The 56th Fighter Wing will resume local F-35A flight operations following an 11-day pause after five ‘physiological events’ occurred.
According to a press release:
“No specific root cause for the physiological events was identified during recent visits from experts and engineers from the Joint Program Office, Lockheed Martin, the Air Force Research Laboratory and other organisations. However, specific concerns were eliminated as possible causes including maintenance and aircrew flight equipment procedures.”
The press release also set out five criteria that are temporarily applied to local flights as technical and human performance data continues to be gathered:
1. Avoid the altitudes in which all five physiological events occurred.
2. Modify ground procedures to mitigate physiological risks to pilots.
3. Expand physiological training to increase understanding between pilot and medical communities.
4. Increase minimum levels for backup oxygen systems for each flight.
5. Offer pilots the option of wearing sensors during flight to collect airborne human performance data.
Brig. Gen. Brook Leonard, the 56th Fighter Wing commander said:
“Our active duty, reserve, and international team has worked tirelessly to better understand the physiological events.
This is a complex challenge that necessitates multidimensional solutions across a series of steps to get back to a full operating capability. We are confident that this initial step with the criteria our team developed will allow us to return to flying F-35s safely and to continue building the future of airpower.”