Navy grounds almost 200 T-45 training jets
Julie Garcia, Corpus Christi (Texas) Caller-Times 7:39 p.m. ET April 5, 2017
KINGSVILLE, Texas — The Navy has halted T-45 jet flight training at at least three bases across the USA after instructors complained about the aircrafts' oxygen systems, officials said Wednesday.
More than 100 instructor pilots refused to fly the McDonnell Douglas T-45 Goshawk training jets because of an increase in episodes of lack of oxygen or contaminants in the oxygen systems, according to Fox News. The problems make pilots lightheaded and can cause blackouts.
Training at naval air stations in Kingsville, about 30 miles southwest of Corpus Christi, Texas; Meridian, Miss., about 100 miles east of Jackson, Miss.; and Pensacola, Fla., is affected, Lt. Leslie Hubbell, assistant public affairs officer for Naval Air Forces, U.S. Pacific Fleet, said in email.
"We take the concerns of our aircrew seriously and have directed a three-day safety stand down for the T-45 community to allow time for naval aviation leadership to engage with the pilots, hear their concerns and discuss the risk mitigations as well as the efforts that are ongoing to correct this issue," Hubbell wrote. The almost 200 planes are expected to be back in the air Monday.
In August, a T-45 jet from Kingsville Naval Air Station crashed in a field. The student and instructors ejected from the plane and survived, according to a base news release.
A month later, a T-45 crashed at the air station in Meridian. U.S. Navy personnel said the T-45 jet aircraft assigned to Training Air Wing One crashed in a heavily wooded area Sept. 6.
The student and instructor pilot also were able to eject safely.
"Physiological episodes are the No. 1 safety priority and focus area for the Naval Aviation Enterprise and will remain our top safety priority until we fully understand all causal factors and have eliminated (physiological episodes) as a risk to our flight operations," Hubbell wrote.
She would not comment specifically on the crashes because investigations into their causes have not been completed.
The Navy has struggled to solve nagging oxygen problems in the T-45 and in F/A-18 Hornets, a supersonic combat jet, according to the Navy Times. But answers have been elusive.
"This is a complex problem with multiple interrelated potential causal factors," Hubbell wrote. "The root cause of physiological episodes remains unidentified, but engineers are working diligently to find a solution."
Contributing: Melissa Nelson Gabriel, Pensacola (Fla.) News Journal. Follow Julie Garcia on Twitter: @Caller_Jules
Original post: usatoday.com
T-45A GOSHAWK TRAINING AIRCRAFT
The T-45 Goshawk is a tandem-seat, carrier capable, jet trainer whose mission is to train Navy and Marine Corps pilots.
The T-45 aircraft, the Navy version of the British Aerospace Hawk aircraft, was designed for intermediate and advanced portions of the Navy/Marine Corps pilot training program for jet carrier aviation and tactical strike missions. The T-45 Goshawk replaced the T-2C Buckeye and the TA-4J Skyhawk with an integrated training system that included the aircraft, operations and instrument fighter simulators, academics and training integration system. There were two versions of T-45 aircraft, the T-45A and T-45C derivatives. The T-45A, which became operational in 1991, contained an analog design cockpit and the T-45C was built around a digital cockpit design. All T-45A�s have undergone the Required Avionics Modernization Program (RAMP) bringing all to a T-45C configuration. A Virtual Mission Training System modification that enables training of Undergraduate Military Flight Officers (UMFOs) in radar and navigation skills at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida, which replaced the T-39G and T-39N, became fully operational in 2014. Planned future avionics upgrades include Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) and Required Navigation Performance/Area Navigation (RNP/RNAV) which will allow the T-45 to meet the FAA�s NextGen airspace requirements resulting in the continued ability to train student naval aviators for the planned life of the aircraft.
Rolls-Royce Turbomeca Adour F405-RR-402 (Mk951)
Manufacturer: Rolls-Royce plc and Safran
Thrust: 6,500 pounds
Overall Pressure Ratio at Maximum Power: 12.2
Bypass Ratio: 0.8
Thrust-to-Weight Ratio: 4.83
LP-HP Compressor Stages: 2-5
HP-LP Turbine Stages: 1-1
Combustor Type: Annular
Length: 77 in (1.96 m)
Diameter: 22.7 in (57.7 cm)
Dry Weight: 1,345 lbs (610 kg)