WASHINGTON, DC --- US Navy pilots flying T-45 Goshawk trainers and F/A-18E/F Super Hornets continue to struggle with oxygen problems, yet the service has found no root cause to date.
The navy grounded its T-45s indefinitely after pilots reported oxygen deprivation. T-45 instructors, but not students, were allowed returned to flying in April but under restrictions. The navy forced instructor pilots to fly under 5,000ft altitude and maintain 2g manoeuvres, an envelope that would not require the use of the use of the on-board oxygen generator system (OBOGS).
During a 13 June Senate hearing, Vice Adm Paul Grosklags, commander of Naval Air Systems Command, told members of Congress that the T-45 pilots often experience breathing gas issues while the F/A-18 pilots report pressurization problems.
“We’re not doing well on the diagnosis,” Grosklags told senators this week. “To date, we have been unable to find any smoking guns.”
Despite testing, the navy has not been able to discover a contaminant in the breathing gas, he says. Several aircraft are undergoing testing at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland, where the service has examined every single component in breathing gas path out of the aircraft from the engine to the mask, he adds. Even after extreme testing, the navy has not found what it considers the cause of contamination or an element being released into the gas. (end of excerpt)
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