- Numerous Air Force planes were grounded in 2017 after pilots experienced symptoms of oxygen deprivation while in flight.
- Both Air Force and Navy planes have seen such incidents over the past several years, but military officials have struggled to find root causes for them.
- The Air Force has formed a headquarters-level team to take a force-wide look at the problem and recommend steps to reduce and eliminate them.
After a spate of physiological incidents involving cockpit oxygen supplies last year, the Air Force has selected a general to lead a team investigating the episodes.
Pilots flying several types of aircraft experienced symptoms of what appeared to be hypoxia, or oxygen deprivation, which led to the grounding of some Air Force A-10 Thunderbolts, F-35A Lightnings, and T-6A training aircraft.
“As part of the integrated effort to address physiological events, the Air Force is providing more resources to understand [unexplained physiological events], standardize response actions to such events and assess options for more robust aircrew training to recognize and respond to these events,” Brig. Gen. Bobbi Jo Doorenbos, who was picked to lead the team, said in an Air Force release on Monday. “Our ultimate goal is to prevent UPEs.”
A physiological event happens when pilots experience symptoms that can be caused by a number of factors, like hypoxia, that can cause dizziness, confusion, and impair a pilot’s ability to fly.
The team is still waiting for the Air Force’s deputy chief of staff for operations to approve its charter, according to Aviation Week. Once that charter is signed, the team will start to gather information in order to determine if previous recommendations were implemented correctly.
<img src="http://static6.businessinsider.com/image/587299f5f10a9a98468b6e5c-2400/160304-f-vy794-304.jpg" alt="amanda f35a pilot" data-mce-source="Staff Sgt. Staci Miller/US Air Force" data-mce-caption="US Air Force Maj. William Andreotta, F-35 heritage flight team pilot, prepares for take-off Read More Here