F-35s Grounded Luke AFB Pilots Report Hypoxia-Like Symptoms

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Unread post17 Jun 2017, 04:15

While F-35 Incidents Still Mysterious, Return to Flight Expected Soon
19 Jun 2017 [yes we are not there yet] John A. Tirpak

"...The incidents affected five different pilots and five different aircraft from different production lots, so there were no common factors, Leonard said, nor were any of the procedures in maintenance or in the life support shop found to be improper or inadequate. The only consistency, he noted, were that the incidents occurred at about the same altitude or “cabin altitude”—the air pressure inside the cockpit. The intense scrutiny partnered “experts and engineers with operators,” and while flying is set to begin again, the investigation will continue.

In the meantime, Leonard believes flying can safely resume with several restrictions and “more robust” procedures. Those include avoiding the “flight regime”—the altitude and maneuvers—associated with the five incidents, but Leonard declined to identify what those are for fear that it would preclude an open-minded approach to finding the true root cause of the problem.

Leonard said scrutiny continues of the On-Board Oxygen Generating System (OBOGS), which was involved in a similar issue with the F-22 several years ago. He allowed that it’s “a possibility” the F-35 suffers from a problem similar to Navy F/A-18s and T-45s, which also have had OBOGS issues in recent months, “but we have not been able to test that, yet.”...

...There have been 23 cases of physiological incidents with the F-35 since the first examples began flying, and 10 of those—including the five affecting Luke jets—remain unsolved, Leonard observed. Of the 23 incidents, 10 affected F-35As, three affected F-35Bs, and five involved F-35Cs. He declined to discuss the specific symptoms of the five affected Luke pilots, noting that physiological symptoms of hypoxia and other breathing-related physiological issues differ from person to person...."

Source: http://www.airforcemag.com/Features/Pag ... -Soon.aspx
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Unread post17 Jun 2017, 08:29

spazsinbad wrote:
While F-35 Incidents Still Mysterious, Return to Flight Expected Soon
19 Jun 2017 [yes we are not there yet] John A. Tirpak

"...The incidents affected five different pilots and five different aircraft from different production lots, so there were no common factors, Leonard said, nor were any of the procedures in maintenance or in the life support shop found to be improper or inadequate. The only consistency, he noted, were that the incidents occurred at about the same altitude or “cabin altitude”—the air pressure inside the cockpit. The intense scrutiny partnered “experts and engineers with operators,” and while flying is set to begin again, the investigation will continue.

In the meantime, Leonard believes flying can safely resume with several restrictions and “more robust” procedures. Those include avoiding the “flight regime”—the altitude and maneuvers—associated with the five incidents, but Leonard declined to identify what those are for fear that it would preclude an open-minded approach to finding the true root cause of the problem.

Leonard said scrutiny continues of the On-Board Oxygen Generating System (OBOGS), which was involved in a similar issue with the F-22 several years ago. He allowed that it’s “a possibility” the F-35 suffers from a problem similar to Navy F/A-18s and T-45s, which also have had OBOGS issues in recent months, “but we have not been able to test that, yet.”...

...There have been 23 cases of physiological incidents with the F-35 since the first examples began flying, and 10 of those—including the five affecting Luke jets—remain unsolved, Leonard observed. Of the 23 incidents, 10 affected F-35As, three affected F-35Bs, and five involved F-35Cs. He declined to discuss the specific symptoms of the five affected Luke pilots, noting that physiological symptoms of hypoxia and other breathing-related physiological issues differ from person to person...."

Source: http://www.airforcemag.com/Features/Pag ... -Soon.aspx



The tentative criteria are :

- Temporarily restricting the F-35A’s flight envelope, as all five aircraft were operating at a similar altitude when symptoms occurred. Leonard declined to detail how the jet’s flight profile could be altered.
- Having pilots wear sensors that measure his or her oxygen levels, which would allow analysts to make correlations between what the jet is doing with the operator’s physiological experience. Leonard said no decision has been made on this point yet, but the U.S. Air Force used similar measures when it dealt with hypoxia incidents involving the F-22.
- Ensuring backup oxygen systems are kept “as full and capable as they can be” before every flight.
- Mitigating physiological risk to pilots as they perform operations on the ground, so they aren’t exposed to excessively high heat or harmful exhaust gases on the ramp.
- Improving pilot training on how to respond to physiological events and increasing communication across the medical and operations community.

:)
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Unread post20 Jun 2017, 07:45

Luke AFB to resume flights Wed.

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Luke Air Force Base will resume flights of F-35 fighter jets Wednesday after experts and engineers investigated a series of events in which pilots reported symptoms of oxygen deprivation, base officials said Monday.

Officials with the 56th Fighter Wing at Luke said no specific root cause for the events was identified. But specific concerns were eliminated as possible causes including maintenance and aircrew flight equipment procedures.

Luke officials said five criteria are being applied to flights as technical and human performance data continues to be gathered.

Those criteria are:

— Avoid the altitudes in which all five hypoxia events occurred

— Modify ground procedures to mitigate physiological risks to pilots

— Expand physiological training to increase understanding between pilot and medical communities

— Increase minimum levels for backup oxygen systems for each flight

— Offer pilots the option of wearing sensors during flight to collect airborne human performance data


More at the jump

https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states ... estigation
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Unread post20 Jun 2017, 08:59

Also posted here earlier by 'zerion' but that is the nature of many threads about same topic:

viewtopic.php?f=22&t=53162&p=369936&hilit=Resume#p369936
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Unread post21 Jun 2017, 09:12

Luke F-35s To Resume Flying, With Temporary Restrictions
20 Jun 2017 Lara Seligman

"...The team is still working "tirelessly" to better understand the physiological events, said Brig. Gen. Brook Leonard, the 56th Fighter Wing commander. The problem "is a complex challenge that necessitates multidimensional solutions across a series of steps to get back to a full operating capability," he stressed.

"We are confident that this initial step with the criteria our team developed will allow us to return to flying F-35s safely and to continue building the future of airpower," he added.

The team has been examining each component of the F-35's Onboard Oxygen Generation System (OBOGS) for a flaw, said Lt. Col. Todd Canterbury, chief of the Air Force's F-35 integration office, during a media briefing at the Paris Air Show. In addition, the investigators are looking at several other factors to find a common thread: production lot, software configuration and maintenance procedures. The impacted aircraft come from low-rate, initial-production lots 6, 7 and 8 and are in the 2B and 3i software configuration.

The Air Force is not even sure the incidents are actually related to hypoxia, Canterbury stressed. The could be caused by hypocapnia— excess oxygen in the blood—or other physiological events that manifest similar symptoms.

"It's still too early to chase a component or to chase a technical fix; we're still trying to understand the problem writ large," Canterbury said. "So I don't have a smoking gun or silver bullet." Canterbury does not expect the 11-day grounding to have a significant impact on the pilot training pipeline."

Source: http://aviationweek.com/paris-air-show- ... strictions
RAN FAA A4G Skyhawk 1970s: https://www.faaaa.asn.au/spazsinbad-a4g/ AND https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwqC_s6gcCVvG7NOge3qfAQ/
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Unread post21 Jun 2017, 09:34

PARIS: ​USAF investigates localised F-35A oxygen issues
20 Jun 2017 Leigh Giangreco

"The US Air Force is continuing its investigation into oxygen issues on its F-35As at Luke AFB, Arizona, including examining why the problem appears to be confined to one air base....

...In its examination, the air force looked at the aircraft’s low-rate initial production numbers as a possible common thread, Canterbury says. But the service found that Nellis AFB, in Nevada, Hill AFB, in Utah and Luke AFB have LRIP 6, 7 and 8 aircraft. Pilots at Luke AFB are operating Block 2b and 3i software.

"It’s too early to identify a root cause," he says. "But they specifically looked at production lots, they looked at software variants, all the components have software pieces, they drilled all the way down to oxygen control, drill all the way down to maintainers that maintain that system to see if there was a procedure that they didn’t comply with, so that’s the granularity that they’re really drilling down to."...

...In the meantime, the commander at Luke AFB can make local decisions to increase pilot confidence and decrease their vulnerability to oxygen issues, such as implementing an artificial speed restriction, he adds.

"We know exactly what altitudes that this instance happened," he says. "So if they simply stay out of that altitude regime for a little while, [it will] build their confidence."" [GIVE THEM A BLEEDIN' FĒNIX BUDDY - they can die with their watch]

Source: https://www.flightglobal.com/news/artic ... ss-438464/
RAN FAA A4G Skyhawk 1970s: https://www.faaaa.asn.au/spazsinbad-a4g/ AND https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwqC_s6gcCVvG7NOge3qfAQ/
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Unread post21 Jun 2017, 22:29

US Air Force testing new sensors that could help solve F-35 pilot hypoxia puzzle
19 Jun 2017 Sebastian Sprenger

"LE BOURGET, France — The U.S. Air Force has begun experimenting with a handful of new sensors made by a British company that could offer clues about what caused recent cases of hypoxia reported by F-35 pilots.

The idea behind the sensors is to determine what is prompting pilots to feel unwell while plugged into the on-board oxygen system during flight. While the symptoms of hypoxia, or a form of it, can be openly observed, finding the cause resembles putting together a “mosaic of events” regarding air quality and other factors, Julian Hellebrand, president of the Cobham's mission systems sector, said in an interview here at the Paris Air Show....

...Cobham's sensor kit tests the composition of the air flowing into a pilot's mask while doing the same with exhaled air. The company's engineers believe that the data gathered at those two places can be aggregated and analyzed to pinpoint any problems. Hellebrand said the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Navy had shown great interest in the technology.

Officials at the U.S. Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine a week ago received three inhalation sensors, with five more planned in late August and eight more after that, according to the company.

“The delivery of this inhalation sensor block marks the first step towards creating this mosaic by capturing temperature and pressure data inside the cabin, and the flow rate and concentration of oxygen being supplied to the pilot with each inhalation breath,” Cobham said in a press release.

According to Hellebrand, there is also the question of why hypoxia-related problems are being found now. “Are they only now being reported? Is there some degradation in the system?” he asked, referring to oxygen-supply systems that have been built into fighter aircraft for decades...." :shock: [I BLAME GLOBAL WARMING!] :roll:

Source: http://www.defensenews.com/articles/us- ... xia-puzzle
RAN FAA A4G Skyhawk 1970s: https://www.faaaa.asn.au/spazsinbad-a4g/ AND https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwqC_s6gcCVvG7NOge3qfAQ/
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Unread post24 Jun 2017, 11:13

citanon wrote:It seems like the culprits responsible for hypoxia are the Jimmy Hoffas of the aeronautical engineering world :bang:


Working these kinds of problems is my day job. Intermittent problems, especially ones involving human perception or physiology, are generally the hardest (and most expensive) to trace down and investigate.
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Unread post28 Jun 2017, 18:32

More info than any perplexed person needs ONLY 2 pages in this CRS report with lots of embedded links attach it below:
Report to Congress Out of Breath: Military Aircraft Oxygen Issues
28 Jun 2017 USNI News

"The Air Force recently grounded some of its newest aircraft, F-35A strike fighters, due to incidents in which pilots became physiologically impaired with symptoms of oxygen deficiency while flying. Although the root cause of the F-35 incidents has not yet been established, the grounding has renewed attention on hypoxia, a physical condition caused by oxygen deficiency that may result in temporary cognitive and physiological impairment and possible loss of consciousness. Hypoxia has affected pilots of F-22, F/A-18, and T-45 aircraft in recent years.... [lots of text for other aircraft]

...F-35 incidents
In June 2017, the Air Force grounded 55 F-35A Lightning II strike fighters for 11 days after five incidents resembling hypoxia. The grounding affected only aircraft of the 56th Fighter Wing at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, used for training; the five incidents all came from that base. Subsequently, the Air Force revealed 10 other F-35A physiological events dating to 2011. The OBOGS system on Luke F-35As is the same as that in other Air Force aircraft, and those flown by the Navy and Marine Corps. No similar issues have been reported with other services’ F-35s. An Air Force team is investigating the incidents. Flight restrictions and other procedures have been implemented to reduce risk as the unit resumes operation. CRS will follow this issue and update its publications as events warrant."

Report: https://fas.org/sgp/crs/weapons/IN10723.pdf (129Kb)

Source: https://news.usni.org/2017/06/28/report ... more-26487
Attachments
Military Aircraft Oxygen Issues IN10723.pdf
(137 KiB) Downloaded 73 times
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Unread post18 Jul 2017, 20:43

Can anyone here breath an algorime? I'll take mine with oxygen please - under pressure (wot a great QUEEN song!) :mrgreen:
Clearing the air: F-35s to get upgrade for oxygen generating system over hypoxia concerns
18 Jul 2017 Valerie Insinna

"WASHINGTON — In response to reports of hypoxia-like symptoms experienced by F-35A pilots at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, the program office intends to make changes to the onboard oxygen generation system to optimize the flow of oxygen to those flying the jet.

The modification to the onboard oxygen generation system, or OBOGS, involves refining the algorithm associated with oxygen concentration, an F-35 joint program office spokesperson explained in a statement to Defense News.

“There is no indication the delivered oxygen concentration was a contributor to any of the recent events,” said Brandi Schiff. However, by tweaking the levels of oxygen associated with varying altitudes, the office may be able to help prevent further physiological incidents from happening.

Honeywell, the manufacturer of the F-35’s OBOGS system, will be responsible for designing upgraded firmware as well as a path to retrofit all variants of the joint strike fighter with the new capability, she said.

Cost estimates are still being developed,” Schiff said. “The current time estimate is 24 months, but the F-35 joint program office, or JPO, is pushing [F-35 prime contractor] Lockheed Martin to accelerate the fielding of this new firmware.”...

...Further complicating the issue is that the symptoms of oxygen deprivation are very similar to other conditions, like having too much oxygen in the blood or oxygen contamination, making it hard to parse whether the blame can be attributed to just one problem.

There has been only one physiological incident at Luke AFB since flights resumed, said Maj. Rebecca Heyse, a spokeswoman for the base. On July 10, a pilot experienced “hypoxia-like” symptoms during a flight, but inspectors were quickly able to find the culprit: an irregular oxygen valve that has since been replaced. The U.S. Air Force views this as an isolated event that is unconnected to the still-unexplained earlier episodes....

...A team of officials from the JPO, U.S. Air Force F-35 integration office and 711 Human Performance Wing is set to arrive at Luke AFB on Wednesday to begin an eight-week “heat exhaust study,” Heyse said.

The team will study how the aircraft ramp is set up and assess temperature and air quality data to ensure pilots are not suffering negative effects on the ground before takeoff that could be exacerbated during flight, she said." [AAWWW! AND MISS OUT ON KICK THE TYRES & LIGHT THE FIRES SMELL OF JET FUEL IN THE MORNING?! :mrgreen: ]

Source: http://www.defensenews.com/articles/f-3 ... a-symptoms
RAN FAA A4G Skyhawk 1970s: https://www.faaaa.asn.au/spazsinbad-a4g/ AND https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwqC_s6gcCVvG7NOge3qfAQ/
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Unread post18 Jul 2017, 21:52

....to ensure pilots are not suffering negative effects on the ground before takeoff that could be exacerbated during flight, she said."


Liz: It's just with Ed here, it's no wonder I always bring my flat-mates out and then that only exacerbates things.
Shaun: What do you mean?
Liz: Well you guys hardly get on, do you?
Shaun: No, what does "exacerbate" mean?


So the USN big watch deal is a no-go?
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Unread post18 Jul 2017, 22:11

:devil: Watch that watches the watcher is the consolation prize (not constellation) but SMELL THE FUMES - GOLDARN IT! :doh:

And of course dose watchawatches wuz for the SuperHorny & almostHorny Guys 'n Gals only. The F-35C pilots get a complementary blowup sleep cushion/pillow for dose excruciating/constipating catapulties. :roll:
RAN FAA A4G Skyhawk 1970s: https://www.faaaa.asn.au/spazsinbad-a4g/ AND https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwqC_s6gcCVvG7NOge3qfAQ/
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Unread post19 Jul 2017, 19:29

spazsinbad wrote::devil: Watch that watches the watcher is the consolation prize (not constellation) but SMELL THE FUMES - GOLDARN IT! :doh:

And of course dose watchawatches wuz for the SuperHorny & almostHorny Guys 'n Gals only. The F-35C pilots get a complementary blowup sleep cushion/pillow for dose excruciating/constipating catapulties. :roll:

I knew a Gal who flew off the boat for early Block II Horned Rhino carrier eval, and she loved the feeling off a good cat shot :D

I would wonder how many of these F-35C issues are caused by flying behind the other jet "too close" as this has been an issue in Bug and SuperBug community. I'd be more worried about scratching the coatings of the F-35, but fumes from the jet in front could be an issue.

In the F-5, some of the pilots really, really missed the smell of NAPALM in the morning! Hahah
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Unread post19 Jul 2017, 20:46

Here ya go my beauties - from 'Speed & Angels' which is just an excellent NavAv movie about the last Tomcat Nuggets.

RAN FAA A4G Skyhawk 1970s: https://www.faaaa.asn.au/spazsinbad-a4g/ AND https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwqC_s6gcCVvG7NOge3qfAQ/
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Unread post19 Jul 2017, 21:44

Great video, spaz!
The last one in particular was suspiciously enthusiastic :wink: :wink:
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