MARANA, Ariz. -- The Pentagon won't fly the Marine Corps' four remaining Osprey aircraft until investigators determine what caused a fifth to crash during a nighttime training mission, killing all 19 aboard.
Marine officials said the MV-22 tiltrotor Osprey did not have a black-box voice recorder but did carry a flight data recorder that federal investigators would study.
Investigators spent Sunday reviewing the crash site at Marana Northwest Regional Airport about 30 miles northwest of Tucson, but released few details. There was no immediate indication what caused the Saturday crash, said Capt. Rob Winchester, a Pentagon spokesman. The flight data recorder has not yet been removed from the wreckage, Winchester said today.
The father of one of the victims, Staff Sgt. William Bryan Nelson, said his son considered the plane ''experimental'' and that it frequently encountered mechanical problems.
''He told me it was so fragile,'' said William D. Nelson, whose son was among four crew members from a task force based at Quantico, Va. ''He didn't think it was very ready to fly yet.''
The Osprey, similar to a turboprop, is part of a new generation of aircraft scheduled to replace all of the Marines' primary troop-transport helicopters. The military began flying the aircraft six months ago despite lingering questions about costs and safety.
Military officials said the downed aircraft was in the process of shifting its propellers from airplane function to helicopter mode when it went down about 500 yards from a runway.
It was one of two Ospreys simulating the evacuation of civilians from an embassy in a hostile country, said Marine Lt. Mark Carter, a spokesman for the Yuma air station.
Authorities said the victims include the four crew members from Quantico, Va., 14 Marines from Camp Pendleton, Calif., and one Marine from Marine Corps Air Station-Miramar in San Diego County.
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