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Breathing easier: After years of T-6 hypoxia scares, the Air Force thinks it has the fix

For instructor pilot Maj. Kinsley ?Trigger? Jordan, the first clue that something had gone seriously wrong was when he suddenly tasted something metallic. Jordan was in a T-6 Texan II, on the back half of a routine training sortie with a student pilot near Vance Air Force Base in Oklahoma in early November 2017. The student was practicing basic touch-and-go landings at a nearby airport when Jordan became cognizant of the metallic taste. He first wondered if he hadn?t eaten enough for lunch, or if he had unknowingly bit his lip and drawn blood.

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New Hypoxia Sensor Aims to Make Military Trainer Aircraft Safer

A new helmet-based sensor that can read human biometrics alongside an aircraft’s cockpit pressure levels just hit the market with Air Force pilots in mind. Spotlight Labs, a veteran-owned small business founded by fighter pilots, on Wednesday announced that its SPYDR hypoxia sensor is ready to be used in aircraft that have had a history of pilots reporting hypoxia-like symptoms, such as the T-6 Texan II trainer.

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Embry-Riddle Researchers are Helping Find Solutions for Navy and Air Force Pilots Experiencing Hypoxia

Separate projects led by Assistant Professor of Aeronautical Science Janet K. Marnane and Associate Professor of Human Factors Joseph R. Keebler are designed to better understand, prevent and even predict hypoxia among pilots in flight. The projects are part of the university?s programs on the Daytona Beach Campus in Aeronautical Science and Human Factors and Behavioral Neurobiology.

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T-6 hypoxia problem solved, Air Force announces

The rash of hypoxia-like problems in the Air Force?s fleet of T-6 Texan II trainers was primarily caused by fluctuating concentrations of oxygen in the cockpit, the service said Thursday.

Air Education and Training Command said in a release that the Air Force will start putting a series of fixes in place to correct the problems. These fixes will include redesigning the oxygen system in the T-6, adjusting oxygen levels in flight, and increasing maintenance on the On-Board Oxygen Generating System, or OBOGS.

A six-month study conducted by AETC and Air Force Materiel Command, uncovered the problem with varying oxygen concentration levels, which AETC described as the ?major factor in unexplained physiological events? affecting T-6 pilots, AETC said. Experts from the Navy and NASA also assisted with the study.

AirForceTimes.com

NASA Puts Its F/A-18s and F-15s To Work To Help Solve Pilot Oxygen Deprivation Mystery

As the U.S. Air Force and Navy struggle to find the sources of persistent reports of pilots not getting enough oxygen and?suffering ?hypoxia-like? symptoms when flying a variety of different aircraft, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration has recently kicked off a new program to help out. NASA pilots will fly various aircraft, including ex-U.S. military F/A-18A/B Hornet and F-15D Eagle jets, to gather important baseline information on how the human body responds to various flight conditions, especially when it comes to breathing.

The flight tests at the Armstrong Flight Research Center, situated within the Air Force?s Edwards Air Force Base in California, began on Aug. 3, 2018. The NASA Engineering and Safety Center (NESC) at the Langley Research Center in Virginia is managing the program. Five NASA pilots will fly a total of 160 hours performing various maneuvers, from routine flight through ?benign environments? to complex and strenuous high-altitude aerobatics and combat-style maneuvering.

TheDrive.com

Air Force zeroing in on cause of T-6 hypoxia problem

JB SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas ? Since late last year, a rash of unexplained physiological events such as hypoxia has caused dangerous breathing problems for pilots of T-6 Texan II training aircraft, and led to multiple groundings.

But now, the Air Force is finding more clues, and coming closer to solving the problem once and for all, said Lt. Gen. Steven Kwast, head of Air Education and Training Command.

?Within the next couple of months, you?re going to see some communication from [the safety investigation board at Edwards Air Force Base in California], that they are starting to really discover the root cause here,? Kwast said in a July 23 interview at his office here. ?We?re finding insights that we did not know before, that will help us understand what?s going on and give us a pathway to solving the problem permanently. We?re getting close, and you should see something soon.?

AirForceTimes.com