Tuesday, May 17, 2011

OBOGS investigation spreads to other Air Force fighter, trainer aircraft

From:  Warner Robbins Patriot

Concern over the on-board oxygen generation system on the F-22 jet has
spread to other Air Force fighter and trainer aircraft including the
F-15E managed at Robins Air Force Base.
Air Combat Command decided to stand down its fleet of F-22 Raptors on
May 3. The issue stems from a November crash of the Air Force's newest
air superiority fighter in Alaska, although no specific cause of that
accident has been released.
ACC told Air Force Times that nine suspected cases of hypoxia – possibly
related to a malfunctioning OBOGS – have been recorded since the
mid-2008. Additional incidents were recorded, with a significant uptick
in frequency, immediately prior to the stand down decision, ACC
confirmed. On-board oxygen generation is critical for fighter pilots at
altitudes above 18,000 feet.
"No other airframes have been stood down due to this investigation,"
Capt Jennifer Ferrau, an ACC spokeswoman, told The Times. "However, a
parallel investigation is taking place on the A-10, F-16, F-35 and T-6
Russell Alford, the Aerospace Sustainment Directorate's lead engineer at
Robins, said the F-15E is the only Robins-managed aircraft that uses an
OBOGS. Several different designs are used in the process of converting
engine bleed air to breathable oxygen.
Alford said the device onboard the F-15E has been in use since the early
1990s and has safely accumulated over 675,000 flight hours. The same
system is also used on F-15s flown by Saudi Arabia, Korea and Singapore,
the lead engineer noted, "where it has a stellar track record."
"The F-15 system program office is supporting the Air Force
investigation," Alford said, "although the F-15Es do not use the same
design as the F-22 fleet."


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