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I got interested in Tiltrotor type of airplanes and was reading up about some specific models, the AgustaWestland AW609 and the Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey. Both planes have a history of quite a few crashes.

That's where my question comes from: Are tiltrotor planes generally less safe than conventional propellor planes of similar size?

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  • $\begingroup$ The Osprey had some horrendous development and early service problems but is turning out to be statistically safer than an equivalent helicopter as it's maturing. But compared to a fixed wing propeller driven airplane definitely less safe from a technical perspective. Just way more things to go wrong. $\endgroup$ – John K Jun 22 at 13:04
  • $\begingroup$ You are going to need a definition of safe before this can have a good answer. $\endgroup$ – AEhere Jun 22 at 13:04
  • $\begingroup$ John K's comment addresses the Osprey well. For the AW609: well, it's not on the market yet and all problems so far have been during test flights, which are supposed to find the limits of the aircraft. How do you find the limits? Well, you do ever more crazy stuff until the aircraft starts to do crazy stuff. And then you know where the limit is, i.e. you have to cross the limit to find it. There is a reason test flights are performed by specially trained test pilots, who often wear parachutes, and sometimes the test aircraft are even equipped with special escape systems. They do crash. $\endgroup$ – Jörg W Mittag Jun 22 at 17:57
  • $\begingroup$ Also, note that according to Wikipedia's list of tilt rotors, only 19 have ever flown and 12 of those are classified as experimental or testbed. 4 are UAVs. So, there are only 3 tilt rotor aircraft which are not either experimental or UAVs (which generally have different tradeoffs than passenger or cargo aircraft), leaving a total of 3 tilt rotors that have actually flown of which only 1 is already in active service. That is a lot less experience than we have with fixed-wing fixed-propulsion aircraft. $\endgroup$ – Jörg W Mittag Jun 22 at 18:05
  • $\begingroup$ @JohnK Makes sense. And it is a good point to compare it with helicopters as well. $\endgroup$ – halloleo Jun 23 at 4:55

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