Defense

May 2, 2012

Air Force leader: Some pilots want to avoid F-22

by Brock Vergakis
Associated Press

Some of the nation’s 200 F-22 Raptor pilots want to be moved into other jobs because of oxygen-deficit problems with the stealth fighter, an Air Force leader said April 30.

Gen. Mike Hostage, commander of Air Combat Command at Langley Air Force Base in Hampton, Va., told reporters that a “very small” number of pilots have asked not to fly the fifth-generation fighter jets or to be reassigned.

“Obviously it’s a very sensitive thing because we are trying to ensure that the community fully understands all that we’re doing to try to get to a solution,” Hostage said.

He did not provide exact figures on the number of pilots who have asked to not fly the jets and said each pilot’s request would be handled individually.

Air Force officials believe the airplane is safe to fly – Hostage noted that he’ll fly soon because he won’t ask a pilot to do something that he will not.

“I’m going to check out and fly the airplane so I can understand exactly what it is they’re dealing with. The day we figure out what the problem is I will stop flying (the plane) because we don’t have enough sorties for all of our combat aviators to get as much training as they need,” he said.

The nation’s F-22 fighter jets were grounded for four months last year after pilots complained of experiencing a lack of oxygen that can cause dizziness and blackouts. Air Force officials said they have taken steps against the problem, but still haven’t pinpointed what’s causing the hypoxia-like symptoms. Hypoxia is when the body doesn’t receive enough oxygen.

An Air Force panel is meeting weekly to investigate the problem and has enlisted the help of NASA and the Navy to learn more about what happens to the body under extreme conditions, among other things.

Hostage spoke during a media day event at the base, highlighting the nation’s most advanced fighter plane. After being introduced in 2005, the last of nearly 190 jets are scheduled to be delivered to the Air Force this week.

At a price tag of $143 million each, the Raptor has come under some criticism for not being used in place of older and less-sophisticated jets in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Hostage said the plane is critical to maintaining the nation’s air superiority in the future and that he wishes he had more of the jets at his disposal. On Monday, Iran’s defense minister said that reports of the stealth fighter jet being deployed to the United Arab Emirates would damage regional security, the semiofficial ISNA news agency reported.

Without saying which country in the region the F-22s were deployed to – or which base or bases they were deployed from – Hostage said there’s a reason other nations take note of the plane’s movements.

“People pay attention to where this airplane goes and what it does because, regardless of the furor in our press and public about the suitability or the safety of the airplane, they’re very worried about its capability. That, to me, means we’re on the right path with this capability,” he said.

The planes are stationed at five other bases besides Virginia: Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska; Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii; Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.; Holloman Air Force Base, N.M.; and Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla.

 




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines July 30, 2014

News: Software to power F-35 running as much as 14 months late¬†- Software needed to operate Lockheed Martin’s F-35 jet, the Pentagon’s costliest weapons system, may be as much as 14 months late for required flight testing, according to a Pentagon review.   Business: Lockheed will turn on JLTV production line In August; 6-D truck...
 
 

News Briefs July 30, 2014

U.S. military deaths in Afghanistan at 2,197 As of July 29, 2014, at least 2,197 members of the U.S. military had died in Afghanistan as a result of the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001, according to an Associated Press count. At least 1,819 military service members have died in Afghanistan as a result...
 
 
Lockheed Martin photograph by Tom Reynolds

F-35B successfully completes wet runway, crosswind testing

Lockheed Martin photograph by Tom Reynolds F-35B aircraft BF-4, piloted by Lockheed Martin Test Pilot Dan Levin, starts down the runway as part of wet runway and crosswind testing at Edwards AFB, Calif. In an important program ...
 

 
boeing-chinook

Boeing delivers first U.S. Army multiyear II configured Chinook

Boeing July 29 delivered the first multiyear II configured CH-47F Chinook helicopter to the U.S. Army one month ahead of schedule. The delivery was celebrated in a ceremony at the production facility in Ridley Township, Penn. ‚...
 
 
Army photograph by SSgt. Angela Stafford

Engineers developing safer, more accurate tracer round

Army photograph Tracer rounds enable the shooter to follow the projectile trajectory to make aiming corrections. However, the light emitted by these rounds also gives away the position of the shooter. Engineers at Picatinny Ars...
 
 
NASA photograph by Carla Thomas

Katherine Lott awarded NASA Armstrong employee scholarship

NASA photograph by Carla Thomas Katherine Lott, the recipient of the 2014 NASA Armstrong Employee Exchange Council Joseph R. Vensel Memorial Scholarship, is congratulated by NASA Armstrong center director David McBride. Flankin...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>