By the time hypoxia is detected, it’s often too late, and the higher the cabin altitude, the less time pilots have to realize that they need to don oxygen masks.
The U.S. Air Force will gradually lift flight restrictions placed on its Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor fleet in response to unexplained incidents of hypoxia, or oxygen deprivation, experienced by pilots dating as far back as 2008.
Now out of production, the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor is troubled by an unresolved problem thought to be tied to its onboard oxygen generation system (Obogs). Nevertheless, the U.S. Air Force recently deployed the stealthy fighter to Al Dhafra airbase in the UAE, and it plans to add new capabilities to the aircraft over the next decade.
The U.S. Air Force approved a resumption of flight operations by the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor, ending a four-month standdown ordered after pilots experienced symptoms of hypoxia. The suspected source of the problem, the aircraft’s onboard oxygen generation system (Obogs), remains under study.
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University has taken delivery of a Mentor advanced aircraft training device built by Frasca. The trainer will be used in studies of hypoxia, or oxygen deprivation, in the university’s Normobaric lab. The Mentor replicates a Cessna 172 cockpit complete with Garmin G1000 avionics and a Truvision visual system.
In recent months FAA Administrator Babbitt has promoted specific tailored hypoxia training, along with high-altitude handling, for commercial and private pilots who want to fly at high altitude. Indeed, FAA Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14CFR) establishes mandatory requirements for high-altitude training using military altitude chambers at 15 U.S.
Sunday marked the 10th anniversary of the Payne Stewart accident, in which the 42-year-old professional golfer and five others aboard a chartered Learjet 35 lost their lives after the jet suffered a loss of pressurization during a flight from Orlando, Fla., to Dallas. All aboard the Learjet fell unconscious from the effects of hypoxia about 15 minutes after departing Orlando International Airport.
October 25 marks the 10th anniversary of an event that shocked the worlds of aviation and golf when one of the game’s greats–Payne Stewart–lost his life after the Learjet in which he was traveling suffered a loss of pressurization during a flight from Orlando to Dallas.
Altitude chamber training is now being offered by MedAire at Arizona State University. The Tempe, Ariz.-based medical emergency response firm said the stand-alone, five- to six-hour course–available on demand–costs $995 per person and covers physiology, hypoxia, oxygen systems, altitude sickness and the physical effects of flight and decompression.
For aviators and their passengers, oxygen means life at the high altitudes traversed by modern aircraft. True high-altitude passenger flight wasn’t really practicable until large-cabin pressurization was introduced during the halcyon days of aeronautical development surrounding World War II, most notably aboard the Boeing 307 Stratoliner and Lockheed Constellation transports and Boeing B-29 bomber.
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