RIDLEY PARK, Pa. (CBS) – The sprawling Boeing Plant in Ridley Park was on life support when a revolutionary concept in aviation changed its course.

The Marine Corps needed a new aircraft to improve its ability to move troops and equipment for combat or rescue missions. A KYW reporter recalls that when the first V-22 Osprey was unveiled in flight at the plant, he never knew it was coming until the sound of thunder boomed directly overhead.

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Something new was in the air, and it was designed and built by a partnership between Boeing and Bell of Texas.

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It was 1989 and KYW listeners heard a description of the aircrafts unique ability to take off like a helicopter, tilt its rotors 90 degrees and then sprint away with the speed of a plane.

The Osprey put the brakes on job reductions at the plant. But crashes and costs were producing skeptics.

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The Osprey prevailed and to date over 200 are in the air.