The mysterious fumes in the F-16 I- The new solution

If the catalytic converter in my car is not functioning at 100%, the vehicle is certain to fail the annual test that is mandatory in order to renew its licence.

Soon, this very common piece of equipment may find its way to one of the Israeli airforce’s (IAF) frontline fighters.

The IAF is evaluating the installation of a special catalytic converter in its Lockheed Martin F-16I’s (Sufa) aircraft in an effort to solve the problem of an irritating substance that penetrates the type’s cockpits and gets into the pilots’ breathing systems.

The catalytic converter used in cars converts harmful pollutants into less harmful emissions.

As reported by Flight International four years ago, when the pilots first reported the irritation, the F-16Is were grounded until it was clear that the substance was not formaldehyde, a cancer-causing substance.

The F-16Is went back into service after a few days, but the testing continued, with the full co-operation with the American manufacturer.

A source related to the ongoing effort aimed at finding the source of the problem, said that at this stage it is clear that it is a result of the combination between the “surroundings” of the P&W F-100-229 engine and the software of the F-16I’s air conditioning system. This is a unique combination, the source said, and that may have caused the problem that has not been detected in other airforces operating the same block of F-16s.

The IAF has made a number of changes, including the installation of a special filter, and is continuing to monitor the situation. “The effort is now focused on a set of solutions that are expected to eliminate the problem completely,” the source said.

He added that the irritating substance’s source is fuel and engine exhaust fumes that find their way into the pilot’s breathing system.

The IAF hopes that the catalytic converter will solve the problem. If not, the search for a solution will continue.


One Response to The mysterious fumes in the F-16 I- The new solution

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