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Air Force Scientific Advisory Board to conduct study of aircraft oxygen generators

by Maj. Chad Steffey
Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs

7/21/2011 - WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- The Air Force continues a review of all of the service's aircraft equipped with oxygen generation systems, according to Air Force officials.

Following the fleet-wide stand-down of the F-22 Raptor directed by Air Combat Command leadership in May, Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley directed the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board to conduct a quick-look study, gather and evaluate information, and recommend any needed corrective actions on aircraft using on-board oxygen generation systems. In addition to the F-22, this includes the A-10 Thunderbolt II, F-15E Strike Eagle, F-16 Fighting Falcon, F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, B-1 Lancer, B-2 Spirit, CV-22 Osprey, T-6 Texan II, and other aircraft as appropriate.

Retired Air Force Gen. Gregory Martin, former commander of both Air Force Materiel Command and U.S. Air Forces in Europe, and a command pilot with more than 4,600 flight hours, is leading a senior team of scientific and technical experts in the study. The team will expand on previous safety and accident investigations and may include other agencies or industry partners.

In a series of carefully controlled in-flight tests, the team will examine the sub-systems identified in reported incidents. These include the pressurization system, mask and cockpit oxygen levels.

"The safety of our aircrews is paramount," said Maj. Gen. Gregory Feest, Air Force Chief of Safety. "This review is a prudent step to ensure that all potential technical, causal, and contributory factors have been fully considered and that all appropriate steps are being taken to enhance flight safety."

With the exception of standing down F-22 flight operations, Air Force units will continue normal operations during the SAB quick-look study. At this time there is no intention to direct a stand-down of any other aircraft in the inventory.

Additionally, officials emphasize that other fighter aircraft have been made available to meet immediate combatant commander requirements, such as Air Sovereignty Alert for homeland defense and theater security commitments. If required, the F-22 can and will be put into service to meet essential National Security missions.

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