Spotted: Tiltrotor hovering above Menlo Park – in prep for President Obama’s visit?

by Linda Hubbard on February 10, 2015

First a confession: We had never heard of a tiltrotor until we took a photo of a very loud aircraft hovering in the vicinity of Bay Laurel and Cotton in Menlo Park this afternoon. We, in fact, thought it was a helicopter, and, given that it was accompanied by another large (though smaller) helicopter, we figured they were on an advance scout for President Obama’s visit to Stanford University on Friday.

A little reading on Wikipedia has us straightened out. Re Tiltrotor: “A tiltrotor is an aircraft which generates lift and propulsion by way of one or more powered rotors (sometimes called proprotors) mounted on rotating engine pods or nacelles usually at the ends of a fixed wing or an engine mounted in the fuselage with drive shafts transferring power to rotor assemblies mounted on the wingtips. It combines the vertical lift capability of a helicopter with the speed and range of a conventional fixed-wing aircraft. ”

And as for what kind of helicopter the President flies in: “Marine One is the call sign of any United States Marine Corps aircraft carrying the President of the United States. It usually denotes a helicopter operated by Marine Helicopter Squadron One (HMX-1 ‘Nighthawks’), either the large VH-3D Sea King or the newer, smaller VH-60N ‘WhiteHawk’.”




Mike February 10, 2015 at 4:56 pm

It’s an MV-22 Osprey. It was slated to be the President’s new helicopter but is not currently safe enough to do so. They are in the process of testing it to get it rated for the President’s use.

Michael February 10, 2015 at 6:34 pm

It’s important to know how your money is being wasted:

Rob February 11, 2015 at 9:36 am

Read the book and the author’s follow on research and you will learn what he did as he meticulously followed the aircraft over years of actual performance under battlefield conditions in some of the harshest environmental conditions on the planet. It became the primary “go to” aircraft for the US Marines during the war in Afghanistan and had the best safety record of all their rotorcraft bar none!! Obama has flown on it during a visit to Iraq when he was a Senator campaigning for the Presidency. The US Air Force depends on it for the extraordinary increase in capabilities it provides for their secret Special Operations capabilities around the world (you won’t hear about most of those ops in the press).

Jym Clendenin February 11, 2015 at 6:19 am

About 3 pm I was at SLAC watching the Osprey circle 3 or 4 times rather low overhead. I also thought of the President’s upcoming trip. But “testing?” Would you conduct testing of a new aircraft over a high-population area like this?

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