An F-35 fighter jet taxies out for a training mission at Hill Air Force Base on March 15, 2017 in Ogden, Utah. (Photo by AFP)
Oxygen deprivation problems for at least five American pilots have led to suspension of flights by an F-35 fighter wing in the US
state of Arizona
The 56th Fighter Wing at Luke Air Force Base was expected to resume F-35 flights on Saturday following their suspension over hypoxia-like symptoms in pilots, Air Force spokesman Captain Mark Graff said in a statement, CNN reported.
Graff added that the suspension was announced “not out of fear or out of danger, but out of an abundance of caution,”
According to Brigadier General Brook Leonard, the commander of the 56th Fighter Wing, “In order to synchronize operations and maintenance efforts toward safe flying operations, we have canceled local F-35A flying… The Air Force takes these physiological incidents seriously, and our focus is on the safety and well-being of our pilots. We are taking the necessary steps to find the root cause of these incidents.”
The suspension is only limited to the Arizona base as “no other incidents have been reported.”
Last year, the Lockheed Martin-made F-35A fighter jets were declared combat ready by the Air Force, and F-35s have now deployed to Japan and Europe.