Base Grounds F-35s After Pilots Starved of Oxygen

Luke Air Force Base in Arizona is investigating
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 13, 2017 9:58 AM CDT
This 2015 photo shows a F-35 jet at Hill Air Force Base in Utah.   (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

(Newser) – The Air Force has temporarily stopped flying F-35 fighter jets at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona in response to a series of incidents in which pilots reported symptoms of hypoxia, or oxygen deprivation, reports the AP. Air Force spokesman Capt. Mark Graff said the grounding of 55 of the Air Force's 200 F-35s followed five separate in-flight incidents since May 2.

Graff said in each case, the airplane's backup oxygen system worked as designed and the pilot was able to land the plane safely. The Air Force has established an "action team" of engineers, maintenance specialists, and aeromedical specialists to study the five Luke incidents, he said. The cancellation is limited to F-35s at Luke. F-35 operations at five other US bases are not affected. (Read more F-35 stories.)

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