US Navy Sends Jets Back Into the Air After Breathless Pilots Refuse to Fly

© Photo : Public DomainT-45 Goshawk
T-45 Goshawk - Sputnik International
About 200 T-45C training jets were grounded in the first week of April after instructors protested unsafe flying conditions. On Saturday, the US Navy decided to put pilots and trainees back into the air, even though a firm solution has not been found.

The $17 million aircraft will have teachers and students wear "modified" masks while researchers look into how to solve the oxygen issue, the Seattle Times reported. 

The fleet will continue making trips into the sky on Monday, Vice. Adm. Mike Shoemaker said. Instructors will fly planes lower than 10,000 feet to avert using the jets’ oxygen systems, which had been causing pilots to undergo forced oxygen deprivation episodes in the air. 

Pilot trainees should be able to conduct about 75 percent of mission trainings as engineers and NASA scientists seek to determine the root cause for the problem, reported. "This will remain our top safety priority until we fully understand all causal factors and have identified a solution that will further reduce our risks to aircrews," Shoemaker noted. 

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On April 9, Shoemaker told that the Navy is adopting an "unconstrained resources" approach to the problem, "meaning we have not been nor will we be limited by money or manpower as we diligently work toward solutions."

Hypoxia, or lack of oxygen reaching the body's tissues, "has plagued the service’s fleet of T-45s for years now," Flight Global noted. The so-called on-board oxygen generation system that has given the T-45s woes previously served as a thorn in the side of the F/A-18, Sputnik reported in 2016.

The maker of the training jet, McDonnell Douglas, merged with Boeing in 1997. Boeing’s stock jumped almost two percent on Monday when the market closed at 4:00 PM. 

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