The US Air Force Materiel Command (AFMC) is leading the analysis of the unexplained physiological events (UPEs) that led to the operational pause for all the US Air Force’s (USAF) T-6 Texan II training platform.
The team assigned to determine the root causes of the physiological events is being led by AFMC mobilisation assistant to the commander major general T Glenn Davis.
The team will also work to identify the necessary corrective actions required for the recent aircrew breathing system problems found in the T-6 Texan II fleet.
As part of the root cause investigatory actions, the USAF’s 412th Test Wing at Edwards Air Force Base (AFB) will characterise the T-6 aircrew breathing system through all phases of flight.
Testing of the system is slated to begin early this month and is expected to end by the middle of May.
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The test will be carried out by the airforce team using two Air Education and Training Command (AETC) T-6 Texan II aircraft, one with a physiological event history and one without.
The root cause investigation for the T-6 UPEs will cover medical and engineering considerations, addressing hypoxia-like symptoms, toxicology, flight equipment, as well as aircraft subsystems, including cockpit pressurisation, cabin air, maintenance and operating procedures.
Davis said: “We’re working aggressively to analyse a number of potential causation tracks, but our analysis is in the very early stages, so we’re not ready to identify specific causal factors to the recent UPEs.
“AFMC and AETC officials are working together to ensure that pilots are safe as we continue to fulfil the vital pilot production mission.”
Davis also said that the multi-disciplinary aircrew breathing system team includes functional experts from several USAF major commands, including the Air Force Research Laboratory’s 711th Human Performance Wing.
The On-Board Oxygen System Laboratory at Wright-Patterson AFB carries out research on existing On-Board Oxygen Generation System (OBOGS) in simulated flight environments in order to eliminate UPEs, enhancing OBOGS performance across the flight envelope.
On 1 February, 19th Air Force commander major general Patrick Doherty issued an operational pause for all T-6 Texan II aircraft, following several UPEs at three AETC pilot training bases, the Columbus AFB in Mississippi, the Vance AFB in Oklahoma, and the Sheppard AFB in Texas.
On 27 February, the USAF announced a return to flight after its initial investigation focused on issues with the T-6 Texan II OBOGS.