Naval Command In Coronado Grounds Trainer Aircraft Fleet After Pilots Refuse To Fly
Naval Air Force Command on Coronado is temporarily grounding its fleet of trainer aircraft, after pilots refused to fly, citing safety concerns.
The Navy ordered a fleet-wide grounding of the T-45C on Wednesday. The three-day halt came after a story on Fox News cited unnamed pilots who said that the Navy didn’t take their concerns seriously.
Military.com reports that physiological episodes have increased dramatically over the past five years on the military trainer. Pilots have become disoriented in flight at an increasing rate, especially on board older planes.
"Right now, we don't have the smoking gun," Vice Adm. Mike Shoemaker told Fox News before announcing the temporary halt.
At least 94 flights were canceled prior to the stop. In a statement, the Navy said “the root cause of physiological episodes remains unidentified, but engineers are working diligently to find a solution.”
According to written responses to questions provided by Naval Air Force Central Command, the operational pause is set to last through Friday. The Navy believes there are procedures in place that ensure the planes are safe to fly.
The T-45 Goshawk is 30 years old. The 197 planes are based at three locations on the East Coast. According to the manufacturer, the Goshawk is the only trainer jet designed to launch from a carrier. The planes are used to train Naval and Marine aviators. They are often seen in San Diego, when pilots are en route to train aboard carriers.
In May 2015, a T-45C skidded off the runway and landed in the San Diego Bay. The pilot ejected and was treated for injuries.