May 14, 2016 – “Nothing scares a Hornet/Growler pilot more that losing oxygen – and it happens all the time.” This article in the Navy Times details the problem, which pilots have identified as their top concern. But read the comments, some are from pilots who add perspective, including the fact that the problem is decades old and the new, less reliable oxygen delivery system replaced the old reliable one because it made maintenance cheaper.
Here’s the issue as we see it: While the West Coast Action Alliance maintains our vigorous objections to the Navy’s encroachment on public lands, waters and airspaces over civilian communities, we also vigorously object to the fact that when the Pentagon’s focus becomes “How much money can we spend on defense contractors making new weapons” instead of “How can we take care of the people who serve and who’ve served,” then they put lives in danger unnecessarily, both in the air and on the ground. This is a fixable problem and the Navy is not fixing it. Do they not have the money? Not when you look at this list that shows at least 2/3 of the Pentagon’s budget goes to defense contractors. Of the top 37 US contractors, all but 4 are defense, and development of new weaponry takes priority. Humanity already knows ways to kill itself a thousand times over, but preventable jet crashes should not be one of them.
If a Navy jet ever crashes and hypoxia is found to be the cause, it will likely be a matter of criminal negligence.