Hypoxia Incident Involves Isle F-22 Pilot

By Cole, William | Honolulu Star - Advertiser, July 11, 2012 | Go to article overview

Hypoxia Incident Involves Isle F-22 Pilot


Cole, William, Honolulu Star - Advertiser


A Hawaii-based F-22 Raptor pilot declared an "in-flight emergency" Friday after experiencing momentary dizziness, as a troubling air supply problem on the costly stealth jets continues to spread, officials said.

It was the first reported case of hypoxia-like symptoms - not getting enough oxygen - experienced by a Hawaii-based pilot, said Lt. Col. Chuck Anthony, a Hawaii National Guard spokes­man.

Anthony said the Hawaii Air Guard pilot was returning to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam from a routine training sortie when a cockpit warning indicated that the onboard oxygen generating system was not functioning properly. Another sensor registered a drop in oxygen supplied to the cockpit, he said.

"So the pilot, following his checklist, recognized possible hypoxia-like symptoms," Anthony said, adding that the pilot experienced dizziness.

"He activated the emergency oxygen system as directed to do on the checklist," Anthony said. "His symptoms very quickly abated, and the (onboard oxygen system) went back to normal and it started to function at a normal level, and he landed the plane without any further incident."

The unidentified pilot was checked by medical personnel and released, he said. "He's fine. He's been cleared for duty," Anthony said.

The 14 F-22 Raptor jets flown and maintained by the Hawaii Air National Guard and active-duty Air Force have not been grounded, Anthony said.

While the case was a first for Hawaii, it's the latest in a string of F-22 oxygen deprivation problems that have become an embarrassment for the Air Force as it attempts to justify the Raptor, the most expensive fighter ever built.

The Air Force pegs the cost at $143 million per jet, but the total program cost is $77.4 billion, or $412 million per plane counting research and development and upgrades.

U.S. Sen. John McCain, an Arizona Republican and former combat pilot, told ABC News in May that the F-22 was designed with a Cold War mentality.

"(The F-22) has not flown a single combat mission," McCain said. He added that he doesn't think the F-22 will ever be involved in the combat it was designed for, "because that threat is no longer in existence."

U. …

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