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.