WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB, OH. --- The Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson will hunt for answers to determine if on-board oxygen generation equipment on the nation’s newest multi-million dollar stealth fighter caused pilots to experience a loss of oxygen in flight.
Researchers expected to start work today at the 711th Human Performance Wing’s $1.5 million On-Board Oxygen Generation System Laboratory to investigate four “OBOGS” units taken off F-35A Lightning II stealth fighter jets based at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz.
The lab has two altitude chambers and a computer-controlled machine that mimics a pilot’s breathing in the cockpit at simulated altitudes up to 100,000 feet, according to George W. Miller, OBOGS research team leader at the 711th Human Performance Wing’s Airman Systems Directorate.
Miller said the research lab is not replicated anywhere else in the world.
“The big takeaway here is we’ve got fully automated capability to duplicate what’s happening on an aircraft and that capability gives us a chance to find out what potentially is at the root cause of these physiological events that are occurring on some of these jets,” he said.
Inside one of the chambers, a simulated pilot wears a helmet and oxygen mask. Cockpit and flight conditions where hypoxia-like incidents were reported can be recreated in the lab, including the breathing gas compounds at the time, he said. (end of excerpt)
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