This came as something of a surprise here at chateau defiant. Navy instructor pilots across the board are refusing to fly and train up and comers because the oxygen systems in the T-45 jet training aircraft are poisoning them. The rates are staggering as are the pilots. The navy has known about this problem for years and done nothing to correct it beyond, apparently, telling the lads to be careful out there.
EXCLUSIVE: More than 100 U.S. Navy instructor pilots are refusing to fly in protest of what they say is the refusal of top brass to adequately address an urgent problem with training jets’ oxygen system, multiple instructor pilots tell Fox News.
The boycott started late last week and has effectively grounded hundreds of training flights. “The pilots don’t feel safe flying this aircraft,” one instructor pilot told Fox News.
In the last five years, physiological episodes, caused in part by problems with the oxygen system, have nearly quadrupled on the T-45 training jet, according to Capitol Hill testimony last week by senior naval aviators.
The Navy is now looking at grounding the entire fleet of T-45s for the next few days, according to multiple pilots.
“There is no question that there are problems that are being covered up,” House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, said. “I am very concerned about the issue. It’s been getting worse over time and if you look at the statistics, the older airplanes are having bigger problems than newer airplanes.”
A meeting Tuesday in Meridian “got heated,” Fox News is told. The pilots told the civilians from Navy Air Systems Command their complaints about the oxygen system were being ignored. When a senior Navy pilot showed photos of a faulty oxygen system he claimed had been sent up to NAVAIR’s headquarters in Maryland, the engineers said they never received the photos.
Asked about the protest, Navy spokeswoman Cmdr. Jeannie Groeneveld acknowledged that 40 percent of instructor pilots refused to fly their training flights Friday. A flight instructor said the number was closer to 75 percent, because the Navy reduced the flight schedule knowing more than half the pilots would refuse to fly.
Shoemaker said following a meeting in Kingsville, flights there had resumed.
Just last week, the vice president’s wife Karen Pence visited her son at Naval Air Station Meridian, where her son is in flight training. A source told Fox News she told the commodore in charge of flight training, “Take care of my son” – and a day later the senior Navy officer told a group of instructor pilots he feared he was unable to do that because of the danger posed by the faulty oxygen system.
Across the Navy, training squadron skippers and commodores are telling their instructors to follow their instincts -- and not forcing them to fly -- much to the appreciation of those boycotting until they feel the issue is resolved, Fox News is told.
“There is not a, you know, ‘Fly or else,’” Shoemaker said.
Some instructor pilots point to Rear Adm. Dell D. Bull, chief of naval air training, as the culprit in ignoring the unsafe conditions.
“He is telling us to just, ‘shut up and color,’” one pilot said.
|I'd have thought we knew how to do this, we've been flying high for over 60 years|
Read the whole article. It won't take long and it really doesn't make the admirals look very good. What we said in the surface forces was that if we lose power we gradually slow and come to a complete stop; afloat upon the surface of the sea. Our submariners can't say the same and our aviators most definitely cannot say the same. Nevertheless, we take propulsion very seriously indeed (except LCS which is something of an inside joke).
I really don't know the hierarchy of the navy safety center and aviation but it appears to me that somebody ought to take a flame thrower to the people that have been kicking this can down the road without any concern for the pilots, students, aircraft or the innocent people under the falling wreckage of what once was a pretty good jet trainer.