An EA-18G Growler aircraft is displayed for a media availability at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island earlier this month. (Michael Watkins/Whidbey News-Times)

An EA-18G Growler aircraft is displayed for a media availability at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island earlier this month. (Michael Watkins/Whidbey News-Times)

Navy to resume EA-18, F/A-18 flight operations

NAVAL AIR STATION WHIDBEY ISLAND — Naval Air Forces directed EA-18 Growler and F/A-18 Super Hornet squadrons to resume normal operations Monday after an operational pause was put into effect following a Growler ground mishap on an airfield at Whidbey Island last Friday.

The EA-18 incident that resulted in injuries to the pilot and electronic warfare officer caused safety concerns that necessitated an operational pause for all EA-18s and F/A-18s.

Both members of the aircrew of an EA-18G assigned to Electronic Attack Squadron 132 at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island sustained injuries during an unspecified incident on the flight deck at 11 a.m. Friday.

The two members were transported by a Navy Search and Rescue helicopter to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle for evaluation, according to Navy officials. The Navy did not identify the two.

Before the mishap, Navy officials said carrier landing practice operations at the outlying field of the Whidbey Island Naval Air Station were scheduled to take place Monday through Thursday.

The ground emergency involved the jet’s canopy, and an investigation was underway to determine the cause of the incident, said Mike Welding, a Navy spokesperson, via email.

After Naval Air Systems Command and Boeing engineers investigated and identified several factors that likely contributed to the mishap, Naval Air Forces directed mitigation measures be implemented across the F-18 fleet, because there are some similarities in the component designs for the affected systems in the recent Growler mishap, according to a press release.

Once individual squadrons have briefed and incorporated these mitigation measures, they may resume normal flight operations, the release said.

The mitigation measures include changes to aircraft water-wash procedures and updates to the Naval Air Training and Operating Procedures Standardization (NATOPS) ground emergency procedures.

An EA-18G Growler assigned to Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 129 lands on Naval Air Station Whidbey Island’s Ault Field. (U.S. Navy file photo)

An EA-18G Growler assigned to Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 129 lands on Naval Air Station Whidbey Island’s Ault Field. (U.S. Navy file photo)

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