19th Air Force commander Maj. Gen. Patrick Doherty has called for an operational pause to all T-6 Texan II operations after “a cluster of unexplained physiological events” occurred within a week at Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi, Vance AFB, Oklahoma, and Sheppard AFB, Texas, according to an Air Education and Training Command press release. The physiological episodes are only the latest to occur in Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps aircraft of several different types.
The 19th Air Force commander directed the operational pause beginning Feb. 1. This latest operational stand-down has been called to enable the Air Force to investigate the incidents, educate and listen to aircrew, and look to develop and deliver mitigation solutions.
“The safety of our instructors and student pilots is paramount and has been our priority and focus,” said Maj. Gen. Patrick Doherty, 19th Air Force commander. “We’re acting swiftly, making temporary, but necessary, changes to everyone’s training, general awareness, checklist procedures, and possibly modify aircrew flying equipment to mitigate risk to the aircrew while we tackle this issue head-on to safeguard everyone flying T-6s.”
In early 2018 the Air Force established a team led by Brig. Gen. Bobbi Jo Doorenbos to integrate and coordinate investigative and remedial efforts across the service and in cooperation with industry to address unexplained physiological events.