Navy Fix on Pilots’ Oxygen Shortage Seen Stalled by Red Tape

Tony Capaccio (Bloomberg) and Roxana Tiron (Bloomberg Government)

The Navy’s hunt for a solution to its top aviation safety issue — oxygen deprivation and loss of cockpit cabin pressure in its training aircraft and fighters — is hampered by communications breakdowns between engineers and pilots, according to the Senate Armed Services Committee.

“While a lot of good work was being done and data being created and analyzed, those efforts are not always being effectively communicated down to the flightline, where the dangers” of oxygen-deprivation related physiological episodes, or PEs, “are most acute,” the committee said in the report it released late Tuesday on its fiscal 2018 defense policy bill, S 1519.

The senators urged the Navy “to consider designating a single individual for each” aircraft class affected — F/A-18 Hornets and Super Hornets fighters, electronic jamming EA-18 Growlers and T-45 Goshawks trainers — “to act as bridge between engineer and operator to ensure that a positive and frequent communications flow” increases as solutions are sought.

Back to Top