VANCE AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- The 71st Flying Training Wing at Vance Air Force Base, Oklahoma, enacted an operational pause in T-6A Texan II flying operations Nov. 15, after a fourth physiological event occurred since Nov. 1.
According to base officials, four instructor pilots and one student pilot assigned to Vance Air Force Base have reported physiological incidents while flying since Nov. 1. In each case, the aircraft's backup oxygen system operated as designed, and the pilot followed the correct procedures, landing the aircraft safely.
“Vance Air Force Base is committed to ensuring aircrew safety is paramount, and are conducting a full investigation of the reported cases,” said Col. Darrell Judy, 71st FTW commander.
During the operational pause, a systematic program was put into place to brief instructor pilots and students on the situation and increase their awareness of physiological incidents. Pilots were also briefed on all the incidents that have occurred and the successful actions taken by the pilots to safely recover their aircraft.
Flight medicine briefed physiological event symptoms and also the extensive measures that are being taken to analyze data collected from the incidents. Additionally, the 71st Operations Group held an open forum to discuss any concerns pilots may have, given these recent occurrences.
Currently, the local flying operational pause is limited to Vance Air Force Base T-6s. Because the incidents are limited to the T-6 airframe, T-1A Jayhawk and T-38 Talon flight operations will continue.
Air Force senior leaders are aware of the incidents and are actively providing support and resources as necessary.