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T-6s Grounded; More OBOGS Issues

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There I was, in the shit, as a UPT student. End of story.
I am just reading a lot of complaints about an issue that seems pretty minor. Plenty of other airplanes out there fly pressurized without the required wear of a mask for the purpose of supplemental oxygen. I hear plenty of stories about guys flying with their mask down in the T-6...why now is there an uproar? If you wear your mask for CFS protection and that’s the sole reason, there’s a fix for that. 
There are a ton of risky things involved with aviation but breathing cockpit air with an emergency oxygen reserve just doesn’t seem to be one of those to me. 


Hypoxia is not a minor issue, especially when it's due to fumes and not just low oxygen context. Throw in the fact that since the problem isn't fully identified, the proposed fixes might not even solve the problem. Is the problem solely contained in the OBOGS system, or is all the bleed air contaminated, including the bleed air used for cockpit/cabin air? That's the question that has me worried for my buds still flying the T-6.

Similar concerns out in the civilian sector too wrt bleed air systems:
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-08-08/airline-workers-warn-of-dangerous-fumes-onboard

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There I was, in the shit, as a UPT student. End of story.
I am just reading a lot of complaints about an issue that seems pretty minor. Plenty of other airplanes out there fly pressurized without the required wear of a mask for the purpose of supplemental oxygen. I hear plenty of stories about guys flying with their mask down in the T-6...why now is there an uproar? If you wear your mask for CFS protection and that’s the sole reason, there’s a fix for that. 
There are a ton of risky things involved with aviation but breathing cockpit air with an emergency oxygen reserve just doesn’t seem to be one of those to me. 


Sounds like we have a volunteer to fly the T-6 in its current configuration. He ain’t scared of no CFS burns to the face or high altitude ejections with no O2. He doesn’t mind breathing in acrid smoke and fumes. Dude I’m sure we could get you orders soon and we need the help.

Sack up. Great line by the way. You sure you’re not leadership?
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3 minutes ago, B.L said:

 


Sounds like we have a volunteer to fly the T-6 in its current configuration. He ain’t scared of no CFS burns to the face or high altitude ejections with no O2. He doesn’t mind breathing in acrid smoke and fumes. Dude I’m sure we could get you orders soon and we need the help.

Sack up. Great line by the way. You sure you’re not leadership?

 

I’m already at Laughlin, dual qual sounds great as long as my beans will be prorated. None of the points made have changed my mind. If I was an IP in T-6 land this would be a non-issue for me. Flew a single engine turboprop without ejection seats, with a 10 minute supply of emergency oxygen and no smoke goggles well outside of glide from any suitable landing site and somehow still managed just fine. 

Sure, the possibility of some anomalous in-flight breakup of a T-6 at high altitude is statistically possible...but how likely? Same goes for smoke and fumes event incidents given the amount of daily flying that occurs. 

Not saying things can’t happen but the pervasive unwillingness to fly is almost comical. Go spend some time with Army rotary wing, I’m sure that group will empathize. 

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5 minutes ago, Standby said:

Not saying things can’t happen but the pervasive unwillingness to fly is almost comical. 

I'm not an AETC guy, but listening to my buds out there I have a similar impression.  What am I missing about the T-6 systems?  This seems like no big deal-- fly unpressurized and get done what you can breathing ambient air... sure there's a possibility of an instrument catching fire.  Life is risk, flying more so.  Not an optimal situation, but is the risk factor really higher than what other platforms accept?  I'm genuinely asking, never flew a T-6.  And the stories of FAIPs yelling at SQ/CCs during all calls, demanding the WG/CC contact POTUS to resolve this... does the T-6 situation warrant the level of unprofessionalism we're hearing about?

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So when jets start breaking and we don’t know what’s causing it we’re just going to accommodate flying instead of fixing it ?  Gear problems ?  Well just fly gear down for stories.  Avionics issues ?  Ok no ILS approaches allowed anymore.  I think you need to fix known issues to keep trust for your work force.  

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And the stories of FAIPs yelling at SQ/CCs during all calls, demanding the WG/CC contact POTUS to resolve this... does the T-6 situation warrant the level of unprofessionalism we're hearing about?


That’s overboard. I haven’t seen that in my neck of the T-6 woods and if so that’s insane.

The biggest issue is all the risk leadership has signed off on our behalf. Half of our fleets ejections systems don’t function properly. We have a known issue with instruments flying to fail and filling our cockpit with smoke and fumes. Oh, and we have no way of knowing when this will happen. Our CFS may or may not work, and heaven forbid we get damage to the canopy and pass out. The fire crew is going to chipping for a while because we no longer have an exterior CFS handle. Our oxygen system isn’t working as advertised, and they are going to cap us at 8k cabin altitude. Cool I can live with that. But our pressurization system isn’t the greatest after being left in the cold and not flying for a prolonged amount of time.

What could possibly go wrong? People are upset about the amount of risk being accepted for them. And the pressure to keep progressing the timeline. We’ll also see what these mods do to the syllabus. And if we are altitude capped we lose half of our training ability. It’s a lot of crap piled into one aircraft. I haven’t seen this level of risk acceptance to an aircrafts core functions in my career. But I could be wrong.
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33 minutes ago, B.L said:

That’s overboard. I haven’t seen that in my neck of the T-6 woods and if so that’s insane.

The biggest issue is all the risk leadership has signed off on our behalf. Half of our fleets ejections systems don’t function properly. We have a known issue with instruments flying to fail and filling our cockpit with smoke and fumes. Oh, and we have no way of knowing when this will happen. Our CFS may or may not work, and heaven forbid we get damage to the canopy and pass out. The fire crew is going to chipping for a while because we no longer have an exterior CFS handle. Our oxygen system isn’t working as advertised, and they are going to cap us at 8k cabin altitude. Cool I can live with that. But our pressurization system isn’t the greatest after being left in the cold and not flying for a prolonged amount of time.

What could possibly go wrong? People are upset about the amount of risk being accepted for them. And the pressure to keep progressing the timeline. We’ll also see what these mods do to the syllabus. And if we are altitude capped we lose half of our training ability. It’s a lot of crap piled into one aircraft. I haven’t seen this level of risk acceptance to an aircrafts core functions in my career. But I could be wrong.

 

Good reply.  I didn't know the compounding nature of risk acceptance you guys were dealing with.  Thanks for a legit answer.  That said, accept risk and execute seems like the MLCOA forward until one of the potential catastrophes actually plays out in reality.

Yes the stories you quoted me on came from a bud at Vance within the last month.

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35 minutes ago, tac airlifter said:

......compounding nature of risk acceptance you guys were dealing with.  Thanks for a legit answer.  That said, accept risk and execute seems like the MLCOA forward until one of the potential catastrophes actually plays out in reality.

I don't have a dog in this fight.  However, the above sounds like "Normalization of Deviance."  Lots of stuff out there on the web.  From one link:

http://pressblog.uchicago.edu/2016/01/07/the-normalization-of-deviance.html

The sociologist Diane Vaughan coined the phrase the normalization of deviance to describe a cultural drift in which circumstances classified as “not okay” are slowly reclassified as “okay.” In the case of the Challenger space-shuttle disaster—the subject of a landmark study by Vaughan—damage to the crucial O‑rings had been observed after previous shuttle launches. Each observed instance of damage, she found, was followed by a sequence “in which the technical deviation of the [O‑rings] from performance predictions was redefined as an acceptable risk.” Repeated over time, this behavior became routinized into what organizational psychologists call a “script.” Engineers and managers “developed a definition of the situation that allowed them to carry on as if nothing was wrong.” To clarify: They were not merely acting as if nothing was wrong. They believed it, bringing to mind Orwell’s concept of doublethink, the method by which a bureaucracy conceals evil not only from the public but from itself.

  

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2 hours ago, Blue said:

I don't have a dog in this fight.  However, the above sounds like "Normalization of Deviance."  Lots of stuff out there on the web.  From one link:

http://pressblog.uchicago.edu/2016/01/07/the-normalization-of-deviance.html

The sociologist Diane Vaughan coined the phrase the normalization of deviance to describe a cultural drift in which circumstances classified as “not okay” are slowly reclassified as “okay.” In the case of the Challenger space-shuttle disaster—the subject of a landmark study by Vaughan—damage to the crucial O‑rings had been observed after previous shuttle launches. Each observed instance of damage, she found, was followed by a sequence “in which the technical deviation of the [O‑rings] from performance predictions was redefined as an acceptable risk.” Repeated over time, this behavior became routinized into what organizational psychologists call a “script.” Engineers and managers “developed a definition of the situation that allowed them to carry on as if nothing was wrong.” To clarify: They were not merely acting as if nothing was wrong. They believed it, bringing to mind Orwell’s concept of doublethink, the method by which a bureaucracy conceals evil not only from the public but from itself.

  

This.  This is what I hear from a lot of my buddies.  It's one thing for us to fly with something broken, but the fact that leadership has continued to for years to operate with no effort to fix things and keeps piling on more broken things and saying everything is ok is the problem.

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Wait, the o2 system is broken and you cant detonate the canopy from the outside?  This SIB is writing itself.

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3 hours ago, tac airlifter said:

Good reply.  I didn't know the compounding nature of risk acceptance you guys were dealing with.  Thanks for a legit answer.  That said, accept risk and execute seems like the MLCOA forward until one of the potential catastrophes actually plays out in reality.

Yes the stories you quoted me on came from a bud at Vance within the last month.

I commend your ability to alter your thoughts when presented evidence and greater understanding of the larger picture! - On that, Standby take some notes, no one cares about your internet bravery.   Bringing up the fact that the Army is willing to fly under circumstances that are wrong doesn't make what T-6 nation is under going wrong.  We have a lot of guys with a hell of a lot more hours and experience bringing up a number of concerns that leadership was never tracking in the first place.  The willingness at the start to run with scissors initially was a major issue that had to get gut punched immediately.  Once we stood down at least some cooler heads prevailed though we are still fighting against the PCL max types that don't understand the situation and only have sights for time line and using production as a retention tool.  

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Oil Lines were "fixed" with essentially tape, and a bracket installed to avoid further chafing.  I could be wrong on this but word was inventory only had two replacement hoses at time of occurrence.  During preflight I would often see them taped up from hoses not replaced but had some chafing marks.   ISS sequencing is still an issue, some tails have been fix'd however some tails also have been incorrectly labeled as fix'd but were found not to be upon further inspection on forms.

 

 

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I’ve taken notes and maintain my position. We all have our own ideas of what unnecessary risk is and this, TO ME, is not it. People will bitch about OBOGS or the lack of an external CFS jettison and then turn right around and ride a motorcycle home during rush hour. I’m OK with being in the minority here. 

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Caveat that I'm not 100% sure what's up with the external CFS issues.

However, I could certainly see someone flying in this proposed config and ending up with either smoke and fumes leading to use of OBOGS or just (since the actual cause is still undetermined) getting hypoxia symptoms off of engine bleed air which is being fed into the cockpit as part of the pressurization system. Maybe they are afraid to punch out without a mask to help protect their face from burning shards of glass, or maybe they are just making poor decisions based on just being hypoxic (Ace of Spades...Ace of Spades...)

So, they decide to try to the land the thing and end up porking it away due to lack of available instruments (smoke & fumes) combined with weather, or just lack of athleticism/experience (hmm...this IS the first USAF aircraft most people will fly solo) say they land short/long/sideways or just roll off the runway and stick with it. Even if the pilot is conscious at this point to try to egress themselves, they're again driven to use the CFS which will result in severe face-mangling without any mask to protect. Worse, they could be unconscious and (from the sounds of the current MX status?) the fire crews will have to resort to the axe to get them out.

Standby, yeah people do dumb stuff on their own time and put themselves in risky situations. For your example, the difference is most people will choose to actually ride a bike that is fully functional. The similarity is that the most dangerous thing in both scenarios is the other people on the road, or the leadership in the T-6 scenario, who are making stupid decisions which impact your life. And at least on the motorcycle you get a vote of how to react. Hopefully anyone uncomfortable enough with the situation in T-6 land has the balls to realize they have a vote. But will the student with 6-9 hours who doesn't have any better clue really have the airmanship to do so? Or will they just accept whatever the USAF hands them and trust it's in their best interest, not realizing it's just a Band-Aid fix of the USAF in order to preserve the USAF's timeline interests? Especially for a young eager aviator who just wants a chance to fly. They don't have the SA to realize the risk. They have to trust what their IP's tell them, and if the IP's hands are tied, and they are forced to fly...well, bottom line is it falls in line with AF's desire to produce but not retain

 

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I appreciate the thought put into the posts, but my opinion hasn't changed.  It's third-hand information, but I don't think the OBOGS issue is related to contamination but more likely concentrations and blood reaction. 

That being said, I would never assume that you have a vote in anything you do...especially while on a bike.  The only vote you have there is the decision to saddle up or not.  I have friends without limbs and have passed too many people under white sheets that never got a vote.

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I’ve taken notes and maintain my position. We all have our own ideas of what unnecessary risk is and this, TO ME, is not it. People will bitch about OBOGS or the lack of an external CFS jettison and then turn right around and ride a motorcycle home during rush hour. I’m OK with being in the minority here. 
Can you ride that motorcycle home without a helmet or safety equipment? Or without taking a motorcycle safety course on a recurring basis despite being licensed by a state? Even if your personal risk acceptance level says you're okay riding without a helmet or additional training? No, because the AF has set a level of risk it's willing to accept.

Keeping with the motorcycle analogy, the T-6 OBOGS fix is the AF essentially saying "ride with this cracked helmet, it should be good enough and we, AETC HQ, accept responsibility for the increased risk. The chances of you falling off your bike and needing the helmet to protect your nugget is slim anyways, so get out there and ride. If you don't want to ride under those conditions, you'll be labelled a non-team-player and there will be negative repercussions on your career. "

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Serious questions since I’ve been out of UPT for 12 years now - but do you guys run ORM before each T-6 sortie, or is that some bullshit only the MAF does?  

Based on what I’m reading here, I could easily come up with enough points to drive my ORM approval up to a level just shy of the SecDef. 

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10 hours ago, Standby said:

I’m already at Laughlin, dual qual sounds great as long as my beans will be prorated. None of the points made have changed my mind. If I was an IP in T-6 land this would be a non-issue for me. Flew a single engine turboprop without ejection seats, with a 10 minute supply of emergency oxygen and no smoke goggles well outside of glide from any suitable landing site and somehow still managed just fine.

Sure, the possibility of some anomalous in-flight breakup of a T-6 at high altitude is statistically possible...but how likely? Same goes for smoke and fumes event incidents given the amount of daily flying that occurs. 

Not saying things can’t happen but the pervasive unwillingness to fly is almost comical. Go spend some time with Army rotary wing, I’m sure that group will empathize. 

"Cars didn't even have seat belts back in my day, and I'm still here!"

Such an idiotic line of reasoning.

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40 minutes ago, BADFNZ said:

"Cars didn't even have seat belts back in my day, and I'm still here!"

Such an idiotic line of reasoning.

It was a comparison of how trivial the argument is. As I stated before, I’m clearly in the minority here. If someone offered me an enrichment ride on day one of the new procedures I would gladly accept. I’m not a company man, but I do love flying so thank goodness there are several types of us out there. 

Last post in this thread. 

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It was a comparison of how trivial the argument is. As I stated before, I’m clearly in the minority here. If someone offered me an enrichment ride on day one of the new procedures I would gladly accept. I’m not a company man, but I do love flying so thank goodness there are several types of us out there. 
Last post in this thread. 


You’re not serious? So because I have questions on the risk mitigation and safety issues the Air Force is ignoring in favor of pushing the timeline and creating more pilots I don’t like flying?

Dude, none of us would be in this profession if we didn’t love it. We just want an aircraft that does what it’s supposed to do and don’t want another Air Force rubber stamping everything and putting band-aids on major aviation and physiological issues.
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1 hour ago, FUSEPLUG said:

Serious questions since I’ve been out of UPT for 12 years now - but do you guys run ORM before each T-6 sortie, or is that some bullshit only the MAF does?  

Based on what I’m reading here, I could easily come up with enough points to drive my ORM approval up to a level just shy of the SecDef. 

Yes.  And IP's at Vance have supposedly had to explain to higher ups why people were ORM'ing out (mind you this was during the 20 days straight of working).  Keep in mind that's just rumor, I was gone during that.  But it wouldn't surprise me given there was a time when Deputy OG's and Sq/CC's were wondering around and QC'ing schedules.

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