Freezing Navy EA-18G Crew In Ice Filled Cockpit Navigated Home Using Their Smart Watches

AWP

Formerly Known as Freefalling
Administrator
Joined
Sep 8, 2006
Messages
13,683
Location
Not Afghanistan
#3
What's really sick about that story is the "yeah, we know we have a problem that kills people so our risk mitigation startegy is a COTS watch for all aircrew."
 

Ooh-Rah

Marine
Moderator
Joined
Sep 12, 2012
Messages
8,941
#4
What's really sick about that story is the "yeah, we know we have a problem that kills people so our risk mitigation startegy is a COTS watch for all aircrew."
Thank you. I read that too, and just sat there for a moment digesting the words, asking myself if they meant what I think they meant.

In July 2017, Navy Hornet, Super Hornet, and Growler pilots each got a $450 Garmin Fenix 3 wristwatch, which can measure air pressure and altitude and display an individual’s course heading.

The service issued the watches in order to provide a backup alert mechanism in case the ECS' on-board oxygen generation system, or OBOGS, malfunctioned and cockpit pressure dropped to unsafe levels and the aircraft's built-in safety mechanisms and warning systems also failed. The Navy had not publicly stated that it could serve as a improvised navigational aid in an emergency.

To add - I'm not afraid to admit that I've been loyal to Suunto for many years, but what an amazing free add for Garmin!

To add part 2: I thought the link for above was for the watch. ACTUALLY...it is to a separate story that discusses 'why' the watches were issued.
The Navy is Issuing Every F/A-18 Pilot A Garmin Watch. Here's Why.
 

Marauder06

Intel Enabler
Moderator
Joined
Sep 9, 2006
Messages
9,178
Location
CONUS
#5
Ho-Li-Shit :-o

A U.S. Navy EA-18G Growler recently made it back to base after suffering a terrifying mid-air mishap, which left its two-person crew flying blind and frostbitten after the aircraft’s environment control system failed in part thanks to a pair of high-tech wrist watches
This sentence made me think that the watches caused the failure. :)
 

Devildoc

Verified Military
Joined
Nov 3, 2015
Messages
2,753
Location
Durham, NC
#8
Holy for-real airmanship, Batman!

It reminds me of the story of John Glenn, circa Korean War, who was flying back to the carrier at night and lost all instrumentation. Flying along, following stars, doing nav math in his head, until the saw the phosphorescent wake being churned by the carrier.
 

256

SWAT
Verified Military
Joined
Jan 22, 2018
Messages
253
Location
pert near Lake Erie
#10
Thank you. I read that too, and just sat there for a moment digesting the words, asking myself if they meant what I think they meant.

In July 2017, Navy Hornet, Super Hornet, and Growler pilots each got a $450 Garmin Fenix 3 wristwatch, which can measure air pressure and altitude and display an individual’s course heading.

The service issued the watches in order to provide a backup alert mechanism in case the ECS' on-board oxygen generation system, or OBOGS, malfunctioned and cockpit pressure dropped to unsafe levels and the aircraft's built-in safety mechanisms and warning systems also failed. The Navy had not publicly stated that it could serve as a improvised navigational aid in an emergency.

To add - I'm not afraid to admit that I've been loyal to Suunto for many years, but what an amazing free add for Garmin!

To add part 2: I thought the link for above was for the watch. ACTUALLY...it is to a separate story that discusses 'why' the watches were issued.
The Navy is Issuing Every F/A-18 Pilot A Garmin Watch. Here's Why.
I too have always been a Suunto fan but I’ve started to fall out of love for them...Some of my tax refund might improve Garmin’s stock value.
 

Chopstick

Verified Estrogen Brigade
Member
Joined
Aug 25, 2006
Messages
5,252
Location
Sixburgh
#11
Holy for-real airmanship, Batman!

It reminds me of the story of John Glenn, circa Korean War, who was flying back to the carrier at night and lost all instrumentation. Flying along, following stars, doing nav math in his head, until the saw the phosphorescent wake being churned by the carrier.
Was that Jim Lovell? I remember something like that in the movie Apollo 13?
Jim Lovell, From Carriers to the Moon | History | Air & Space Magazine

By 1953 Lovell was dispatched to Moffett Field in California and assigned to Composite Squadron Three, an aircraft carrier group. Six months later he made his first nighttime carrier landing, off the coast of Japan. Lovell recalled in 1999 his response to the assignment: “I told the skipper, ‘You know, I’m having a little trouble flying in the daytime yet, and you want me to go out at night?’ ” Flying a F2H Banshee, Lovell searched for the USS Shangri-La. It was slightly more challenging than he’d expected: He was using a light he’d invented to illuminate his knee board, and it accidentally short-circuited his instrument panel, so Lovell had to locate the carrier by the trails of phosphorescent algae churned up in the carrier’s wake. A master of understatement, Lovell would recall the event years later: “It was a great experience, and I learned an awful lot.” (The memory became a famous scene in Apollo 13. In the film, Tom Hanks recalls the fear of not being able to find the carrier in all that blackness, a foreshadowing of the possibility of not making it home to Earth.)
 

Chopstick

Verified Estrogen Brigade
Member
Joined
Aug 25, 2006
Messages
5,252
Location
Sixburgh
#13
Yes, thank you. I had read about it way before the Apollo 13 movie, but that was it.
The thing is I think both of them plus many more aviators could have had similar experience. It is amazing to think of what those guys and many other aviators experienced in those times.
 

AWP

Formerly Known as Freefalling
Administrator
Joined
Sep 8, 2006
Messages
13,683
Location
Not Afghanistan
#16
The thing is I think both of them plus many more aviators could have had similar experience. It is amazing to think of what those guys and many other aviators experienced in those times.
There were one or two major battles in WWI (Philippine Sea?) where aircrew were out after dark, navigating by the stars, and the task force commander ordered the carriers to turn on their lights despite the risk of submarines in the area.

People don't realize that part of naval aviation is being at a certain place at a certain time, all because YOUR AIRFIELD IS MOVING.

I love you 160th, but I still think naval aviators are the best on the planet.
 
Joined
Dec 10, 2012
Messages
1,147
#17
Crazy (and poorly written/edited) story. I easily imagine this being a much more tragic story had the pilots not been part of a test and eval squadron.

Someone really needs to step up and lead a comprehensive process to get to the source these PE issues pronto. OBOGS seems to be a consistent player in many cases. It really seems like an all services, complete step by step engineering analysis and, when appropriate, redesign of ECS systems is needed. This has already been done to some extent with OBOGS but issues apparent continue to persist; new water separators were added in some cases but it almost feels like a bandaid. And while Navy flyers love cool watches, that really isn't a fix either. Nearly all newer model/retrofit aircraft seem to be impacted (ex. we don't hear much about PE issues with F-16 or F-15s, although A-10s were grounded for awhile last year); why?

This is a good but somewhat frustrating article on the issue:
U.S. Military Tackles Vexing Issue of Physiological Episodes

Data clearly shows incidents have risen significantly. This isn't my area of expertise and there are certainly much, much smarter people that me actually working on the issue but the idea that we just "manage" it due to the human factor doesn't at all feel like right the answer.
 
Last edited:
Top