Congress has ordered the Department of Defense to fix an issue with the F-35 breathing system that has pilots alternately gasping for air or awash in pure oxygen. As part of the 2022 appropriations for the military, the House Armed Services Committee has told the military to take action on a NASA study that found the high-tech aircraft’s breathing system faulty. “Investigate, assess and implement corrective actions for the F-35 breathing system initially noted by the NASA’s Engineering and Safety Center (NESC) Technical Assessment Report on the F-35 pilot breathing system,” a summary of the bill states.
The breathing system on the plane is supposed to match air delivery to the breathing demands of the pilots but it doesn’t work according to NASA’s study, which put two of the jets through a series of maneuvers while measuring the airflow. “The F-35 breathing system noticeably discourages normal breathing function via high-pressure, pressure surges, and hyperoxia,” the NASA report said. “At times, the pilot would demand oxygen and got nothing, and at times they received too much. Both F-35 jets exhibited the same behaviors and data is consistent between the two jets and consistent with pilot observations.”