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BILOXI, Miss. — For years, a strange problem with the U.S. Air Force's C-130 aircraft had pilots and crews reporting sickness, discomfort and, in some cases, excruciating pain after routine flight missions. The phenomenon remained a mystery until February, when a handful of reservists at Keesler Air Force Base took the initiative to solve the mystery. They made a tiny discovery that's affecting airplanes worldwide.
The problem was with the pressurization system on the C-130 Hercules — the longest-produced and perhaps most-popular aircraft in military history. The versatile airplane serves as an attack gunship, a troop transport, a surveillance plane and many other roles.
Keesler's famed Hurricane Hunters fly the C-130J for weather reconnaissance.
In February, maintenance technicians from the 403rd Wing began a hunt for a solution to the problem. At times, the C-130s' pressurization systems could not be controlled manually or automatically. Cabins would over-pressurize at certain altitudes, causing the physiological problems.
The health effects typically surfaced after the flights. Crew members were on the ground yet still felt as if they were in the air, Tech. Sgt. Fernando Betancourt said.
originally posted by: wastedown
It was hot when we left, freezing in the air, and hot when we landed, and trying to sleep crammed together, shivering on webbed seating added up to the 2nd most uncomfortable flight of my life...