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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Virginia ANG F-22 pilots describe Raptor oxygen woes on 60 Minutes

Virginia Air National Guard F-22 Raptor pilots Major Jeremy Gordon and Captain Josh Wilson were on CBS's 60 Minutes tonight. While there were no major revelations, the two aviators added detail to what was already known.

The two working theories as to the root cause of the Raptor's oxygen system maladies are still a toss-up between either some sort of toxin or some sort of oxygen flow/quality problem--as I have reported since the beginning of this mess. Though I will say some of the symptoms as described remind me of decompression sickness, but that's purely my own observation.

Of particular interest is the fact that the charcoal filters--which were added after last year's F-22 grounding was lifted--were breaking up and ending up in the pilots' air flow. This was causing some of the pilots to cough up some nasty black stuff...

The USAF has removed those filters and is apparently looking for a replacement. When that might happen is anyone's guess...

This problem was predicted by a good source of mine when the US Air Force started to consider lifting the flight ban last September. The charcoal filters were tested at Edwards AFB in California, but without G loads on the test card--so I was told. The source had predicted correctly that the filters would break-up and cause further problems (such as face full of carbon)--as has proven to be the case.

But the USAF was pretty seriously gunning for my head at the time, so I just left well enough alone for the time being...

Here is the 60 Minutes segment:

Here is Jeremy Gordon describing his symptoms:

Here is Josh Wilson describing his symptoms:

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Thumbnail image for 120502-F-AC256-351-Dobbin4195.jpg
USAF photo from last week's ceremony at Lockheed Martin's Marietta, Georgia, factory--this is the last Raptor ever.

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