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Norwegian authorities have come up with a plan to return an $80 million V-22 Osprey to the U.S. Air Force while protecting a priceless piece of ecosystem. As we reported last month, the Air Force grounded its Special Forces Ospreys after slipping clutches in the complex transmission that distributes power from the engines to the rotors caused power imbalances in three aircraft. One of those Ospreys was put down in a nature preserve on an island in the northernmost part of Norway on Aug. 12. No one was injured and the aircraft is undamaged.

The tiltrotor is sunk to its gear doors in the Norwegian nature preserve, and Norway wasn’t anxious to bulldoze a path into the landing site to haul the Osprey out. So, the Norwegians are proposing building a wooden path over the natural landscape to get the aircraft close enough to the ocean that it can be plucked off the island with a crane ship. The plan is to lift the Osprey off the shore of the island intact. The Air Force is reviewing the plan, but the Norwegians want to get going. “Weather and wind in Norway this time of the year can change quite quickly, and is an important factor to consider,” Norwegian Air Force spokesman Lt. Col. Elvind Byre said. “Hopefully we will be able to start the operation this weekend.”

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