In August 2022, the US Air Force had to deal with damage to an aircraft used for special operations.
The CV-22 Osprey – belonging to the US Air Force 7th Special Operations Squadron headquartered at the RAF Mildenhall Air Force Base, UK – performed an emergency landing due to technical problems and got stuck in the Senja Island, in the Stongodden nature reserve, Northern Norway.
On-site repairs weren’t possible therefore the $90-MIO broken-down aircraft – weighing almost 7 tons, 17-m long and 7-m high – had to be dragged by about 80 meters in order to reach the shore and be later removed.
Those “really challenging” 80 metres – as defined by Jim Slife, head of the US Air Force Special Operations Command – were possible by building a makeshift path made of gravel and wooden planks stacked next to each other, making an improvised road for the Osprey down to the shore.
A Jekko SPX532 minicrane owned by the Norwegian company Yngve Simonsen Transport was “enlisted” to handle the materials needed to build the pathway to the shore. A crawler minicrane was the ideal solution to handle heavy materials, preventing the installation of a tower crane and ensuring as little harm as possible to the reserve environment.
Recovery activities have been carefully and jointly planned by the US Air Force, the Norwegian Army and local environmental officers to cause minimum damage to the vulnerable environment of the nature reserve.
The use of a Jekko minicrane was crucial not only to move and lay the materials to build the pathway from the boat to the aircraft but also to reduce the environmental footprint, which is a major aspect to take into account since the yard was in a protected nature reserve.
The electrical Jekko SPX532 is a lithium-battery powered telescopic crawler minicrane featuring compact size and maximum lifting capacity of 3,200 kg. A crane with reduced size and weight combined with elevated lifting capacity is the perfect solution in yards such as this, where a handy and performing machine easy to transport is essential to carry out works as fast as possible.
The use of this model in the outdoor yard at Senja Island ensured a minimum environmental impact and the protection of the Stongodden nature reserve, without harming the surrounding environment and working at zero-emission condition due to the lithium-powered motor.
The recovery operations lasted about one month. Once on its way towards the Norwegian Sea, the US Air Force CV-22 Osprey was floated to the NATO Norwegian air base for maintenance and restarting.
Photos by Norwegian Armed Forces, Tiril Haslestad