This is a discussion on F22 Oxygen problems? within the World Armed Forces forums, part of the World Strategic Defence Area category; Anyone of you know anything about this: Fighter Pilots Claim Intimidation Over F-22 Raptor Jets - Yahoo! News Fighter Pilots ...
Anyone of you know anything about this:
Fighter Pilots Claim Intimidation Over F-22 Raptor Jets - Yahoo! News
Fighter Pilots Claim Intimidation Over F-22 Raptor Jets
By LEE FERRAN and MEGAN CHUCHMACH | ABC News – 19 hrs ago
Fighter Pilots Claim Intimidation …
Two F-22 Raptor pilots have said publicly that not only are they afraid to fly the most expensive fighter jets in American history, but the military has attempted to silence them and other F-22 pilots by threatening their careers.
"There have been squadrons that have stood down over concerns. And there's been threat of reprisals," F-22 pilot Josh Wilson told CBS News' "60 Minutes" Sunday. "There's been threat of flying evaluation boards clipping our wings and doing ground jobs. And... in my case, potentially getting booted out of the Air Force.
"So right now there's an example being set of, 'Hey, if you speak up about safety, you're going to be out of the organization,'" Wilson said.
Despite the Air Force's glowing descriptions of the next-generation jet as America's future of air dominance, as an ABC News "Nightline" investigation broadcast last week found, unknown problems with the plane's oxygen system have already contributed to the death of one pilot, the near-death of another and mid-air scares for dozens more.
READ Exclusive: Family Demands Truth in Air Force F-22 Pilot's Death
Wilson and fellow F-22 pilot Jeremy Gordon, both veteran fighter pilots for the Virginia Air National Guard who came forward under whistleblower protection from Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R.-Ill.), have asked not to fly the F-22 anymore, according to CBS News, citing their concerns with the oxygen problem.
Gordon said that two weeks after he requested not to fly the jet, he was called before a board of officers.
"I was asked to make a decision that day whether I wanted to fly or find another line of work," he said.
Several current and former F-22 pilots contacted by ABC News for its investigation either did not respond or quickly declined to comment on the plane and two relatives of flyers told ABC News that the pilots had been instructed not to speak to the media on penalty of potentially losing their post with the F-22 -- a coveted position despite the safety concerns. One pilot, when initially contacted by ABC News for comment, agreed to speak on the record but only after he checked with the Air Force public affairs office. Since then, the pilot has not responded to any of ABC News' attempts to communicate.
Air Force spokesperson John Dorrian told ABC News he has no information about any pilots being explicitly told not to speak to the media about the Raptor and noted that several F-22 pilots have been made available to the press at Air Force events. Dorrian did say that if a member of the Air Force wishes to speak with the media as a representative of the Air Force, that engagement is conducted through the Air Force public affairs office, but whistleblowers are still protected.
"Corporately, the Air Force position is the Air Force is not going to tolerate any reprisal actions against whistleblowers," Dorrian said.
Since Wilson and Gordon are assigned to the Virginia Air National Guard, Dorrian said he did not have specific information on their case. Officials at the Virginia Air National Guard did not immediately return requests for comment for this report.
Top officials at the Air Force and Lockheed Martin refused to take part in one-on-one interviews with ABC News for its broadcast report, but the Air Force provided a statement last week in which it says the service is committed to "unparalleled dedication to flight safety."
"Flying America's premier fighter aircraft always entails risk but the Air Force has, and always will, take every measure to ensure the safety of our aircrews while delivering air superiority for the nation," the statement said. The Air Force has also stressed that reports of "hypoxia-like symptoms" are exceedingly rare -- more than two dozen compared to the thousands of flights flown without incident.
READ: Air Force's Full Statement in Response to ABC News Investigation
Last week the Air Force officially received the last F-22 Raptor from defense contracting giant Lockheed Martin, completing an order of 187 planes that cost U.S. taxpayers an estimated $79 billion -- meaning that including research, development and production among other costs, each plane has a price tag of more than $420 million. Despite being the most advanced fighters on the planet, none of the planes have been used on a combat mission since they went combat-ready in late 2005. Critics told ABC News that's because the jet was designed to fight rival, sophisticated fighters – an enemy that doesn't exist right now.
READ: Final F-22 Delivered, McCain Says $79B Jets Still Have No Mission
F-22 Pilot Blamed in Fatal Crash After Plane Malfunction
Capt. Jeff Haney was flying the Air Force's next-generation stealth F-22 Raptor on a routine training mission in Alaska in November 2010 when a sudden malfunction cut off his oxygen completely. Capt. Haney never made a distress call but took his plane into a dive and, a little over a minute later, crashed into the winter wilderness at faster than the speed of sound.
After a lengthy investigation, an Air Force Accident Investigation Board could not find the cause of the malfunction but determined "by clear and convincing evidence" that in addition to other factors, Haney was to blame for the crash because he was too distracted by his inability to breathe to fly the plane properly.
READ: Air Force's Accident Investigation Board Report (PDF)
But Haney's sister, Jennifer, told ABC News in an exclusive interview she believes her brother blacked out trying to save himself and said that by blaming him, the Air Force was attempting to deflect attention from the ongoing, mysterious oxygen problem with the costly planes.
"I don't agree with [the Air Force]. I think there was a lot more going on inside that cockpit," Jennifer Haney said. "A cover-up? I don't know. But there's something."
In at least 25 cases since 2008, F-22 pilots have reported experiencing "hypoxia-like symptoms" in mid-air, according to the Air Force. Last year the Air Force grounded the full fleet of F-22s for nearly five months to investigate, but still no one knows what is going wrong, even as the planes are back in the air. Hypoxia is caused by a lack of oxygen to the brain and is characterized by dizziness, confusion, lack of judgment and, eventually, unconsciousness.
In one case before the grounding, a pilot became so disoriented that his plane dropped down and skimmed treetops before he managed to save himself and return to base, an Air Force spokesperson told ABC News. Presumably speaking of the same incident, Gordon told "60 Minutes" the pilot had to be told he had hit the trees -- he didn't remember doing it himself.
Wilson described experiencing apparent hypoxia while in the cockpit as a "surreal experience" and Gordon said the onset is "insidious."
"Some pilots will go the entire mission, land and not know anything went wrong," Gordon said.
To Jennifer Haney, every time an F-22 goes up, it's risking the life of its pilot. She spoke to ABC News because she said she couldn't stand to see another family go through what hers had.
"I know that the Air Force has said that they were very proud to have Jeff and are very sorry for our loss -- well then, in Jeff's name, fix this," she said. "We want to make sure Jeff did not die in vain -- that his death will mean something and that if it saves lives of pilots now, future pilots, then he died for the greater good or something."
The Air Force has already begun to enact changes to the jet in hopes of mitigating the oxygen problem, including adding pilot-monitoring equipment and improving the emergency oxygen system.
But for all their effort, the Air Force still doesn't have what Jennifer Haney said is most important both to her family and to the families of pilots that risk their lives every day at the controls of the F-22: answers.
"I believe Jeff deserves that. That was my baby brother and I believe he deserves that. He deserves the truth to be told as to what happened. Not anybody's guesses," she said. "He deserves the truth. He deserves honor and so do his little girls."
Here is an interview where two pilots came forward about how dangerous it is to fly the F-22:
Is the Air Force's F-22 fighter jet making pilots sick? - 60 Minutes - CBS News
this problem go long back some many months ago
IIRC in 2011, as a mainstream media news
this could have been a problem for longer than we know
and you wonder why they are so desperate to cap the Raptors at 187
wouldn't Lockmart's lobby have stopped that
Why is there no simple short term emergency oxygen system and a maneuver stabilization button for the autopilot if the pilot feels like passing out? You don't train alone, so there should be a possibility for the pilot on board to manually hand over control to his wingman and time his ejector to catapult him out if things don't improve and he passes out.
The Raptor and the Typhoon are in my opinion the two best air combat fighters available in large numbers with the Raptor leading by a combat value of 1 Raptor : 2 Typhoons. If you take the already overblown development costs of the Eurofighter Typhoon, this air combat capability with two aircrafts is still cheaper to buy than the Raptor, unless the Raptor gets orderd in magnificient numbers. The Typhoon has some radar reflection reductions, but by far not the Raptor's marble reflection. I know that's the reason for 4.5th generation versus 5th generation according to some US POVs, but European and Israeli stealth is different, it's not so much about hiding the approach (the approach protection of the Raptor against ground based long wave radar with a data link to aircrafts seems questionable), but about protection against localization for target locking and making it dangerous to send signals around that make radar stealth a feature.
While this at first glance may have nothing to do with the oxygen system, it rather shows a symptom of creating a weapon system with a component that needs lots of spit and polish, the radar stealth, with questionable value per cost. This in turn lowers the capabilities to cater to other maintenance demands of this very complex machine without reducing the official availability rate (and Lockheed is very interested in this number that might otherwise raise an alarm). The Raptor lacks the very important easy maintenance aspect that is part of the 5th generation definition (even by US standards) and is in my opinion a 4.5th generation aircraft with much resemblance to the Russian fighter designs that are 4.5th by maintenace standards (lots of work per flight hour, but you get a number of these aircrafts at a low price, so for the money you can have the higher numbers available on emergency demand, although it might be a good idea to spend more money on sophisticated trainers in order to reduce flight hours and staggering costs with the combat system). To be fair, the Russians understood the words simple and necessary and by these do and did major contributions to engineering. The platinum plated Raptor by contrast became too complex with too little error control and the solution is likely too be even more complex and prone for error. Problems with the oxygen are not unheard of among freshly introduced fighters, but death of pilot due to oxygen failure sounds like someone didn't understand basiscs of providing error management for the software of life-systems that must be most diligently tested.
To force pilots to fly planes where they have a chance of dying and losing their planes is equivalent of being psychopathic and idiotic. Not only would you lose the pilot, but also the hardware and the investments in training a pilot. No words can describe how pathetically stupid and short-sighted those people are.
I'm just wondering why isn't this found out during test flights? Isn't all altitude and speed range will be tested, this doesn't look like a flaw you can hush up.
They should have something in a helmet that monitors pilot black-out. Using pulse and breathing seems inaccurate so I think a better idea would be some sort of sensor that monitors the pupil of both eyes of the pilot. If the pilot spaced out or lose sight concentration then the plane will recover by itself and assume level flight.
Last edited by no_name; 05-08-2012 at 08:59 PM.
actually, I find it hard to understand that the problem has lingered so long and lockheed martin cannot fix it.
This is what happens when you create an overly complex glory machine. It is simply not useful in a large scale warfare environment where replenishment of losses is an issue.
Of course this saga shows that LockMart got its priorities wrong and my proposal is just a band aid.
Last edited by delft; 05-09-2012 at 02:32 AM.
Now even ground crew are falling sick.
Do they really still don't know the cause or they just don't have a solution barring a re-design so they just keep it in the air saying investigations are ongoing delaying the tough decision as long as possible ?
Mystery Of F-22 Illnesses Grows - Sacramento News Story - KCRA Sacramento
Mystery Of F-22 Illnesses Grows
Mechanics On The Ground Also Report Getting Ill
By Larry Shaughnessy CNN
POSTED: 2:07 pm PDT May 9, 2012
UPDATED: 12:22 am PDT May 10, 2012
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Even as the Air Force searches for the reason pilots are getting sick flying the F-22, a new mystery about the troubled stealth fighter jet has come to light: Why are mechanics on the ground getting sick in the plane as well?
The Air Force has been looking into a number of reports that pilots experienced "hypoxia-like symptoms" aboard F-22s since April 2008. Hypoxia is oxygen deficiency.
The Air Force reports 25 cases of such systems, including 11 since September, when the service cleared the F-22 fleet to return to flight after a four-month grounding.
The fleet was grounded in May 2011 so the service could check the hypoxia reports, but the order was lifted in September under a "return to fly" plan, with equipment modifications and new rules including daily inspections of the life-support systems.
"Early on in the return to fly we had five maintainers that reported hypoxia symptoms," Gen. Daniel Wyman, command surgeon for the Air Combat Command, said during a conference call with reporters Wednesday.
The maintainers are mechanics on the F-22's ground crews who sometimes have to be in the cockpit while the jet's engine is doing a ground run.
"The maintainers, when they are doing their ground run, are not on the mask, they are in the cockpit," Wyman said.
The problem with maintainers getting sick while on the ground throws a wrench into some of the theories about why at least 25 pilots have suffered hypoxia symptoms.
The Air Force experts trying to figure out the cause of the problem have pointed out that the F-22 flies higher and faster than its predecessors, the F-15 and F-16.
There has also been speculation that there perhaps could be a problem with the system that feeds oxygen to the pilot's mask while in flight.
Asked what is causing the symptoms in maintainers on the ground, not wearing a mask, Wyman said, "I can't answer that at this time."