The US Navy has temporarily grounded all of its T-45C training jet aircraft for three days due to concerns raised by pilots about contamination in the cockpit.
The operational pause of the T-45C Goshawk fleet implemented at the direction of Naval Air Forces commander vice admiral Mike Shoemaker over concerns relating to potential physiological episodes (PEs) in the cockpit.
Navy pilots had reportedly experienced problems caused by contamination of the aircraft's on-board oxygen generation system (OBOGS).
Shoemaker said: “This issue is my number one safety priority and our team of Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) programme managers, engineers and maintenance experts in conjunction with Type Commanders, medical and physiological experts continue to be immersed in this effort, working with a sense of urgency to determine all the root causes of PEs along multiple lines of effort.”
The news follows an incident on 31 March, which saw 94 US Navy flights cancelled between Naval Air Stations Kingsville, Meridian and Pensacola because of operational risk management (ORM) concerns raised by the T-45C instructor pilots.
The Chief of Naval Air Training (CNATRA) has urged the engineering experts at NAVAIR to conduct in-person briefs with the pilots. They will be able to talk about their concerns, and discuss the current risk mitigation efforts that are being carried out to address the issue.
Naval Aviation Enterprise (NAE) is using an ‘unconstrained resources’ approach to correct the problem.
Flight operations of the T-45C training jet aircraft are expected to restart on Monday.
Image: The US Navy’s T-45C Goshawk training jet aircraft. Photo: courtesy of US Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Bryan Mai / Released.