The Oxygen Conundrum
TW-6 (Tail code F– VT-4 Warbucks, VT-10 Wildcats, and VT-86 Sabrehawks) based at NAS Pensacola in Florida began using T-45s to teach the Navy / Marine Corps Student Naval Flight Officer (NFO) Advanced Strike Aircraft Training Program during 2008. All three T-45C-equipped Training Air Wings were affected by what amounted to a strike by the Navy and Marine instructor pilots in April of 2017. The problem seems to have been caused by oxygen generation system malfunctions in both the T-45C and the McDonnell Douglas (Boeing) F/A-18 Hornet resulting in hypoxia (oxygen deprivation) among the crews. After grounding the entire fleet and much debate, it now appears the oxygen generation systems in both aircraft will be replaced by liquid oxygen reservoir systems.
Goshawks to the Boat
Today prospective Naval Aviators use the T-45C to practice formation flight, weapons delivery, basic air combat maneuvering, and many more of the skills required to move on and fly fighters (strike fighters) in the fleet. One of the most important of these skills is carrier operations. A Naval Aviator who flies fighters (strike fighters), or anything else for that matter, has GOT to be able to operate safely around and from “the boat.” Prospective fighter pilots fly T-45Cs when they “trap” aboard a carrier for the first time.
A Lifetime of Service
In August of 2010 the Naval Air Training Command (NATC) celebrated the T-45’s one millionth flight hour during 26 years of service. With no replacement in sight it appears the Goshawks will be getting thrown around by student Naval Aviators for many more years, and perhaps even another million flight hours, to come.
In the best tradition of training units everywhere, enjoy this Goshawk Ball video starring Training Wing ONE uploaded to YouTube by slickhutto.
T-45C carrier qualifications aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) uploaded to YouTube by Math2488.