MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - NAS Meridian's T-45C training jets are set to resume full-time operations in July.
The sounds of T-45C aircraft have been few and far between since the operational pause was lifted April 1. Only flight instructors were taking to the skies after problems in the On Board Oxygen Generation System were discovered.
"We are still flying students and instructors in proficiency warm-ups with a modified mask,” Vice Admiral Mike Shoemaker says.
Flight instructors had been expressing their concern over the system. Since the problem, a new Chief of Naval Air Training was announced. Rear Admiral James Bynum says there is now an open line of communication to ensure instructors and students feel safe.
“We have an obligation to communicate all the way down the chain to the youngest student naval aviator,” Byrum explains. “We need to listen to that youngest naval aviator and make sure that we are informed about their concerns and issues.”
Problems with the onboard oxygen system have not only affected the Navy's T-45, but the Air Force's F-22, F-35 and the Navy's F-18. Pilots in training have been updated on the issue.
"I think they're confident with what we're working on and continue to work on to deliver in the future to make this as safe as possible," Shoemaker says.
Through monitoring sensors and other modifications the Navy says the Goshawks will be able to fly, but the possibility of an oxygen system overhaul has not been ruled out.
"I think the things we have done in our system to understand and improve its performance are sufficient. They are enough to get us the confidence to get back to being in the air,” Shoemaker says.
“I know that together we are going to work hard to overcome these challenges and get back on to executing our mission,” Byrum says.
Navy officials hope to have all students and instructors back in the air beginning in July.
Click the attached link to read the Navy's Comprehensive Review of the problems associated with the On Board Oxygen Generation System.