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Bad Air: US Navy’s T-45 Fleet Grounded as Breathless Pilots Go on Strike

© AP Photo / Bryan MaiT-45C Goshawks from Training Air Wing One on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS George Washington
T-45C Goshawks from Training Air Wing One on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS George Washington - Sputnik International
Citing an ongoing series of near-asphyxiations in flight, US Naval Air Force pilots have thrown down the gauntlet, saying they will not fly the T-45C Goshawk trainer aircraft until life-threatening system logistics are repaired.

The US Navy, facing a boycott of the late-1980s-era Boeing aircraft by some 100 pilots on March 30, quickly released statements claiming that they were working to "determine the root causes" of the cockpit air supply cutoffs, and would "diligently work toward solutions," according to Naval Air Forces Commander Vice Adm. Mike Shoemaker, as reported by Military.com.

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"We're doing a lot of things to assess the system — the onboard oxygen-generating system — as well as to try to understand what might be getting into the pilot breathing air," Shoemaker said, adding, "Right now, we don't have the smoking gun."

The son of US Vice President Mike Pence, a Marine Corps lieutenant, is reported to be among pilots training with the aircraft, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.

In a statement, Commander Jeannie Groeneveld, a spokeswoman with the Naval Air Forces command, said that the ongoing life-threatening problems with pilot cockpit air supply could be the result of "multiple interrelated potential causal factors."

Attempting to soothe fears over the defective aircraft, Vice Admiral Shoemaker, in his official statement, said, "We ask a lot of our pilots, and we owe it to them to ensure they understand we are doing everything we can to fix this problem, and that they have access to top leadership."

"It was important for me to come talk with my aviation team members and hear their concerns as we work this challenging issue together," he added.

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