Author Topic: O2 Problems With USN Trainers  (Read 2270 times)

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Offline tomahawk6

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O2 Problems With USN Trainers
« on: April 04, 2017, 19:32:05 »
Naval flight instructors have refused to fly the T-45A due to unresolved oxygen issues.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/04/04/navy-instructor-pilots-refusing-to-fly-over-safety-concerns-pences-son-affected.html

EXCLUSIVE: –  More than 100 U.S. Navy instructor pilots are refusing to fly in protest of what they say is the refusal of top brass to adequately address an urgent problem with training jets’ oxygen system, multiple instructor pilots tell Fox News.   

The boycott started late last week and has effectively grounded hundreds of training flights.

“The pilots don’t feel safe flying this aircraft,” one instructor pilot told Fox News.   

Among the hundreds of student pilots affected is Marine 1st Lt. Michael Pence, son of Vice President Pence – a factor that could put added pressure on the Pentagon to resolve the dispute.

Offline Colin P

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Re: O2 Problems With USN Trainers
« Reply #1 on: April 05, 2017, 12:09:38 »
this seems to be a recurring theme in US jets lately

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Re: O2 Problems With USN Trainers
« Reply #2 on: April 05, 2017, 12:33:50 »
http://cdrsalamander.blogspot.ca/2017/04/the-ips-revolt.html

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

The IPs Revolt

When you can't breath, nothing else matters.

 Take your stereotypical Naval Aviator; cocky, aggressive, devil-may-care, hour-hounding etc, etc ... now double it.

 That is your standard issue Navy Instructor Pilot. More often than not, the top pilots coming out of their first tour go on to some kind of billet as an Instructor Pilot at their FRS or a VT squadron.

 Keep that in mind.

 Via Lucas Tomlinson, the Pentagon and State Department producer for Fox News, this is something.

More than 100 U.S. Navy instructor pilots are refusing to fly in protest of what they say is the refusal of top brass to adequately address an urgent problem with training jets’ oxygen system, multiple instructor pilots tell Fox News.

 The boycott started late last week and has effectively grounded hundreds of training flights.

“The pilots don’t feel safe flying this aircraft,” one instructor pilot told Fox News.

Vice Adm. Mike Shoemaker, head of naval aviation, told Fox News in an exclusive interview that the training jet issue is the “number one safety priority” across naval aviation right now.

“Right now we don't have the smoking gun,” he cautioned.
 In the last five years, physiological episodes, caused in part by problems with the oxygen system, have nearly quadrupled on the T-45 training jet,


Last week, a student from training squadron VT-86 in Pensacola, Fla., had to be “dragged out” of his jet because he became “incapacitated” from the faulty oxygen system, according to two flight instructors.

 In March, a British exchange instructor pilot with thousands of hours in the cockpit had to conduct an emergency landing during a training flight near Meridian, Miss., after both he and his student experienced hypoxic symptoms.

 In August, a flight instructor and his student were forced to eject near Kingsville, Texas, when they felt symptoms of hypoxia, crashing the multi-million dollar jet.  Both pilots ejected safely and were not seriously injured.

 Last month, there were 10 episodes in T-45s, according to Shoemaker.

 Anticipating the pilot protest, the Navy sent a team of engineers and other specialists this week to its T-45 training bases in Kingsville, Meridian and Pensacola for talks with the pilots.

 A meeting Tuesday in Meridian “got heated,” Fox News is told.  The pilots told the civilians from Navy Air Systems Command their complaints about the oxygen system were being ignored. When a senior Navy pilot showed photos of a faulty oxygen system he claimed had been sent up to NAVAIR’s headquarters in Maryland, the engineers said they never received the photos.

 Navy spokeswoman Cmdr. Jeannie Groeneveld acknowledged that 40 percent of instructor pilots refused to fly their training flights Friday. A flight instructor said the number was closer to 75 percent, because the Navy reduced the flight schedule knowing more than half the pilots would refuse to fly.

 Shoemaker said following a meeting in Kingsville, flights there had resumed. 
Navy IPs are not drama mamas. They are not type-B personalities who look for excuses not to fly. They do not make stuff up except for liberty stories.

 ...and JOPA ain't changed;

 



 
 I don't think this is a helpful response;

“We have been working this for five, six years now to try to get to the bottom of this,” one official said.

 Both officials acknowledged “communication problems” between the upper echelon of the Navy and the instructors.

 Six months ago, the Navy sent the T-45 and other jet squadrons Sorbent tubes to measure the air the pilots were breathing. After each flight, the tubes were sent to a lab in Maryland for analysis. After 1,500 flights worth of air samples, the results remain inconclusive.

“We haven’t come up with anything conclusive … showing a contaminant or something like that,” a senior official said.

 The instructor pilots see it differently.

“They sent our squadron six tubes,” one pilot said. “That’s part of the frustration. They are doing the absolute minimum.”
A longer period of time than it took to develop the atomic bomb. Longer to fight WWII.

 And yet ...

The dangers with the oxygen system are not limited to the T-45 training jets either. U.S. Navy F/A-18 Hornets have been known to suffer similar problems.
As was stated earlier, this is not a new problem. Bad on me, Meghann Myers at NavyTimes wrote about this 11 months ago;

"There’s only one thing that scares the s--- out of guys that fly the airplane, and it’s OBOGS," the pilot said in an interview.

 That day in Nevada, the pilot and the NFO pulled out their backup oxygen bottles, landed the plane and met with the squadron's safety officer to file a report. It turned out, the pilot said, that the jet's OBOGS had stopped producing oxygen. What's more, he added, the filtering material inside the system had just been cleaned and it was the jet's first flight with a fresh oxygen generator.

 That was back in 2007, when aviators reported annually a dozen or so reports of physiological episodes — the technical term for the effects when a plane stops producing oxygen, pumps a toxin into the cockpit or loses pressurization.

 The rates were troubling. In 2010, Navy aviation pushed to get pilots and aircrew to report every time they thought they'd had an episode. And NAVAIR engineers focused on how to improve OBOGS and the environmental control system — the pieces of the airplane that keep clean, dry air circulating.

 Navy officials say it's progress that more fliers are recognizing and reporting physiological episodes. They say the causes of these distressing incidents are varied across the air systems' dozens of components, many of which have been modified and are now being more regularly checked. Meanwhile, engineers work to develop sensors that detect air contamination and low oxygen levels.

 The Navy's air warfare director summed up the dilemma in a tense exchange during a February hearing.

 "It’s like chasing a ghost," said Rear Adm. Mike "Nasty" Manazir, a career Navy pilot. "You can’t figure it out, because the monitoring devices that do this are not on the airplane."
 ...
 The air flow issues have bedeviled the Navy and Marine Corps' fleet of F/A-18 Hornets, EA-18G Growlers and T-45C Goshawk trainers, all of which use the OBOGS. In the case of air contamination, there are no warning systems to alert the aviators breathing disorienting and potentially deadly gases. Complicating the assessment of the breadth of the incidents is the general reluctance of pilots to report what seem to be physiological problems, which can remove their flight status.

 Meanwhile, the reported number of events is skyrocketing. Aviators reported 15 physiological episodes in 2009, concentrated in strike aircraft and the trainer jets that aviators learn on, according to Naval Safety Center data.

 By 2015, the fleet reported an eight-fold increase to 115 episodes: 31 in the T-45C Goshawk trainer and 41 in Hornet variants, plus 19 in the EA-18G Growler. The Marines also reported a spike that year, including hypoxia and OBOGS failure in the brand new F-35B joint strike fighters and seven more events involving its legacy Hornets, as the F/A-18 A through D variants are known.
 ...
 "I’ve been flying Navy airplanes since 1982 on oxygen," testified Manazir. "I commanded an F-14 squadron that had OBOGS back in 1998. I have two cruises on that system and I have four cruises on the Super Hornet. I’ve never experienced a hypoxic event."

 If the Navy were concerned about the safety of the jets, he added, they would ground the fleet.

 But inside ready rooms, his comments landed like a ton of bricks.

 "We have definitely upped the reporting since 2010 and it is a huge issue for us," the East Coast pilot said. "In my opinion, the admiral is just lucky that he has never had an incident."

 The West Coast pilot shared that disappointment.

 "I have a concern. I have a huge concern. Lots of guys have concerns. That’s the perfect time to go, 'We have a problem and we need the funding to get it fixed,' " he said. "If that’s for a media comment, then I get it. But if that’s what he’s really thinking, then I’m disappointed."

 The pilot also pointed out that Manazir's timeline suggests his first 16 years flying were with liquid oxygen pumping into his mask, a system which OBOGS replaced.

 "I would say, go to his log book and take all of the LOX flights out of there, and those numbers are going to come way down," he said. "We’ve got guys who have never been hypoxic, and guys who have been multiple times."
Her article goes in a to a lot of detail on the OBOGS. Read it all.

 I can't get over on how long we are taking to solve this problem. BZ to the IPs for keeping up the pressure.

 So, how long would it take and how much money to either convert back to LOX until we ID the problem or fix it like the USAF did with the F-22? Is either an option?

 If not, what is Plan C?

 Or are we going to play management for Convair and McDonald-Douglas to Dan Applegate's memo? Just put a price on dead Naval Aviators and figure that is cheaper than fixing a hard problem?

Offline Chris Pook

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Re: O2 Problems With USN Trainers
« Reply #3 on: April 05, 2017, 12:49:59 »
So,

T45 (BAE Hawk) Oxygen Problems - Above

This is on top of the same type of problems with the F18 (A/B/C/D/E/F and the EA-18G Growler), the F22 and the F35.

https://www.navytimes.com/story/military/2016/05/08/nothing-scares-hornet-pilots-more-than-losing-oxygen-and-happens-all-time/82255406/

Apparently breathing is a good thing.
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Offline tomahawk6

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Re: O2 Problems With USN Trainers
« Reply #4 on: April 05, 2017, 20:22:20 »
The Navy has now grounded the T-45 fleet.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/04/05/us-navy-grounds-t-45-training-jet-fleet-following-fox-news-report.html

The U.S. Navy announced Wednesday it has grounded all T-45 Goshawk jet training flights for three days, after Fox News reported that up to 100 instructor pilots were refusing to fly the aircraft citing problems with its oxygen system.

“We take the concerns of our aircrew seriously and have directed a ... safety pause for the T-45 community to allow time for Naval Aviation leadership to engage with the pilots, hear their concerns and discuss the risk mitigations as well as the efforts that are ongoing to correct this issue,” Navy spokeswoman Cmdr. Jeannie Groeneveld said in an email to Fox News Wednesday.

As Fox News reported Tuesday, the boycott started late last week and had effectively grounded hundreds of training flights already.

The head of U.S. Navy flight training, Rear Adm. Dell Bull, was supposed to visit pilots at Naval Air Station in Meridian, Miss., Wednesday, but cancelled that visit abruptly to brief senior Naval officers on a video teleconference from Pensacola, multiple Navy officials told Fox News.

Offline Colin P

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Re: O2 Problems With USN Trainers
« Reply #5 on: April 06, 2017, 12:20:20 »
Can they retrofit more O2 bottles into the aircraft and it seems having gas sensors instream would be the thing to do?

Offline tomahawk6

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Re: O2 Problems With USN Trainers
« Reply #6 on: April 06, 2017, 13:03:02 »
The Commander Salamander article goes in depth into the issue. What jumped out at me was this paragraph:

Quote
The air flow issues have bedeviled the Navy and Marine Corps' fleet of F/A-18 Hornets, EA-18G Growlers and T-45C Goshawk trainers, all of which use the OBOGS. In the case of air contamination, there are no warning systems to alert the aviators breathing disorienting and potentially deadly gases. Complicating the assessment of the breadth of the incidents is the general reluctance of pilots to report what seem to be physiological problems, which can remove their flight status.

Put a warning system in the cockpit and fix the oxygen generator. I am alarmed that this issue affects most of naval aviation including the F-35B.The USAF had a similar issue and was able to fix it.

Offline Chris Pook

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Re: O2 Problems With USN Trainers
« Reply #7 on: April 06, 2017, 13:09:08 »
Quote
The Air Force's F-22 Raptor has suffered from similar problems. After hypoxia concerns arose in 2011, the brass grounded the F-22 fleet for four months. After they resumed flying, two F-22 fliers went on "60 Minutes" to say they wouldn't fly the aircraft until the problems were fixed. In July 2012, the Air Force said it had fixed the faulty valve on the pilot's life support vest that was causing the oxygen deprivation.

The Air Force also added an automatic backup oxygen system, while the Navy has stuck to its manual procedure.

In a safety survey of Hornet and EA-18G Growler squadrons early this year, OBOGS was ranked number one of 100 listed problems, with 19 out of 26 reporting squadrons rating their concerns a 10 out of 10.

Other top concerns included a lack of an oxygen monitor in the aircrew mask, cabin pressure surging and lack of cabin pressure testing equipment — all issues that can result in physiological episodes.

You can't control what you don't measure.
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Offline AirDet

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Re: O2 Problems With USN Trainers
« Reply #8 on: April 06, 2017, 15:29:50 »
De-modifying the legacy aircraft would be difficult but so long as the equipment (Storage Spheres, converters, etc) are still in supply (and serviceable) it could be done. Changing the Super Hornets would likely be a major undertaking. Let's not forget that the reason OBOGS came into being was to eliminate the storage of LOX on carriers. The newest ships don't even have LOX facilities.

I imaging they'll be taking a much closer look at the USAF solution.

Regardless, it won't be solved overnight.
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Offline tomahawk6

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Re: O2 Problems With USN Trainers
« Reply #9 on: April 06, 2017, 19:07:21 »
Has the CAF had similar oxygen issues in the Hornet ?

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Re: O2 Problems With USN Trainers
« Reply #10 on: April 06, 2017, 19:47:46 »
Has the CAF had similar oxygen issues in the Hornet ?
I believe our Hornets use a LOX system, but, I'm sure Supersonic Max will shortly be by to correct me if I'm wrong.

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Re: O2 Problems With USN Trainers
« Reply #11 on: April 06, 2017, 20:39:39 »
I believe our Hornets use a LOX system, but, I'm sure Supersonic Max will shortly be by to correct me if I'm wrong.

Shhh!   It's probably a cabinet secret.
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Re: O2 Problems With USN Trainers
« Reply #12 on: April 06, 2017, 21:15:44 »
I believe our Hornets use a LOX system, but, I'm sure Supersonic Max will shortly be by to correct me if I'm wrong.

Our hornets use LOX.

Offline tomahawk6

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Re: O2 Problems With USN Trainers
« Reply #13 on: April 15, 2017, 23:29:03 »
The T-45's will resume flights Monday but will stay below 10,000 feet until the problem is found.

https://www.yahoo.com/news/navy-jets-modified-determines-oxygen-problem-231013957.html

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — The U.S. Navy on Saturday said it will allow a fleet of its training jets to fly again under modified conditions while it determines what's causing a lack of oxygen in some cockpits.

Vice Adm. Mike Shoemaker said in a statement that its nearly 200 T-45C aircraft will resume flights as early as Monday after being grounded for more than a week.

Its pilots had become increasingly concerned late last month after seeing a spike in incidents in which some personnel weren't getting enough oxygen. The concerned pilots had declined to fly on more than 90 flights.

Instructors and students will now wear modified masks in the two-seat trainers. They will also fly below 10,000 feet to avoid use of on-board oxygen generating systems.

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Re: O2 Problems With USN Trainers
« Reply #14 on: April 16, 2017, 00:58:40 »
Any issues with the Hawks our pilots train on, or do they use a different oxygen system than the T-45C?

Offline Downhiller229

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Re: O2 Problems With USN Trainers
« Reply #15 on: April 16, 2017, 17:02:46 »
Any issues with the Hawks our pilots train on, or do they use a different oxygen system than the T-45C?

Our Hawks just use bottled oxygen and are fairly different then the T-45. The Harvards have an OBOGS that fails relatively often but doesn't seem to have the same issue as the US fleet

Offline Rifleman62

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Re: O2 Problems With USN Trainers
« Reply #16 on: May 11, 2017, 18:52:40 »
The Gal who is reporting is a former USN F/A-18 pilot. Put this report here as it is 02 problems.

http://video.foxnews.com/v/5430711536001/?#sp=show-clips

Pilots warn about danger in cockpit of some F/A-18 jets
- May. 11, 2017 - 3:09 - Lea Gabrielle reports

Wikipedia military bio extract:1997 graduate of the United States Naval Academy, earning a bachelor of science in mechanical engineering.[1] Entering the active-duty Navy after graduation, Gabrielle attended the U.S. Navy Flight School at Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida from 1998 to 2000,[1] earning her Naval Aviator Wings. She is also qualified with an instrument rating and as a commercial pilot.[1]
She served in the United States Navy for twelve years and was a fighter pilot of the single-seat F/A-18 "Hornet," with combat deployment from USS George Washington. Her call sign as a pilot was "Flower".[6] Additional duties were as a landing signal officer (LSO) and as a squadron public affairs officer.[1] She also served as an intelligence operations officer during Operation Enduring Freedom,[7] and while in Afghanistan she was embedded with a Navy SEAL unit conducting intelligence operations.[7] She was also a defense foreign liaison officer.[1]
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