– Air Force pilots refuse to fly F-22 over safety fears (AFP, May 5, 2012):
WASHINGTON — Two F-22 pilots say they have stopped flying the US Air Force’s most advanced fighter jet because of safety fears over the aircraft’s oxygen system, according to a CBS television “60 Minutes” report.
The F-22 Raptor was grounded last year after a spate of incidents with pilots suffering dizzy spells and blackouts in the air. The plane was cleared for flying in September 2011 but engineers are still trying to solve what appears to be a problem with the jet’s oxygen supply.
The pilots, Major Jeremy Gordon and Captain Josh Wilson, told the “60 Minutes” program they stopped flying in January, citing safety concerns over a lack of oxygen.
Asked if he believes the jet is safe, Gordon said: “I’m not comfortable answering that question. I’m not comfortable flying in the F-22 right now,” according to excerpts from the interview, due to be aired on Sunday.
“The onset of (hypoxia) is insidious. Some pilots will go the entire mission, land and not know anything went wrong,” Gordon is quoted as saying.
The two pilots, who both served in the Iraq war, have sought legal protection as “whistleblowers” from a Republican lawmaker from Illinois, Adam Kinzinger.
The pilots were from the Air National Guard, officials said.
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Tags: Air Force, F-22, Global News, Government, Military, Politics, U.S.