Navy fighter jet makes emergency landing in Moses Lake

The EA-18G “Growler” fighter landed Thursday morning after a crew member complained of a lack of oxygen.

By Charles H. Featherstone / Columbia Basin Herald

MOSES LAKE — A Navy EA-18G “Growler” fighter jet made an emergency landing at the Grant County International Airport (GCIA) Thursday morning after one of the crew members complained of a lack of oxygen.

According to communications heard between Grant County’s Multi Agency Communications Center, AMR Ambulance and the Port of Moses Lakes’s fire department, the plane landed after one of the crew reported suffering symptoms of hypoxia.

GCIA Director Rich Mueller said the plane landed safely, the crew was checked out by paramedics and received “a clean bill of health.”

The crew will spend the night in Moses Lake, and will see if the plane can be flown out on Friday, according to a source.

The “Growler” is a derivative of the F/A-18 “Hornet” optimized for electronic warfare.

Over the last decade, the F/A-18 has been plagued with problems in its onboard oxygen generators, designed to supply pilots and crew members with oxygen at high altitudes, according to a 2017 report by the U.S. Naval Institute. The deaths of four F/A-18 pilots may also be related to the issue, which has been troubling the Navy’s T-45 “Goshawk” trainer as well.

“The integration of the on-board oxygen generation system (OBOGS) in the T-45 and FA-18 is inadequate to consistently provide high quality breathing air,” the Naval Institute report said. “The net result is contaminants can enter aircrew breathing air provided by OBOGS and potentially induce hypoxia.”

The oxygen generation systems on many combat jets take air from the engine intakes, purify it, and then remove the nitrogen, delivering 95 percent pure oxygen for fighter pilots and weapons officers to breathe, according to the institute report. Because fighter jets can change altitude rapidly, the nitrogen is removed to prevent pilots from getting the bends, or nitrogen bubbles in their blood, which can happen when pressure changes rapidly.

Talk to us

More in Northwest

State Sens, Ron Muzzall, R-Whidbey Island, left, Simon Sefzik, R-Ferndale, center left, Keith Wagoner, R-Sedro-Woolley, center right, and Chris Gildon, R-Puyallup, right, confer on the floor of the Senate during a recess, Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2022, at the Capitol in Olympia, Wash. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
House passes pause to state’s long-term care program and tax

The measure would delay the tax until July 2023, and would refund any premiums collected before then.

In this photo taken May 17, 2017, wine barrels are shown at a vineyard adjacent to the Walla Walla Vintners winery in Walla Walla, Wash. The remote southeastern Washington town of Walla Walla - which used to be best known for sweet onions and as home of the state penitentiary - has now reinvented itself into a center of premium wines and wine tourism. (AP Photo/Nicholas K. Geranios)
More sustainable Washington wines are on the way

Labels will indicate grape growers met guidelines in 9 areas, including water, pest and labor practices.

FILE - Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson talks to reporters, Monday, Aug. 26, 2019, during a news conference in Seattle. In a 5-4 decision Thursday, Jan. 20, 2022, the Washington Supreme Court upheld an $18 million campaign finance penalty against the Consumer Brands Association, formerly known as the Grocery Manufacturers Association. Ferguson sued the group in 2013, alleging that it spent $11 million to oppose a ballot initiative without registering as a political committee or disclosing the source of the money. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Washington justices uphold $18M fine in GMO-labeling case

Big grocers funneled dark money into a campaign against genetically modified labels on food packaging.

Section of a tsunami high ground map. (Island County)
Tsunami warning fizzled, but future threat to Whidbey is real

State and county officials have long warned about the possibility of a tsunami striking the island.

A sign bearing the corporate logo hangs in the window of a Starbucks open only to take-away customers in this photograph taken Monday, April 26, 2021, in southeast Denver.  Starbucks is no longer requiring its U.S. workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19, reversing a policy it announced earlier this month. The Seattle coffee giant says, Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2022,  it's responding to last week’s ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court.  (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Starbucks nixes vaccine mandate after Supreme Court ruling

The move reverses a policy the coffee company announced earlier this month.

Marianne Edain and Steve Erickson of WEAN at their South Whidbey home in 2019. (Laura Guido / South Whidbey Record, file)
Whidbey environment group isn’t suing county for first time in 25 years

The impact WEAN founders have had on environmental policy in Island County is extensive.

Lawsuit: Washington’s new majority Latino district is a ‘facade’

The legal action targets state Legislative District 15 in Yakima.

FILE - Trees scorched by the Caldor Fire smolder in the Eldorado National Forest, Calif., Friday, Sept. 3, 2021. The Biden administration wants to thin more forests and use prescribed burns to reduce catastrophic wildfires as climate changes makes blazes more intense. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)
US plans $50B wildfire fight where forests meet suburbia

Blazes have wiped out communities in California, Colorado, Arizona, Oregon and Washington state.

Skiers make their way uphill under idle lift chairs at the Summit at Snoqualmie Ski Area as fresh snow falls, Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018, in Snoqualmie Pass, Wash. Several inches of snow fell Wednesday, and the area shown was scheduled to open to skiers and begin lift operation later in the day. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Snoqualmie ski resort cuts some operations after losing power

For Monday skiing, the resort’s website said they have “less than a partial supply of energy.”

Most Read