Aviation Week & Space Technology

Podcast: Combat Aircraft Safety

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The U.S. military’s pilots have reported an increasing number of physiological episodes, such as a lack of oxygen. Aviation Week’s Pentagon Editor Lara Seligman discusses the latest in this ongoing problem and some of the potential solutions. Plus, Senior Technology Editor Guy Norris describes the Automated Integrated Collision Avoidance System developed by Lockheed Martin and the U.S. Air Force, which is being designed to prevent F-16 crashes in mid-air and with the ground.

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Discuss this Video 2

on Nov 9, 2017

Details are rather limited. Are the pilots under heavy G when the incidents occur? This may sound a bit crazy, but this almost sounds like an elaborate version of the “Pass Out Game”. Maybe they should be looking at changes in the Hook Maneuver.

on Nov 14, 2017

CFIT can occur due to a number of factors that include, loss of situational awareness (LSA), spatial disorientation (SD), illusions and pilot physiologic incapacity to name a few. Pilot physiologic incapacity is most commonly Gz induced loss of consciousness (G-LOC), hypoxia or hypercapnia. There are rare cases of heart attacks and strokes that resulted in aircraft loss and death but the gamut includes everything in between as well. Causes vary by Service with the Navy traditionally having more hypoxia/hypercapnia and the USAF having more G-LOC. The bulk of Navy CFITs are associated with the respiratory system while most USAF CFITs seem to be due to SD, G-LOC or LSA. Regardless of the cause, Auto-GCAS protects the pilot and the aircraft.

Once the CFIT problem is solved, the next leading cause of death is midair collision so Auto-ICAS is a very timely package.

The lack of a requirement for safety (Key Performance Parameter - KPP) is an inexcusable oversight in an organization that talks like safety is important but doesn't actually put the technology on the aircraft. Above all else, that attitude needs to be fixed. Auto-GCAS should have been deployed in all fighter/attack fleets with digital electronic flight controls years ago. The 'Line In The Sky' program the F-22 used to substitute for Auto-GCAS is a perfect example of the acquisition infrastructure providing lip service without substance.

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