Defense

November 18, 2013

U-2 Program Office helps eliminate DCS

Thanks to the U-2 Program Office at Robins Air Force Base, Ga., Air Force pilots flying the “Dragon Lady” no longer experience decompression sickness during their high-altitude flights.

Commonly referred to as DCS, decompression sickness is caused by the formation of nitrogen bubbles in the blood and tissue following a sudden drop of air pressure.

For U-2 pilots, who routinely fly missions above 70,000 feet, this has been a major concern.

“Our pilots were seeing an increased number of DCS incidents due to long missions,” said Col. Fred Kennedy, Command and Control, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Division chief. “Air Force senior leaders became aware of the problem, and made fixing it their†number one†priority for our program.”

The fix – dubbed the Cabin Altitude Reduction Effort, or CARE, program – beefs up the U-2′s structure, replaces the legacy cockpit pressure regulator and safety valve, and includes modifications to the engine bleed schedule. That permits engineers to nearly double the cockpit pressure experienced by a U-2 pilot, from 4.4 pounds per square inch to more than 8 psi.

“What our folks have done is to drop the apparent altitude in the cockpit from 29,500 feet to 15,000 feet, roughly the difference between Mount Everest and Pikes Peak,” said Kennedy. “CARE basically eliminates the risk of DCS and allows our U-2 pilots – who might otherwise have been removed from flying status – to keep flying.”

A total of 27 U-2 airframes have been outfitted with CARE, ahead of schedule and under cost. The total outlay for the program was just $8.7 million.

To date, there have been no reported DCS incidents since the modifications.

“This is a big deal for the U-2 community,” said Kennedy. “Healthy pilots mean more missions and more extraordinary ISR capability for our war fighters.”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines April 18, 2014

Business: Lockheed to Lose 17 F-35s Under Automatic Pentagon Cuts - Pentagon will cut 17 of the 343 F-35 fighters it planned to buy from Lockheed Martin in fiscal 2016 through 2019 unless Congress repeals automatic budget cuts, according to a new Defense Department report. DOD looking for ways not to break MH-60R helo deal - The...
 
 

News Briefs April 18, 2013

U.S. military deaths in Afghanistan at 2,177 As of April 15, 2014, at least 2,177 members of the U.S. military had died in Afghanistan as a result of the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001, according to an Associated Press count. At least 1,802 military service members have died in Afghanistan as a result...
 
 
LM-F35-hours

F-35 fleet surpasses 15,000 flying hours

The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II fleet recently surpassed 15,000 flight hours, marking a major milestone for the program.  “Flying 15,000 hours itself demonstrates that the program is maturing, but what I think is e...
 

 
nasa-cassini

NASA Cassini images may reveal birth of new Saturn moon

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has documented the formation of a small icy object within the rings of Saturn that may be a new moon, and may also provide clues to the formation of the planet’s known moons. Images taken w...
 
 

NASA completes LADEE mission with planned impact on Moon’s surface

Ground controllers at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., have confirmed that NASA’s Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer spacecraft impacted the surface of the moon, as planned, between 9:30 and 10:22 p.m., PDT, April 17. LADEE lacked fuel to maintain a long-term lunar orbit or continue science operations and was intentionally sent...
 
 
Photograph courtesy of NASA Ames/SETI Institute/JPL-Caltech

NASA’s Kepler telescope discovers first Earth-size planet in ‘habitable zone’

Photograph courtesy of NASA Ames/SETI Institute/JPL-Caltech Kepler-186f resides in the Kepler-186 system about 500 light-years from Earth in the constellation Cygnus. The system is also home to four inner planets, seen lined up...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>