The US Navy has grounded its fleet of T-45 trainer jets on Wednesday following instructor pilots’ refusal to fly, raising concerns about the oxygen systems' efficiency as the aviators are experiencing light-headedness and blackouts.
“We take the concerns of our air crew seriously and have directed a two-day safety pause for the T-45 community to allow time for naval aviation leadership to engage with the pilots, hear their concerns and discuss the risk mitigations, as well as the efforts that are ongoing to correct this issue,” Cmdr. Jeanette Groeneveld, a Navy spokeswoman was quoted as saying by Washington Post Wednesday.
All 197 of the single-engine jets will be grounded as engineering experts meet with pilots this week at training sites in Kingsville, Texas; Meridian, Mississippi and Pensacola, Florida, Groeneveld said. The grounding could be extended depending on what investigators finding.
"The complaints about problems in the T-45 have been getting worse recently," a Navy officer, speaking on condition of anonymity, said.
"I would not characterize the decisions not to fly as a boycott," Groeneveld said but added that senior Navy officials have decided to meet personally with some instructor pilots.