Monday, May 7, 2012

7 May 2012 What price for a pilot?

          Everything I have ever heard about the F-22 from any source has been positive in nature.  The aircraft is stealthy, remarkably fast, conserves fuel, and incredibly agile in the air.  It has generated gigabytes of praise while only the cost has been detraction.
          Last night, two USAF pilots appeared on “60 Minutes” to describe what they believe to be a serious design flaw in the Raptor that subjects the pilots to hypoxia while in flight.  Hypoxia is insidious in onset.  It renders otherwise healthy people incapable of rational thought and action.  For the pilot of a combat aircraft, the result can and has been inadvertent destruction of $22,000,000 airframes with the loss of pilots.  Civilian property and life are also at risk. 
          The F-22 has never been flown into combat.  The mission it was designed for vanished with the USSR. 
          USAF pilots have refused to fly the plane for fear of the oxygen delivery system’s apparent inability to provide a safe and adequate source of oxygen to the pilots.  They are risking their flight status, their careers, and even their retirement income.  The manufacturer, Lockheed-Martin, says the plane is safe to fly.  The Air Force has grounded the fleet but returned it to duty with the problem unresolved. 
          The pilots are the determinant factor for me.  Most of them are so driven to fly that they fully accept the inherent risk of flying high-performance, combat aircraft for a living.  They’d try to fly anything at all if it had wings and generated a feeling of speed.  They are, to me, the best judges of a plane’s airworthiness.  This one scares them. 
          What action has Lockheed-Martin taken?  They’ve initiated a Twitter campaign that is geared at masking the problem.  They should be smacked hard for that organized lie campaign.
          Listen to the pilots; it is their asses on the line
          Film at 11

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