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

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spazsinbad

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Unread post21 Sep 2017, 11:18

Cobham Looks To Warn Pilots With New Breathing Sensor
20 Sep 2017 Lara Seligman

"NATIONAL HARBOR, Maryland—Cobham is moving forward with a new method of monitoring aircrew breathing, with the goal of developing a system that could warn pilots of dangerously high or low oxygen levels during flight....

...The next phase of development will focus on building a warning feature to alert the pilot of dangerously high or low oxygen levels, and tell him or her to take manual corrective action, Schaffer said. “We will warn the pilot by some method. It could be a message on the heads-up display. It could be a vibration on the wrist,” Schaffer said. ["Warning Will Robinson" OR "I'm Sorry Dave"]

But the company is carefully considering how much the pilot really needs to know about his or her breathing conditions. The danger is causing a pilot to panic unnecessarily over a small change in oxygen concentration or cabin pressure.

“The big question would be if a pilot was able to see the data that was being collected real-time, what would he or she do with that data? Probably nothing, because he’s not a doctor,” [DUH] Schaeffer said. “It may be okay—so your cabin pressure is increasing but it’s no big deal because it’s in spec, so you don’t need to panic somebody who is already under stress.”

In the future, Cobham is looking to include a mitigation capability that automatically adjusts the oxygen concentration being fed to the pilot based on data the AMPSS is providing, he said. The ultimate goal is to build a next-generation, complete life support system that will predict and preempt the onset of hypoxia-like symptoms, the company says."

Source: http://aviationweek.com/afa-national-co ... ing-sensor
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 Sep 2017, 21:55

"The early bird gets the worm but the second mouse gets the cheese."
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Unread post25 Oct 2017, 12:43

Well this is the 'gift' that keeps on giving it looks like - especially if there are more F-35As compared to Bs & Cs flying now.
F-35A Pilots Report Five More Hypoxia-Like Episodes [PROBABLY BEST READ ALL OF IT AT SOURCE URL]
24 Oct 2017 Lara Seligman

"U.S. Air Force F-35s at Luke AFB, Arizona, are back in the skies after a spate of so-called physiological episodes (PEs) caused the service to ground the aircraft this summer, but the troubling events have continued across the service’s F-35 fleet, with pilots reporting tingling fingers and other symptoms that indicate hypoxia five separate times since flights resumed at Luke.

These incidents reflect a significant spike in PEs recorded on the F-35A in the past few months. From 2006-2016 the type saw just 10 PEs; in 2017 so far, the F-35 Joint Program Office has recorded another 10, doubling the overall number reported. Five of those 10 took place between May 2 and June 8 at Luke, and caused the Air Force to temporarily ground the F-35s at that base.

Since Luke F-35s resumed flying, pilots there have reported three additional PEs, according to Col. Ben Bishop, commander of the 56th Operations Group and an F-35 pilot. The symptoms were milder than in the initial five events, and in each instance the pilots were able to safely recover the aircraft, he told Aviation Week in an Oct. 23 interview.

The rate of PEs in the F-35A is significantly higher than in the other F-35 variants. Overall from 2006-2017, the JPO recorded 29 PEs across all variants of the F-35: 20 in the F-35A; four in the U.S. Marine Corps F-35B; and five in the U.S. Navy F-35C....

...The JPO recently briefed the squadron on the test results from the F-35’s Onboard Oxygen Generation System (Obogs), which showed no problems with the system, Bishop said. The PE team is looking at ways to refine the algorithm that controls the fluctuations in oxygen concentration levels so the Obogs delivers oxygen at a steadier rate, potentially making breathing easier. But in all cases the Obogs is producing enough oxygen to sustain the pilot, he stressed.

Bishop also is confident the problem is not caused by contamination. There are no indications of carbon monoxide or other toxins on the ramp, or during pilot examinations, [test nerves] he said.

There is one telling aspect of the incidents that may prove key to solving the problem. In each of the three incidents that occurred since June, initiating the backup oxygen system did not immediately ease the pilots’ symptoms. This indicates the problem is not true hypoxia, Bishop said. During pilot training in the Reduced Oxygen Breathing Device (ROBD), which simulates hypoxia, “when you go to 100% oxygen you get relief immediately; that’s not happening in a lot of cases here,” Bishop said.

Bishop believes pilots could be experiencing hypercapnia—too much carbon dioxide in the blood—due to restricted breathing, potentially caused by the life support system. He does not think the cause is hyperventilation [especially reporters but to be fair there should be no PEs]....

...The team is looking at all pieces of the flight equipment for an indication of something that would restrict pilot breathing and is taking steps to make the life support system as robust as possible, Bishop said. Already, the Air Force has made a number of changes to flight equipment to mitigate the potential for restricted breathing, including reducing the weight of the flight vest to make breathing easier, and making changes to the exhalation valve on the mask to prevent sticking....

...“To be honest, there was some misinformation at first, people were not fully aware of exactly how the systems played out and initially there was some concern in the backup oxygen system,” Bishop said. “But by the end of the stand-down, through that education process, the pilots were comfortable.”...

...“We are not going to make any pilot that’s not comfortable flying the aircraft, who doesn’t have confidence in the F-35’s life support system—we’re not going to make them fly,” Bishop said. “Up to this point pilot confidence has been high enough that everyone has been able to return to fly.”"

Source: http://aviationweek.com/defense/f-35a-p ... a-episodes
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 post25 Oct 2017, 13:34

Is the rate of hypoxia incidence in the F-35 greater than what it is/was in other aircraft, i.e., F-22, T-45, F/A-18? Or has this become more of news story because it is the F-35?
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Unread post25 Oct 2017, 13:41

That is a complex question because as admitted by the USN particularly there was no standard way to report PE events so it was difficult to categorise these PEs until the recent USN formation of a task force under CAPT Joyner AFAIK. Usually PEs are described as 'hypoxia-like' because not all PEs point to hypoxia. Another thread has a bunch of stuff about USN.

Backwards read from here?: viewtopic.php?f=58&t=52254&p=377285&hilit=fillum#p377285
F-35A Pilots Have Experienced Five Physiological Events Since June
25 Oct 2017 Wilson Brissett

"The Air Force said Tuesday that F-35A pilots across the service have experienced five “physiological events” since June. F-35A flight operations were temporarily halted at Luke AFB, Ariz., on June 9 after pilots reported a series of “hypoxia-like” physiological events at the base in May and June. While the Air Force did not identify a root cause of the events, F-35A flying resumed at Luke on June 21. Since then, five more such events have occurred, Joint Program Office spokesman Joe DellaVedova told Air Force Magazine.

Three of those physiological events were at Luke, one was at Nellis AFB, Nev., and another at NAS-JRB Fort Worth, Texas. Such events constitute “a recognized hazard in aviation,” Air Force spokesman Capt. Mark Graff told Air Force Magazine, and they occur “across all platforms, to include the F-35.” DellaVedova said the JPO “takes a multidisciplinary approach to monitoring and tracking the physiological events within the fleet,” and that the service is “integrating any findings to improve the weapon system.”"

Source: http://www.airforcemag.com/DRArchive/Pa ... lying.aspx
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 post25 Oct 2017, 16:34

You buried the lead

There is one telling aspect of the incidents that may prove key to solving the problem. In each of the three incidents that occurred since June, initiating the backup oxygen system did not immediately ease the pilots’ symptoms. This indicates the problem is not true hypoxia, Bishop said. During pilot training in the Reduced Oxygen Breathing Device (ROBD), which simulates hypoxia, “when you go to 100% oxygen you get relief immediately; that’s not happening in a lot of cases here,” Bishop said.
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Unread post25 Oct 2017, 20:19

This is me - from above: "... not all PEs point to hypoxia...".
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Unread post25 Oct 2017, 20:48

I know. My point was that the key part of the article you quoted was that the official indicated that it was not likely actual hypoxia.
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Unread post25 Oct 2017, 20:53

:mrgreen: Not to labour the point but that point 'not all PEs are hypoxia' has been made a lot in articles - with the relevant details anyway. Not sure if the TAILHOOK video makes that point as well - it would have to be viewed again.... :roll:
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Unread post25 Oct 2017, 21:09

I understand that "Not all Pe's are"... My point was that "these PEs are not hypoxia" based on the quote from Bishop.
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Unread post07 Nov 2017, 12:00

In A Fighter Aircraft, Breathing Is No Easy Feat [BEST READ IT ALL AT SOURCE]
02 Nov 2017 Lara Seligman

"...What’s Happening Inside the Cockpit?

- Most newer U.S. fighters use the Onboard Oxygen Generation System (OBOGS) to provide oxygen to crewmembers

- OBOGS provides more opportunities for contamination or blockages than older methods of oxygen delivery

- The military has so far found no evidence there is anything wrong with the OBOGS in any of the affected platforms

- Cobham is pitching the AMPSS sensor suite to monitor a pilot’s inhalation and exhalation throughout flight...

...The ultimate goal is to build a next-generation, complete life-support system that will predict and preempt the onset of hypoxia-like symptoms."



Source: http://aviationweek.com/defense/fighter ... -easy-feat
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Unread post07 Nov 2017, 20:25

Pretty poor description and coverage by AvWeek; the OBOGS backup system in the F-35 will kick-in automatically to
cover ECS transients or on-demand by the pilot or during ejection where it's automatically selected.

Cobham's sensor is nothing more than the gas sensor Orbital Research developed for the F-22 hypoxia
investigation.

At the end of the day, no matter what you do on the life support equipment side you will still have
pilots who experience PEs of some description. Getting Auto-GCAS deployed to as much of
the US fast-jet fleet as soon as possible should have equal priority to trying to account and
compensate for the wide range of physiological responses seen in the pilot population.
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Unread post14 Dec 2017, 06:18

:devil: Mostly about T-45C but this tidbit about a competition prize is great news - crowd sourcing the problem eh. :doh:
T-45s to get new oxygen monitoring system by February
14 Dec 2017 Valerie Insinna

"...Unfortunately, the military’s physiological problem isn’t limited only to naval aircraft. The Air Force has also documented an increase in events for F-35 pilots at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, and T-6 trainer pilots at Vance Air Force Base, Oklahoma. Both planes were grounded for a short period of time earlier this year, but have since returned to normal operations.

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump signed into law the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act. The bill contained several provisions meant to help the services get a better handle on the physiological dilemma.

The most attention-grabbing language allows the Defense Department to authorize a competition, with a prize of up to $10 million, to whoever can isolate the root cause or causes of the services’ physiological episodes.

Another portion of the NDAA directs the Navy to provide regular updates to Congress on what the service is doing to address the episodes, how much money has been spent on those activities and future courses of action.

The House Armed Services Committee’s Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittee was set to meet Wednesday for a hearing on physiological episodes across the Air Force and Navy, but the panel was canceled early into the afternoon. [SO MUCH FOR THEIR FREAKIN' COMMITTMENT for Fsake!]

Source: https://www.defensenews.com/air/2017/12 ... -february/
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 post10 Mar 2018, 02:10

USAF PHYSIOLOGIC EPISODES UPDATE to HASC by Lt.Gen Nowland USAF [graphic is repeated elsewhere also]
06 Feb 2018 USAF

"...F-35A
Within five weeks, from May 2017 to June 2017, there were five airborne physiologic events with the F-35A at the 56th Fighter Wing, Luke Air Force Base, Phoenix, Arizona.

The Air Force investigation into the issue determined that the onboard oxygen generation system was not at fault for any of the airborne related events. Investigators noted possible causes could have been attributed to:

a) Ingestion of increased carbon monoxide during ground operations
b) Rate and depth of breathing exacerbated by positive pressure flow from the onboard oxygen generation system
c) Procedural and systems knowledge
d) Psychological factors

Despite no mechanical faults being presented, recommendations have been made to change the algorithms that deliver oxygen and changes to training and maintenance have been put in place.

Following the initial five physiologic events listed above, there were four additional airborne events between July and November 2017. Of these nine total events at the 56th Fighter Wing, only one appears to have a definitive root cause related to a loss of cabin pressurization caused by a mechanical malfunction. The other eight events do not have a definitive root cause – these are referred to as unexplained physiologic events.

In addition to the above, the 56th Fighter Wing has revised training and aircrew procedures to further decrease the risk of physiologic events. New procedures require aircrew to wear oxygen masks on the ground once the system is operational and through engine shutdown.

Annual physiologic training is conducted to educate aircrew on symptoms and responses to hypoxia, hypocapnia, and hypercapnia, as well as training on rate and depth of breathing. The Air Force is confident that these actions taken by the 56th Fighter Wing and actions by the F-35A Physiologic Event Team, will ensure an extremely low likelihood of future events...."

Source: http://docs.house.gov/meetings/as/as25/ ... 180206.pdf (280 Kb)
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Unread post05 Jun 2018, 22:10

There are worrying to me details in this latest Jun 2018 GAO report wot need to be fixed ASAP I reckon:
[[PDF referenced by 'marauder2048' here earlier] viewtopic.php?f=58&t=12237&p=395599&hilit=Resolved#p395599
F-35 JOINT STRIKE FIGHTER Development Is Nearly Complete, but Deficiencies Found in Testing Need to Be Resolved
Jun 2018 GAO

"...Life-support system (LSS):
From May to August 2017, six events occurred where pilots reported physiological symptoms of oxygen deprivation, though no common cause was identified. However, three issues with components related to the LSS are being examined:

1. A breathing regulator on the pilot’s seat is failing at a high rate, contributing to one oxygen deprivation event. Slow progress on a root-cause corrective action has led the program to consider alternative suppliers for this component.

2. An anti-suffocation valve that opens when the breathing regulator fails is itself failing to consistently open, creating a risk that unconscious pilots ejecting over water may drown. The valve’s manufacturer is investigating potential improvements, and F-35 units are inspecting and cleaning the valves.

3. The rate at which the cockpit’s internal pressure changes can potentially cause significant debilitating ear pain or injury to the sinus. In addition to potential pain experienced by the pilot, loss of situational awareness during complex maneuvers could cause the aircraft to crash...."

Source: https://www.gao.gov/assets/700/692307.pdf (4.1Mb)
RAN FAA A4G Skyhawk 1970s: https://www.faaaa.asn.au/spazsinbad-a4g/ AND https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwqC_s6gcCVvG7NOge3qfAQ/
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