinating look at a machine that could still revolutionize air travel.
 

About Richard Whittle

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Richard Whittle is author of The Dream Machine: The Untold History of the Notorious V-22 Osprey. A Global Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center and 2013-14 Verville Fellow at the National Air and Space Museum, Whittle has covered the military for three decades, including twenty-two years as Pentagon correspondent for The Dallas Morning News. He lives in Chevy Chase, Maryland.
 
Published April 27, 2010 by Simon & Schuster. 476 pages
Genres: History, War, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction

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An inside view of the difficult birth of a tactical vehicle that, at least for a time, was a defense contractor's dream and a politician's terror.

Dec 27 2010 | Read Full Review of The Dream Machine: The Untold...

The Washington Post

Since 1983, when the government handed Bell Helicopters its first contract for a transport that could take off and land like a helicopter but fly like an airplane, the Osprey has cost taxpayers $54 billion, killed 30 people, been grounded several times, endured horrible publicity and survived the...

Apr 25 2010 | Read Full Review of The Dream Machine: The Untold...

Marine Corps Gazette

This is rightfully so, particularly as the battle and battlefield itself still offer a powerfully unique opportunity for Marines and others to better understand Marine Corps heritage and 'esprit de corps.' Read full article.

Sep 29 2010 | Read Full Review of The Dream Machine: The Untold...

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