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Navy aviation orders one-day stand down following several mishaps

After a week that saw two Navy plane crashes, one of which killed two U.S. service members, the head of Naval Air Forces ordered a one-day safety stand down for non-deployed units Monday.

The order by Naval Air Forces commander Vice Adm. Kenneth Whitesell aimed to provide “an opportunity for our aviation commands to focus on how to further improve operational risk management and risk mitigation across the Naval Aviation enterprise.”

The stand down follows the crash of a T-6B Texan II training jet Friday in Alabama that killed Coast Guard Ensign Morgan Garrett and Navy Lt. Rhiannon Ross.

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How USAF is Tackling Hypoxia-Like Incidents in its T-6, Fighter Fleets

The Air Force Physiological Episodes Action Team has recommended the service stand up two new program offices to help it monitor and reduce the number of hypoxia-like incidents in its trainer and fighter fleets. The move comes as both the Air Force and Navy work to overhaul the On-Board Oxygen Generation systems in their T-6 trainer fleets, following a spike in such incidents and an extended grounding last year.

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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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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

Airmen earn their wings in 6 months with modern pilot-training program

The Air Force is working to streamline and improve pilot training by using virtual reality and modern teaching methods.

The first graduates of Pilot Training Next ? a six-month program at the Armed Forces Reserve Center in Austin, Texas, designed to accelerate the learning curve to becoming a pilot ? are slated to pin on their wings Friday, Capt. Jeff Kelley, a T-6 Texan II instructor, told Stars and Stripes in a recent phone interview.

?We believe that pilot training can be done faster, better and cheaper,? he said of the program, which is searching for inefficiencies in an Undergraduate Pilot Training program that has seen little change in more than half a century.

Stripes.com