Boeing? No. Bell? No. General Motors? Yes! The JV-22 Osprey Story

Last week, we published a few curious photos of a strange-looking Osprey/Jimmy on our Facebook page. At a cursory glance, the photos were comedic in nature, but we had a feeling they were somehow authentic. We posted the photos in the hopes of finding more information about the bizarre Osprey/Jimmy hybrid.. 

Seems legit…

Leave it to our amazing followers to answer that call. Trust me, there were plenty of jokesters and hilarious comments questioning the authenticity of the photos. While two of the three photos proved to be the real McCoy, there was one that had clearly been doctored to appear as though the Jimmy had somehow actually taken flight and was on descent, landing on the tarmac of an aircraft carrier

Just some of the crazy comments we received questioning the authenticity of the JV-22.

After sifting through the barrage of comments, and coming up empty, we’ll admit we were discouraged. But, just when we had all but given up hope of finding out how this crazy truck/plane, Pluck? Tlane? Plickup? Came to be, our virtual prayers were answered. 

We received a private message (very espionage, much James Bond) from a reliable source. The private message provided us with everything we needed to put all of those would-be jokesters in their place and prove at least some of the photos were in-fact real! The source was Trevor Strand, a flight test engineer for the Department of the Navy, who had direct involvement in creating this awesome piece of automotive, and aeronautical machinery. 

Without further ado, we give you Trevor’s message:

“My name is Trevor Strand. I am a flight test engineer for the Department of the Navy, in a US government organization known as NAVAIR. The story of the JV-22 Osprey began in August 2011 in Logan Utah. In 2011 the MV-22 Osprey was being evaluated for multiple improvements – mainly hover performance in high altitude environments.”

Speaking of high-altitude!

“A select team of 45 people including mechanics, aerospace engineers, USMC and Bell test pilots, Bell Helicopter employees, Boeing employees and other support personnel were sent from Patuxent Navel Airstation to Logan, UT. For two months. The team lived in Logan UT to test the aircraft and evaluate details for improvents. The test aircraft belongs to a Navy Test and Evaluation squadron know as HX-21. Although this is a military squadron it is unlike most military squadrons, in that, it is mostly civilian with only a few Marine military officers (test pilots).”

“Our test squadron is mostly removed from typical military operations and focuses on detailed engineering analysis and development of aircraft for eventual deployment into military operations. While in Logan UT, a few team members noticed a Jimmy SUV for sale on the side of the road. A few people started a collection among the team to buy the vehicle. Every day the test aircraft was being towed far from the hangar to a test site, the maintenance crew and support team needed something easy to haul equipment and people to and from the aircraft.”

It’s hard to believe the team went from this to their final product in less than two months!

“The Jimmy seemed like a fun way for the team to move people to and from the test site. We called the owner of the Jimmy and asked him to meet us at the vehicle. He met up with us at lunch and was surprised to see 8-10 people (some with US military flight suits) surrounding the vehicle. We asked if he would get in and drive it to our hanger in an isolated hanger at the airport. He was confused, but complied and drove to the airport.”

Only true visionaries could dream up what came next for this tired Jimmy…Either that, or they were really bored.

“We showed him our test aircraft and told him the team wanted to buy the vehicle as a fun project and support vehicle. He was elated by our interest and immediately got his son to come out to the airport as well. Needless to say he sold us the vehicle below the asking price and promised to routinely check in on us.”

“Our mechanics immediately jumped on the project inspiring the the entire team to make this the best mascot possible. The name was created, JV-22 (J For Jimmy) (MV-22 is the Marine Variant, CV-22 is the Air Force variant). Aerodynamicist created propellors, engineers created wings and nacelles, and everyone on the team pitched in on making it look like a V-22 Osprey as much as possible.”

Down to the refueling probe, the Jimmy is basically an Osprey with a bench seat. HA!

“After weeks of work the team was very excited and it wasn’t hard to convince everyone to pitch in some money to make it better. The JV-22 Osprey was born and we shared the vehicle among the team for a few weeks to perform various tasks at the Logan airport. Eventually the USMC test pilots found an area near the airport they thought they could “jump” the JV. After a few attempts the realized they really could make the JV-22 Fly.”

These guys really know how to have fun.

“We created the Video and published it on YouTube in 2011 with limited views other than team members. As the MV-22 Osprey community grew rapidly from 2011 until today, even most military squadrons don’t know the back story of the Jimmy JV-22. Photos of the JV-22 are on walls all over the world at Marine squadrons. I don’t know how many people really know that it was a small group of engineers and test pilots in a small UT town.”

This is just one of those stories that makes us so thankful to be a part of the hot-rodding community. It goes to show, car guys will always be car guys. Thanks so much to Trevor for sharing their story with us. What is your favorite part of their JV-22 Jimmy/Osprey build?

About the author

Vinny Costa

Fast cars, motorcycles, and loud music are what get Vinny’s blood pumping. Catch him behind the wheel of his ’68 Firebird. Chances are, Black Sabbath will be playing in the background.
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