March 23, 2012

News Briefs March 22, 2012

F-22 fighter jets retrofitted after Alaska crash

The Air Force is replacing handles that engage the F-22 Raptor fighter jet’s emergency oxygen system after numerous reports of pilots reporting feeling light-headedness.

The move comes after the 2010 death of pilot Capt. Jeffrey Haney when his stealth fighter crashed 100 miles north of Anchorage, Alaska. Haney’s widow has filed a wrongful death lawsuit that claims the plane’s onboard oxygen delivery system is defective.

The lawsuit says the manual activation mechanism for the backup system is underneath and behind the pilot that’s impossible to reach while flying at supersonic speeds.

The Air Force’s entire fleet was placed on temporary stand-down last summer after pilots reported lightheadedness and other symptoms consistent with them not receiving enough oxygen.

F-22s are based in Alaska, Hawaii, Nevada, Virginia, New Mexico and Florida. AP


Lockheed Martin gives new life to Alaska Aerospace

In the span of a few days, the Alaska Aerospace Corporation went from left for dead to ready for primetime.

Kodiak Republican Rep. Alan Austerman wondered aloud in late February whether the state-owned enterprise would fold and have its assets liquidated. But just a couple days later, Lockheed Martin announced it was tapping the Kodiak Launch Complex as its West Coast facility for Athena rockets.

Around $25 million of state funds will go to up-front construction costs, but the deal is expected to draw around $100 million with Lockheed Martin arranging satellite launches.

Gov. Sean Parnell has requested the funds needed, but the Legislature still needs to approve it.

Parnell thinks the contract could be a catalyst for the aerospace industry statewide. AP

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