Navy aviators faced Arctic temps in plane mishap; Turner wants answers

Published: Wednesday, March 14, 2018 @ 5:00 AM

F-35 oxygen system for pilots under scrutiny after complaints

Two congressional leaders say they want answers from the Navy’s top admiral on why they were not told at a congressional hearing about a serious mishap inside an electronic warfare jet where temperatures plunged to Arctic-like below zero levels and severely reduce visibility while flying, forcing the crew to seek medical treatment.

U.S. Reps. Mike Turner, R-Dayton, and Niki Tsongas, D-Mass., sent the March 7 letter to Adm. John M. Richardson, chief of naval operations.

The letter noted the E/A-18 Growler incident was not mentioned by the Navy representative during a Tactical Air and Land Forces subcommittee hearing Feb. 6 exploring a rash of hypoxia-like incidents or physiological episodes in military aircraft.

“We are disappointed that the Navy did not inform the subcommittee or its staff of this event prior to the hearing,” Turner and Tsongas wrote.

RELATED: Wright-Patt researchers hunt for clues in stealth fighter issue

The jet had just taken off from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Wash., and headed to Naval Air Weapons Station in China Lake, Calif., when it was forced to return to Whidbey Island, according to Cmdr. Ron Flanders, a Navy spokesman.

An F/A-18F Super Hornet throws a vapor cloud as it approaches the speed of sound during a rehearsal flight for a past Vectren Dayton Air Show. The F/A-18 Super Hornet, the similar E/A-18 Growler, and the F-35 Lighting II are among aircraft that pilots have reported ‘physiological episodes, including hypoxia-like incidents, in recent years. TY GREENLEES/ STAFF FILE PHOTO(Staff Writer)

An environmental control system apparently failed, causing the cockpit temperature to plunge to 30 below zero, and caused “severely limited visibility,” the congressional letter said. The crew flew 60 miles under those conditions and safely landed with the aid of a GPS wristwatch, the letter added.

RELATED: Massive 270,000-pound aeromedical device comes to Dayton

Flanders said in an email the cause of the incident remains under investigation.

The Navy did not release the health conditions of either crewmen, but Flanders said one of the aviators aboard the two-seat jet has returned to flight status; and the other “is expected to make a full recovery and return to flight.”

The incident was the latest physiological episode involving military aircraft.

RELATED: Air Force declares controversial jet ready for combat

Investigators have investigated hypoxia-like incidents in the Navy’s F/A-18s, T-45s training aircraft, and the Air Force’s F-22, F-35 and T-6, reports show.

Since 2010, the Navy has reported 716 physiological episodes in aircraft, the service branch said. Within the last five years, the Navy reported nearly 400 incidents variants of the F/A-18; another 88 in the EA-18; 117 in the T-45; 42 in the T-6; and 14 in the F-35B/C, data shows.

Air Force data was not immediately available.

“Physiological Episodes are not a new phenomenon — they have been an inherent risk in manned aviation for more than a century,” Navy spokesman Cmdr. Scot Cregan said in an email. “But the increase we are seeing in these events among our aviators is a serious concern, and addressing it is our top priority.”

A $1.5 million On-Board Oxygen Generation System Laboratory inside the 711th Human Performance Wing at Wright-Patterson hunted for clues to the cause of incidents in F-35A last year.

Trending - Most Read Stories

Dayton official: CareSource construction site fire ‘not dangerous’

Published: Thursday, March 22, 2018 @ 12:15 PM
Updated: Thursday, March 22, 2018 @ 5:07 PM

SKY7: Aerial footage of Caresource construction site fire

A downtown Dayton office tower being built to house to hundreds of CareSource workers caught fire Thursday, sending a large column of pitch-black smoke billowing, visible as far away as Troy and Beavercreek. 

Company officials said they do not expect the mid-day fire to delay next year's projected opening.

RELATED: Dayton Fire: CareSource fire involves roofing materials

Traffic in parts of downtown came to a standstill as officials blocked off streets for safety and as crowds formed to watch the spectacle. 

“Pieces of charred black material are floating off the building and landing on the street,” said Steve Brack, a GrubHub driver that was making lunchtime deliveries downtown.

Dayton fire officials said the fire appeared to involve foam roofing materials on the top of the six-story building, called CareSource Center City, located at East First and North St. Clair streets.

RELATED: Dayton Fire: CareSource fire involves roofing materials

The building will be first newly constructed office tower in downtown Dayton in about a decade.

According to Dayton fire officials, everyone was able to get out of the building safely, and the only people believed to have been inside at the time the fire started were construction workers.

The heavy black smoke rising over downtown may have looked dramatic, but the fire was not particularly large or hazardous, said Dayton fire Chief Jeffrey Payne.

“This wasn’t a dangerous fire because it was outside and well ventilated,” he said.

The fire started shortly after noon on Thursday and was basically extinguished within 90 minutes, officials said. The fire would have been knocked out much sooner if it had not been six stories up.

PHOTOS: CareSource construction site on fire in downtown Dayton

Caresource fire

Foam insulation stacked on top of the building apparently caught fire when work being done underneath it heated and ignited the materials, said Payne. 

The biggest danger was that the burning foam would melt or warp the metal decking and overheat the supports, potentially leading to a collapse, he said. 

But though some of the metal decking did warp, no parts of the structure collapsed, Payne said.  

Crews put out the fire using the 137-foot aerial ladder truck. Firefighters also cooled the decking and hit hot spots with hoses. 

Troy Erbes, vice president of the company constructing the new building, said all employees and construction workers are accounted for and there were no injuries.  

“We had an incident on the roof of the building,” said Erbes, VP of Danis. “Some roof insulation caught on fire.”

RELATED: Numerous roads in downtown Dayton closed due to building fire

A time-lapse of the fire in downtown Dayton

Erbes said they are working to determine what ignited the fire. Danis and fire staff plan to sit down to discuss best construction practices and go over how to avoid future issues, fire officials said. 

CareSource’s operations were not affected by the fire, and the organization does not believe the fire will delay the construction or opening of the new building, said spokeswoman Fran Robinson.  

CareSource said in a statement it still planned to open its new downtown Dayton campus in the spring of 2019.  

Construction started last year on the building, which is expected to house more than 600 employees.  

“Family and friends of those who work in our four CareSource buildings in downtown Dayton should know that the fire did not approach any of our other buildings,” Robinson said. 

MORE INFO: What is the building on fire in downtown Dayton? 

The new tower is being built at the site of the former Patterson Co-op High School on the 100 block of East First Street. 

CareSoure has become a major employer in Dayton, anchoring downtown with its employment base of nearly 2,000 workers.  

Along with its 230 N. Main St. headquarters, CareSource bought a building it had been leasing called Ballpark Village, across from Fifth Third Field.

Trending - Most Read Stories

Tipp City: Middle school student made threats against 2 adults, building

Published: Thursday, March 22, 2018 @ 5:08 PM

The Tipp City Exempted Village Schools said Thursday that a middle school student faces misdemeanor charges including aggravated menacing and disorderly conduct after allegedly making written comments threatening intent to harm two adults within the building and to cause building destruction. 

Tipp City police were notified and are investigating the incident. There were no injuries. 

“The Tipp City Police Department does not deem the student to be an immediate threat to students, staff, or the community,” Superintendent Gretta Kumpf said in a written statement.

Kumpf said the district emphasized the police were confident there is no additional threat of harm from the incident. She said the student will remain out of school during the investigation. 

Police said the threats were found in a classroom, turned over to administrators and a suspect identified. The juvenile admitted to writing the threats, police stated.

Police said charges were filed after contact with Miami County prosecutors. The student is charged with two counts of aggravated menacing and one count of disorderly conduct.

Got a tip? Call our 24-hour monitored line, 937-259-2237, or send it to

Trending - Most Read Stories

Girl, bored with sister’s soccer game, makes 65-million-year-old fossil find

Published: Thursday, March 22, 2018 @ 9:01 AM

Girl Discovers 65-Million-Year-Old Fossil During Sister's Soccer Game

An Oregon girl decided digging in the dirt was more her speed than watching her big sister’s JV soccer game. And that decision turned into a major discovery.

Naomi Vaughan found something that she called her “Moana rock” after it reminded her of the Heart of Te Fiti from the hit Disney film, last year, CNN reported.

The “Moana rock” turned out to be something that dated back at least 65 million years.

>> Read more trending news 

It was actually an ancient fossil called an ammonite. Ammonites are extinct marine invertebrates, CNN reported.

Paleontologists told Oregon Live that they’re not normally found in Bend, but have been discovered more than 80 miles away.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news 

One paleontologist believes it came from an area further away, a town of Suplee, 112 miles east of Bend, Oregon Live reported. He believes that either there was a family connection between the two towns or that the fossil came from a school collection. 

And while well-preserved ammonite fossils can fetch big bucks -- up to thousands of dollars, Vaughan’s sample may be worth about $10 or $20.

Vaughan plans on keeping her find, Oregon Live reported.

Trending - Most Read Stories

Family pleas for help finding teen missing since father’s shooting death

Published: Thursday, March 22, 2018 @ 4:29 PM

Ex-wife, 5 others indicted in 2017 killing of Beavercreek man

The family of a man killed in front of his three sons is asking for help to find one of those boys - who is now missing.

Federal prosecutors said Robert Caldwell was fatally shot as he left a counseling session in Riverside last August.

Investigators said Robert Caldwell was gunned down in this parking lot and all three of his sons were very close to him.

Their grandmother, Caldwell’s mom, took emergency custody that night and has custody now.

But she’s asking for help to find Jacob, who has been missing since the night of his father’s funeral.

RELATED: UPDATE: Ex-wife, 5 others indicted in 2017 killing of Beavercreek man

“It’s extremely frustrating and frightening, it’s frightening,” said Sally DeThomas, mother of Robert Caldwell.  “I’m very concerned about his safety, physical safety, I’m concerned about his emotional and mental health.”

DeThomas is now raising her son’s three children, but only two of them are currently living with her, as Jacob Caldwell has been missing for months.

Riverside police investigators identified his ex-wife’s boyfriend, Sterling Roberts, as a person of interest due to surveillance video in the area.

Roberts was arrested in South Carolina a few days after the killing.

Earlier this month, federal prosecutors announced murder charges against him and Robert Caldwell’s ex-wife, Tawnney Caldwell.

Four other people also face charges connected to the death. 

Jacob’s aunt, Cindy Caldwell, also says she just wants the 14-year-old home.

“As far as Jacob, we don’t think he’s even going to school, getting the healthcare he needs,” Cindy Caldwell said.

Sugarcreek Twp. police, where DeThomas lives, are investigating the missing persons case for Jacob.

Sugarcreek Twp. police said they’ve had very few solid leads and that if someone were harboring Jacob they could face charges, felony charges if they’ve taken him out of state.

Trending - Most Read Stories