It's A Plane... It's A Chopper... It's An Osprey! : Blog Of The Nation After 25 years, more than $20 billion, and crashes that killed 30 men, the V-22 Osprey is headed to duty in Iraq. Is it ready? Time Magazine's Mark Thompson talks about the "plane that wouldn't die."
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It's A Plane... It's A Chopper... It's An Osprey!

It's A Plane... It's A Chopper... It's An Osprey!

Listen to this 'Talk of the Nation' topic

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/14894958/14895670" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Dynamo or dinosaur? Source: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Source: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

It feels like we've heard stories about the imminent demise of the V-22 Osprey for years now. Actually, it's more like decades. This is the military plane that looks and flies like a regular airplane, but lands and takes off like a helicopter (the rotors twist roughly 90-degrees). When he was Secretary of Defense, Dick Cheney tried to ground the project four times. But remember, congress has the "power of the purse," not the Pentagon. And representatives funded it anyway, which often brought jobs and business contracts to their districts. Now, after 25-years in development, the deaths of 30 men in crashes, and some $20 billion, what critics call a shorthanded Osprey is headed to Iraq. Mark Thompson did a nice piece on "The Plane that Wouldn't Die" for Time magazine. He'll be on the show today to talk about how to plane survived, and what the whole process tells us about the way Washington works (or doesn't, as he put it).