Monday, October 19, 2015

USAF: Expanded Risk of Neck Damage to F-35 Pilots

USAF: Expanded Risk of Neck Damage to F-35 Pilots: Weeks after Defense News revealed that the military services has restricted lightweight pilots from flying the F-35 joint strike fighter, the US Air Force officially acknowledged an increased risk of neck damage during ejection to middleweight pilots as well.

In a news release issued Oct. 16, the Air Force confirmed a Defense News report that pilots who weigh less than 136 pounds are currently barred from flying the fifth-generation aircraft, expected to be the backbone of American airpower for decades to come. It also acknowledged an "elevated level of risk" for pilots between 136 and 165 pounds.

"While the probability of an ejection in this slow speed regime remains very low, estimated at one in 100,000 flight hours, the risk of a critical injury in that circumstance is currently higher than legacy fighter ejection seats," the service warned.