Air Force Pilot Training students won’t be flying the T-6 Texan II tomorrow after the 19th Air Force Commander directed a stand down. Recently, there have been a few physiological incidents involving the trainer.
“The safety of our instructors and student pilots is paramount and has been our priority and focus,” said Maj. Gen. Patrick Doherty, 19th Air Force commander. “We’re acting swiftly, making temporary, but necessary, changes to everyone’s training, general awareness, checklist procedures, and possibly modify aircrew flying equipment to mitigate risk to the aircrew while we tackle this issue head-on to safeguard everyone flying T-6s.” There is no word on how long this stand down will last.
Last year, the Navy conducted a similar stand down of flying after numerous crews reported issues with the T-45 Goshawk and the F/A-18 Super Hornet. Most suspect that issues are related to the OBOGs or On-board Oxygen Generating systems. These systems generate oxygen during flight, reducing the need to carry and service oxygen tanks aboard the aircraft after flights. Some suspect that oil or other contaminants contribute to pilots feeling sick or lethargic.
The Air Force has also established an overarching task force to determine why there continues to be so many incidents across the fleet, particularly in fighter and training aircraft. According to the Air Force statement, “Brig. Gen. Bobbi Jo Doorenbos is leading the team and will work closely with 19th Air Force, AETC, and other MAJCOMs to examine the causes of these incidents and ensure industry and enterprise-wide solutions are given high priority to find root causes and deliver solutions across all weapon systems.”
The T-6 Texan II is the Air Force’s only primary trainer. There have been over 850 of the type built, with the US Air Force flying a fleet of over 440 aircraft.
We’ll continue to update this story as we learn more…