Osprey landing at Purdue kicks off Aerospace District dedication

News 18's Samantha Thieke was at the Purdue Airport when a U.S. Marine Corps Osprey landed for a special tour. She tells us about its significance to the opening of Purdue's new Research Park Aerospace District. (WLFI Photo)

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — In celebration of Thursday’s dedication, a few hundred people got the experience of a lifetime – getting an up-close look at one of the military’s most advanced pieces of equipment.

News 18’s Samantha Thieke was at the Purdue Airport when a U.S. Marine Corps Osprey landed for a special tour. She tells us about its significance to the opening of Purdue’s new Research Park Aerospace District.

“I was surprised at how loud it was because I thought it was going to be quieter,” said Trace Seyfert, who toured the Osprey.

It’s a moment this 10-year-old has been anxiously awaiting.

“It was really surprising to see an actual, functional military aircraft,” Trace Seyfert said.

He loves planes and wants to be a Marine someday. When the opportunity to see the advanced piece of military equipment came along, his mother jumped at the chance to go.

“We just really felt like it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” said Trace’s mother Haley Seyfert. “So I wrote notes to the teachers, and they all agreed that it was worth taking them out of school for the day.”

About 1,500 people braved the cold to watch the arrival of an Osprey Thursday morning, but only 300 people had tickets to get a tour.

Its connection to the event has to do with the plane’s Rolls-Royce engines.

“It shows how high-tech they are and … they have these big functional, technical aircraft that can help them make their jobs easier,” Trace Seyfert said.

That equipment is manufactured in facilities like the newly dedicated Rolls Royce jet engine R&D group in West Lafayette.

Trace said he wouldn’t mind working for the company that makes the Osprey’s flight possible. But for now, he has his heart set on flying one.

“I think it’s really neat because it can help out our country a lot and help protect the civilians,” he said.

After its visit at Purdue University, the Osprey headed back to Washington, D.C. – where it’s a part of the President’s Marine Helicopter Squadron.