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US Air Force T-6 crashes in Oklahoma

The T-6A Texan II phasing out the aging T-37 fleet throughout Air Education and Training Command. (Air Force photo by Master Sgt. David Richards)
May 01, 2019

A U.S. Air Force T-6 Texan II training plane has crashed in Oklahoma on Wednesday.

The crash occurred around 2 p.m. local time near Sheppard Air Force Base in the area of Lake Waurika, Okla., according to an Air Force statement.

Two pilots were on board and both were able to eject before the crash.

“A T-6 Texan II from Sheppard Air Force Base crashed shortly before 2 p.m. May 1, near Lake Waurika, Oklahoma. Emergency crews are en route to the scene. Initial indications are that the pilot and copilot ejected safely. An investigation is underway. More information will be released as it becomes available.

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Details related to the cause of the crash were not provided.

A T-6 Texan also crashed near Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph in September. The student and pilot aboard ejected and received minor injuries during the incident.

The T-6 Texan has been plagued with oxygen system problems in the past.

Air Education and Training Command (AETC) announced in September that the T-6 fleet’s On-Board Oxygen Generating System (OBOGS) would be undergoing maintenance and replacement.

The project was estimated to take two to four years to complete. In the meantime, the AETC and Air Force Material Command (AFMC) were working with the manufacturer, Beechcraft, to create a solution in the onboard computer system that would allow software to stabilize the onboard oxygen concentrations.

The T-6 Texan has been involved in at least 13 incidents involving pilots’ physiological symptoms consistent with OBOGS failures. Some of the symptoms were attributed to insufficient oxygen or carbon dioxide levels in the blood, directly caused by fluctuating oxygen levels in the cockpit.

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The Air Force grounded all T-6 Texans in Feb. 2018. The pause was lifted less than four weeks later, however, and the T-6 continues to be used despite the problems identified during lengthy investigations.