Congressman Matt Gaetz still have safety concerns about the T-45 aircraft that have resumed training operations.
On “Pensacola Speak,” he said, “I’m glad that in resuming training operations the Navy is keeping the altitude for those aircraft under 10,000 feet. What that means is that our Naval Aviators don’t have to use the oxygen system that is literally poisoning them during their training and during their exercises.”
The Navy resumed T-45 Goshawk training flights at Pensacola Naval Air Station yesterday after briefly halting the flights because of concerns about the jets’ oxygen systems. Rep. Gaetz sent a letter to Vice Admiral Mike Shoemaker, commander of Naval Air Forces, expressing his concerns about the jets. See 04-17-2017 Letter to Commander Naval Air Forces
“I want to help the Navy in every conceivable way, diagnose why we’re having a problem with the T-45 aircraft,” said Gaetz. “I want to make sure that every asset that is at the disposal of the federal government is focused on this problem. Because until we get to the root cause, we’ll never truly be able to mitigate this risk that exists for our pilots and for our community.”
He said that several T-45 aircraft flown at NAS Pensacola had repeat occurrences of pilot hypoxia.
Gaetz said, “One of those aircraft was sent to Pax River (Naval Air Station Patuxent River), taken apart, put back together, and I wanna know what we’re finding out, what’s our timetable and our expectation.”
Why not wait for the investigation to be completed?
“The feedback we’ve gotten so far from the Pentagon is that had we not resumed some training exercises, there would’ve been a real negative impact to our readiness,” said Gaetz. “Because there are flight squadrons all over the world that are relying on the Naval Aviators that we’re churning out of Pensacola.”