Brig. Gen. Brook Leonard, the 56th Fighter Wing commander, explains what was found during an investigation into F-35 issues on Luke Air Force Base. Sam Caravana/

An F-35 pilot at Luke Air Force Base in Glendale cut his training flight short after experiencing light-headedness and shortness of breath on Monday. 

Spokeswoman Maj. Rebecca Heyse said the pilot activated the backup oxygen system and returned to base with a successful landing.

Heyse said inspectors found “irregularities” in the pilot’s oxygen valve and believe them to be the root cause of the problem. The valve was replaced, and the pilot has since returned to the air without further issues.  

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Heyse said officials believe this is an isolated incident and have no plans to ground flights as they did in June.

Monday’s incident is the first since Luke Comdr. Brig. Gen. Brooke Leonard lifted an F-35 grounding after five pilots complained of “hypoxia-like” or oxygen deprivation symptoms during their flights. Investigators never found a root cause but added more safety measures.


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