The Insider

Air Force lifts T-6 flight pause; team still investigating root cause

February 27, 2018 at 5:17 PM

Air Education and Training Command today lifted the operational pause on Air Force T-6 training flights, following a nearly three-week grounding due to pilot reports of unexplained physiological events.

The service will continue to investigate the root cause of the physiological episodes, but AETC said in a Feb. 27 press release it has identified component failures and degredations in the jet's onboard oxygen-generating system as a likely contributing factor. Maj. Gen Patrick Doherty, commander of the 19th Air Force, led the investigation team, which included experts from the Air Force, Navy and NASA.

"As tests, inspections and data were gathered, component failures or degredations were identified as affecting the topline performance of OBOGS oxygen pressure, flow and content, resulting in various disruptions that negatively impacted the human-machine interface," Doherty said in a press release.

"We have zeroed in on a handful of components that are degrading or failing to perform and needed to be replaced or repaired more often than the Air Force anticipated when they bought the aircraft," he continued.

T-6 pilots have reported 22 hypoxia-like events since the start of fiscal year 2018.

Instructor pilots will resume flights first to regain currencies, and students will begin flying again by the end of the week, the release states.