Luke Air Force Base extends cancellation of F-35 flight operations
- Author: Zachary Reyes Jun 13, 2017,
Jun 13, 2017, 2:48
F-35 air operations at other bases continued, U.S. Air Force officials said. After sometimes on the flight, the aircraft showcased the oxygen problems, which lead the pilots to get avail the oxygen from the reserve systems to fly the aircraft safely.
Luke Air Force Base has 55 F-35A Lightning II jets in operation and conducts 25 training flights each weekday, according to base officials. The term "hypoxia" is the deficiency of oxygen reaching to the tissues in a human body, which was assumingly faced by the F-35 pilots when they go on training with the fighter jets.
The planes were grounded Friday due to five incidents since May 2 in which pilots experienced hypoxia-like symptoms. An updated timetable to resume flights was not provided, with the Air Force saying only "we will take as much time as necessary" to ensure pilot safety.
Lockheed Martin, which built the jet, said it still plans to show the plane at the Paris Air Show this month.
The decision to ground all F-35 fighters at the Luke Air Force Base in Arizona was extended indefinitely, as special teams of experts struggled to figure out what caused multiple incidents of pilots reporting oxygen deprivation.
The F-35A is the Air Force variant of the Joint Strike Fighter: The F-35B Marine Corps variant was declared combat-ready in 2015, and the F-35C Nary variant is supposed to be combat operational next year.
Over 220 operational F-35s have been built and delivered to U.S. and allied militaries.
Touted as the fifth-generation fighter jet with a modular design, the F-35 comes in three variants. Issues with the life support gear on board F-22 Raptors were identified and resolved back in 2012. The Air Force said Friday that the F-35 program office has created a team of "engineers, maintainers and aeromedical specialists to examine the incidents to better understand the issue".