Mystery of F-22 illnesses grows
Mystery still surrounds illnesses in people who fly or work on F-22 stealth fighter jets.
May 9th, 2012
05:48 PM ET

Mystery of F-22 illnesses grows

By Larry Shaughnessy
CNN

Even as the Air Force searches for the reason pilots are getting sick flying the F-22, a new mystery about the troubled stealth fighter jet has come to light: Why are mechanics on the ground getting sick in the plane as well?

The Air Force has been looking into a number of reports that pilots experienced "hypoxia-like symptoms" aboard F-22s since April 2008. Hypoxia is oxygen deficiency.

The Air Force reports 25 cases of such systems, including 11 since September, when the service cleared the F-22 fleet to return to flight after a four-month grounding.

The fleet was grounded in May 2011 so the service could check the hypoxia reports, but the order was lifted in September under a "return to fly" plan, with equipment modifications and new rules including daily inspections of the life-support systems.

"Early on in the return to fly we had five maintainers that reported hypoxia symptoms," Gen. Daniel Wyman, command surgeon for the Air Combat Command, said during a conference call with reporters Wednesday.

The maintainers are mechanics on the F-22's ground crews who sometimes have to be in the cockpit while the jet's engine is doing a ground run.

"The maintainers, when they are doing their ground run, are not on the mask, they are in the cockpit," Wyman said.

The problem with maintainers getting sick while on the ground throws a wrench into some of the theories about why at least 25 pilots have suffered hypoxia symptoms.

The Air Force experts trying to figure out the cause of the problem have pointed out that the F-22 flies higher and faster than its predecessors, the F-15 and F-16.

There has also been speculation that there perhaps could be a problem with the system that feeds oxygen to the pilot's mask while in flight.

Asked what is causing the symptoms in maintainers on the ground, not wearing a mask, Wyman said, "I can't answer that at this time."

Sunday, two F-22 pilots told CBS's "60 Minutes" that they would not fly the jet any more. One of the reasons they gave was that there is a problem with the carbon filter built into their mask to help remove contaminants from the air they breathe.

Wyman said that "a black dust was noted in some of the breathing hoses near the filters. We analyzed this dust and found it to be activated carbon."

But no activated carbon was found in "30 pilots who had their throat swabbed for testing."

Activated carbon is an inert form of charcoal that has been used in air filters for years.

Nonetheless, the Air Force has decided to remove carbon filters from the F-22 pilot masks.

The Air Force said Tuesday that no disciplinary action will be taken against the pilots for taking their concerns to "60 Minutes."

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Filed under: Air Force • Military • Security Brief
soundoff (545 Responses)
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  5. Spectator

    Must be the Windex they use to clean the canopy. Amonia is reacting with the polymers and emit toxic fumes. They should switch to plain water and a squeegie.

    May 16, 2012 at 2:49 am | Reply
    • Jr.

      The canopy is cleaned with plastic polish,non-scatching..Everybody uses it. No problems except wiiping the streaksout. The only thing I can think of ,is the pressurization system.Ground crews who run up engines in the cockpit with the canopy closed would be exposed.Also, a thought, Labyraith seals used in the engine are generally made of some carbon material,seals the engine bleed air internally.Is these seals made from carbon or are made of different materials and/or leaks bleed air into the cocpit.If ground crews use the mask on run -up,I can see why they are looking at the mask. If not ,try pressurization.. ?

      May 16, 2012 at 4:49 am | Reply
    • Ex-USAF Crew Chief

      They do no use Windex, to clean the plastic canopies, My Aircraft had gold impregnated canopies and required the high tech cleaning solution known as JOY dish detergent. Yes it was brand specific, I always found that amusing, no word on if the lemony scent helped.

      May 16, 2012 at 11:12 am | Reply
      • John P. Tarver

        I perfer Eucaliptus oil for cleaning cockpit glass; especially the electonic flight instruments and the HUD.

        May 16, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
  6. SAM

    Could be myriad things. Checking the fire suppression system for leaks should be a no-brainer.

    May 16, 2012 at 2:44 am | Reply
  7. Reticuli

    The AF has been covering all their bases, if slowly. After looking at all the available reports, I am increasingly thinking this is more probably an issue of a sort of group hysteria meme. By hysteria, I do not mean that in a derogatory sense, because the stresses on these pilots while in flight is extreme and issues with common inertia-related breathing strain and vertigo in combination could cause symptoms that they could be easily motivated to over-judge as hypoxia. The new carbon filters shedding into the breathing loop probably made the situation more claustrophobic and stressful, not to mention worrisome about something possibly more serious when they began coughing up carbon gunk.

    But the original incident in Alaska was apparently not a malfunction of the oxygen generation system. There was a failure (or perceived failure by the automated BIT/failure addressing systems) of one of the engine's bleed airs. That bleed air obviously has to be shut off if that is the conclusion the computers make to save the engine from exploding and was shut off, resulting in the oxygen generation system being inoperable. When the pilot realized he should compensate for this by turning on the emergency oxygen, he had to twist around in the cockpit to get to it without bumping the bulky nightvision goggles he was wearing into the canopy. That contortion of his body allowed the pedals and the stick to get nudged just enough (the stick is particularly difficult to judge how much input is being applied without looking at a heads-up display or external visual reference since it is a pressure/force stick that doesn't move much), and he accidentally dove the aircraft into the ground.

    Now, yes, the handle he was reaching for was difficult to find and could not be grabbed easily by feel alone due also to its shape. The AF is finally addressing that issue. The other cause is just as serious: the F-22 cockpit was never really optimized to be flown in wearing bulky nightvision goggles added to the helmet. And the size and shape of that cockpit was the result of massive research. The anthropometrics were originally designed with a VR display built into the helmet that would project cueing information, flight data, and light amplification or thermal augmentation in front of your vision at all times (the latter from the IRST). The funding for implementing this essential and originally-intended feature has been cut by Congress & the DoD and continually moved back to later and later dates. The full helmet mounted display would have done two things: 1) it would have been less bulky and un-ergonomic, making it easy to turn in the cockpit without bumping your head gear into anything during night flights, and 2) it would have made the aircraft's orientation obvious to the pilot as the positional symbology information would have been in his view at all times like a floating HUD in his vision.

    The idea that some F-15, F-16, and F-18s are already getting the first generation JHMCS, not to mention the F-35 is being completely built around an even more advanced version, but the F-22, the most advanced manned air-combat fighter that will probably ever be built, is the victim of these sorts of penning-pinching budget cuts, should give everyone pause. The F-22's helmet cueing funds have been cut. Its ground and side radar implementations have been reduced, cut, or moved to “a later administration”. The Infrared Search and Track (IRST) system budget has been cut. The Datalink modernization (so that it can integrate into the rest of the newest AF feeds) has been cut. The implementation of the newest GPS munitions cannot go forward with these cuts. And yet people keep complaining that the F-22 can't be used in Afghanistan and that it's been more difficult to deal with some of its limitations than expected. These are budget-connected limitations imposed by the rest of the government on the F-22 fleet. At this point, the program appears to have been short changed by Congress, the Defense Department, and the media.

    May 13, 2012 at 3:10 am | Reply
    • Dire

      It took all of 30 seconds for me to read your response and to realize that you don't have a clue about anything that is related to budgeting, testing, fielding, engineering, flying and maintaining the F22, F35, F16 and F15. Personally, I just think you like seeing your BS replies posted on the net.

      May 13, 2012 at 7:03 am | Reply
      • Reticuli

        Funny, because a few days later the SecDef went on TV and essentially said the same thing I did.

        July 21, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
    • Dan

      While the description of the incident itself (and the politics behind it) is certainly plausible, the "mass hysteria" thing is a stretch. That is often used as an explanation for situations like this, but is just as often proved wrong.

      May 13, 2012 at 8:46 am | Reply
    • John P. Tarver

      Cut these pieces of junk up and quir wasting money on the F-22.

      May 13, 2012 at 11:14 am | Reply
  8. Mary

    Why aren't samples of gas collected and analyzed from inside the cockpit?! What kind of testing are they doing? Who the hell is working on this? It seems very bizarre to me that it has taken so long to produce any indication as to what is happening.

    May 12, 2012 at 1:14 pm | Reply
    • John P. Tarver

      From the initial claim that hypoxia was a symptom of oxygen deprivation pretty well made it certain that CNN's expert is incompetent. Now the pressurization issue has pretty well been discredited, with the geound crews getting sick. Is there carbon fibre delamination?

      May 12, 2012 at 2:10 pm | Reply
      • Dan

        "Hypoxia-like symptoms" was the term used. And, as the article said, "Hypoxia is oxygen deficiency." No one (in the article) said that the symptoms were CAUSED by oxygen deficiency, merely that the symptoms RESEMBLED those of oxygen deficiency. I don't see any evidence of "incompetence" - at least not in the article (though maybe in some of the comments above).

        May 12, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
      • John P. Tarver

        Hypoxia is not oxygen deprivation. Is is a pressurization issue.

        May 12, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
      • Dan

        Hypoxia means, literally, "lack of oxygen". Can be from any cause.

        May 12, 2012 at 8:35 pm |
      • John P. Tarver

        In an airplane hypoxia is as I described, but that is generalized hypoxia, instead of true hypoxia.

        May 12, 2012 at 10:21 pm |
      • ET

        Your theory is valid. Lamination of anything requires toxic resins and hardeners. We sometimes see laminated products "popping off", a term for "still curing and hardening" up to a year after production of our products.

        May 16, 2012 at 8:08 am |
      • John P. Tarver

        As the Nyquist shaking of this final airframe type was never done, any delamination could be of a far more serious concern. The Frequency domain response of the airframe has been unknown since the interation of stiffening the tail boom pre airframe 28 (27 scraped airframes) also has the stiffened tail (titanium spar), to pervent cracks; induced by the stiffened tail boom.

        May 16, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
    • Dan

      I can be very difficult to isolate a chemical that may be in the air (or perhaps absorbed by touch) in the PPM or PPB range of dilution. You kind of have to know what chemical to look for, and they've no doubt eliminated most of the obvious ones.

      May 12, 2012 at 5:47 pm | Reply
  9. zombierocket

    Each F-22 requires "1,000 subcontractors and suppliers and 95,000 workers" to build." How many ways can you spell "Stupid"? For an aircraft that was unveiled in 1997... we ain;t doing so good. Time to scrap it. Might as well pull the plug on the obscenely expensive F-35 too. Ask me, the Tigershark people had the right idea years ago. Build it right, build it fast, built it for a purpose... stop building "all purpose" "flying pianos".

    May 11, 2012 at 10:29 pm | Reply
    • John P. Tarver

      I worked the main computer chip set at AFRPL for Federal Electric in 1984. Imagine that, a very expensive antique at the heart of it all.

      May 11, 2012 at 10:32 pm | Reply
    • shootzombiesinthehead

      Because hardware like the F-22A prevent our enemies from even considering an attack against the USA.

      May 12, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Reply
      • zombierocket

        Troll

        May 12, 2012 at 8:48 pm |
      • Dan

        Been lots of trolling here. I'm surprised all the lures haven't gotten all tangled together.

        May 12, 2012 at 10:23 pm |
    • Dan

      How many people do you suppose it takes to build a car? And that aircraft is a lot more complicated than a car.

      May 12, 2012 at 10:26 pm | Reply
  10. zombierocket

    They shoulda selected the Northrup design (F-23)... it was faster and stealthier. But then... money greases all the skids...

    May 11, 2012 at 10:21 pm | Reply
  11. rob2tallr

    Sounds like a toxic shock from materials inside the cabin of the jet-possibly from circuit boards over heating producing a toxic gas-what ever it is the entire fleet ought to be grounded and perhaps Lockheed out to be fined for each craft-they bilked us taxpayers for $150 million an aircraft-so why not just make Lockheed buy them all back from the govt and scrap them?

    May 11, 2012 at 9:42 pm | Reply
    • John P. Tarver

      150 million is not even half the price of an F-22.

      May 11, 2012 at 10:25 pm | Reply
  12. Courier

    Sounds like Mercury Vapor poisoning to me

    May 11, 2012 at 12:09 pm | Reply
    • Dan

      I never did trust that planet.

      May 11, 2012 at 6:15 pm | Reply
  13. James Woods

    I like the american flag displayed in the back. Yep; fueling that war machine, the military-industrial complex is alive and well.

    What's the use of having machines like this when all the armchair generals know how to do is send in our boys and girls in hand-to-hand combat?

    Im assuming these great planes are being reserved to patrol the skies of america once the people revolt.

    May 11, 2012 at 10:53 am | Reply
    • Kavin

      Maybe there's an American flag there because it's a government facility and they usually display the US flag? Of course a "revolutionary" like yourself wouldn't know that. What a joke.

      May 11, 2012 at 12:09 pm | Reply
      • Dan

        I'm thinking the problem is due to those Big Ass fans overhead.

        May 12, 2012 at 10:28 pm |
  14. sheikyerboutie

    These newer planes are built more and more with composites. All sorts of chemicals are probably leaching out of the aircraft and making them sick

    May 11, 2012 at 8:51 am | Reply
    • zombierocket

      My fear- there are parts from China in this plane...

      May 11, 2012 at 10:01 am | Reply
      • John P. Tarver

        The rule breaking done by the F-22 program is the reason for the Chinese parts in so many systems.

        May 11, 2012 at 10:13 am |
      • rob2tallr

        every country but China...

        May 11, 2012 at 9:45 pm |
      • John P. Tarver

        The Chinese parts are a direct consequence of the F-22 program failing to comply with MIL-COTS. (ie mil-hdbk-217f) The junk yard was the only way to comply with the contracts, as the F-22 is on the dead side of a production break.

        May 11, 2012 at 10:24 pm |
    • dreamer96

      Sheikyerboutie

      Very true..formaldehyde gas comes off new Silicon rubber parts, or seals...

      But that carbon could be breaking down off the filters because of some other gas effecting the filters..and the epoxies used could be breaking down due to hydraulic fluid leaks, or oils, cleaners, or jet fuel on the composites, or just heat on the composite surfaces, or the sun's ultra violet rays at high altitudes, effecting the epoxies...all of these concerns were brought up with design of Boeing's new Dreamliner 787 passenger jet...the fact these are recent problems, after the planes have been flying for awhile..just point to a possible breakdown of the composites after time and exposure to the other chemicals used in the plane..

      May 11, 2012 at 1:04 pm | Reply
  15. Larry

    heres an idea stop flying and building a plane we dont use. its cost us 80 billion dollars so far and its done what other than make pilots sick?

    May 11, 2012 at 5:50 am | Reply
    • Flatsguide

      Here's an another idea..............shut up. We need to stay well ahead in this field to maintain Air Superiority in the future.

      May 11, 2012 at 8:25 am | Reply
      • zombierocket

        Here's a best idea.. shut up both of you. At the rate we're going, we won't need Air Superiority. The barbarians are already here.

        May 11, 2012 at 9:56 am |
      • John P. Tarver

        The F-22 has been driven by the Peter Principal from inception and does not provide air superiority. The F-22 was about Lockheed maximizing their profits.

        May 11, 2012 at 10:18 am |
      • rob2tallr

        the plane kills the pilots before it ever makes it to the combat zone-scrap it!

        May 11, 2012 at 9:46 pm |
      • Dan

        Far from being the first plane that did that.

        May 12, 2012 at 12:32 am |
  16. Mike

    Like the last poster said its some sort of nitrogen leak within the planes fuselage. Most likely part of the fuel tank venting system is defective or improperly designed and is letting the plane fill up with nitrogen which is displacing the oxygen throughout the interior of the plane. I'm not familiar with this plane but I know that every other fuel system I deal with utilizes carbon cannisters as part of the fuel system, the traces of activated carbon would seem to be the smoking gun.

    May 11, 2012 at 1:05 am | Reply
  17. specter

    C02 leak maybe?

    May 11, 2012 at 12:52 am | Reply
    • Flatsguide

      Explain to me where exactly you get C02 in a jet aircraft.

      May 11, 2012 at 8:26 am | Reply
  18. sean dizzle

    This probably is the problem --nitrogen displaces o2-–from http://www.vectorsite.net/avf22.html (The F-22 features eight internal fuel tanks, and there is a boom-refueling socket in the middle of the back. The internal fuel tanks are normally flooded with nitrogen to reduce the danger of fire from fuel fumes. The nitrogen is derived from the atmosphere by an on-board nitrogen generation system. The F-22 also includes a fire-fighting capability, consisting of infrared and ultraviolet sensors linked to a Halon 1301 fire extinguishing system. While Halon is an ozone-attacking freon, designers are searching for "green" alternatives, and the fire extinguishing system was designed to allow the storage of alternative agents with up to 2.5 times the volume of Halon)

    May 10, 2012 at 11:34 pm | Reply
    • Flatsguide

      This sounds like the most viable cause.

      May 11, 2012 at 8:27 am | Reply
  19. John P. Tarver

    Hypoxia has to do with pressurization, not oxygen. When the partial pressure of the nitrogen in blood drops it comes out of solution. The F-22 is a disaster.

    May 10, 2012 at 11:01 pm | Reply
  20. Jr.

    The masks arent used on the ground,usually. I would look at the pressurization system.That's the only thing they have in common. Check the filters closely. Pressurization is indirectly supplied by engine bleed air.Check bleed air seals.Sometimes the smell of lubricant seeps through the system.When you run up an engine,you close the canopy ,especially if it's cold outside.That's why the run up crews are experiencing the same symptoms.Has nothing to do with the mask.

    May 10, 2012 at 10:39 pm | Reply
  21. Chemist

    Possibly newer fuel additives are toxic, you know, to boost octane number and engine power. Reminds me of multiple cases of soldiers poisoned by dimethylhydrazine in rocket fuel used in USSR (for youngsters, it's Soviet Union, Russia predecessor).

    May 10, 2012 at 10:35 pm | Reply
    • dreamer96

      MTBE a real nasty fuel additive...now banned in California..the big oil boys answer to ethanol additive..

      May 11, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Reply
  22. Chemist

    Sorry, did not read all above, – maybe mentioned already.

    Possibly newer fuel additive used in F-22 but not in older jets? You know, to boost octane number and efficiency.

    May 10, 2012 at 10:31 pm | Reply
  23. zumajim

    At only $400 million apiece, now we can afford to spread the hypoxia-like symptoms around! Why should the pilots get all the fun?

    May 10, 2012 at 7:43 pm | Reply
    • Cheese Wonton

      That $400 million figure is inflated. It should be in the high $300 millions and it is not the cost of one aircraft. It is Total Ownership Cost, the cost to buy the airplane and own it for 30 years. It includes all the fuel the plane will ever use, all the spare parts and consummables, periodic overhauls, flight and ground crew wages and allowance, travel and training, new facilities and all the support equipment necessary.
      The "Flyaway" cost of a single F-22 ready to use is $150 million. For comparison sake, the most recent purchases of F-15's by Singapore and South Korea had a flyaway cost of around $110 million per plane, and this is for a forty year old design with a modern radar, fire control and countermeasures, but absolutely no low observable treatments.
      Some segments of the press will use the Total Ownership Cost figure to make aircraft appear to be more expensive than they are. It is not a dishonest number, but it is used dishonestly in arguments.

      May 10, 2012 at 10:07 pm | Reply
      • John P. Tarver

        The first 120 F-22 cost $500,000,000 each and the next 47 cost 387,000,000 each. The F-22 is made entirely of obsolete electronocs and will never go to war.

        May 10, 2012 at 10:37 pm |
      • Carapace

        Cheese, you are correct. The $300M number is a very inclusive number and accounts for everything from research, development, testing, support equipment, spares and, I don't think you mentioned it, related facilites construction costs. Fly-away is actually closer to $140M than $150M. Tarver, you should research more carefully; or perhaps more to the point...you should research before you speak. Your numbers are very wrong.

        May 11, 2012 at 7:17 am |
      • John P. Tarver

        The cost was $60 billion for the first 120 and 387 million for each additional copy. Less the 27 production airfames that were incorrectly manufactured and destrouyed.

        May 11, 2012 at 10:20 am |
      • Mark

        Using total ownership cost to price a plane is a huge leap forward in containing defense expenditures, so I wouldn't call using that figure dishonest or misleading; quite the contrary. Defense contractors and the pentagon have been lying for years about the real costs of these weapon systems. Taxpayers eat the cost of the R&D; they buy the plane; and then they have to go back and buy the spare parts. Read about the C-5 and you'll understand why using total owners cost is a really good idea.

        May 11, 2012 at 10:59 am |
      • John P. Tarver

        Amortizing the cost of a machine over a production run is standard practice and those who argue against it are dishonest.

        May 11, 2012 at 10:30 pm |
  24. Simon

    Did they remove the price tag? May be it is sticker shock.

    May 10, 2012 at 7:08 pm | Reply
  25. Dan

    Almost certainly some sort of mitochondrial toxin (solvent, resin, etc). What's unusual is for such a large number of people to be affected - usually it's only a small % that are sensitive to the toxins.

    May 10, 2012 at 6:53 pm | Reply
    • Grey Dragon

      It is a fairly new plane with the latest cutting edge compounds and developments, not all of which could possibly been tested for long or even short term effects on people.

      May 10, 2012 at 7:04 pm | Reply
      • Simon

        Did they remove the price tag? May be it is sticker shock.

        May 10, 2012 at 7:07 pm |
  26. 45Gunner

    To quote "Fletch"...."c'mon guys...its ALL ball bearings now,...maybe you guys need a refesher course!?!"
    LOL!

    May 10, 2012 at 6:23 pm | Reply
  27. grooveclubhouse

    Whatever guys. The catch-22 is an awesome plane.

    May 10, 2012 at 5:31 pm | Reply
  28. achmed fubar

    It's the firewall gasket. Simply replace it with a metric crescent wrench and a torx hammer and the leaks will stop. If not, punt!

    May 10, 2012 at 5:20 pm | Reply
    • zombierocket

      It's the hepher shaft and it's misalignment with the star-toothed widget.

      May 11, 2012 at 10:00 am | Reply
  29. Kevin Retcho

    Please check to see where these so called sensitive parts are made ! let's hope not CHINA Again! Obama did cut the military budget !

    May 10, 2012 at 5:04 pm | Reply
    • Rick

      Funny you said that, I was thinking the same thing. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if there were something that was made in China that is causing this. I’m kind of glad and hope there is. Then maybe finally our stupid govt will get it and STOP buying Chinese garbage.

      May 10, 2012 at 5:06 pm | Reply
      • Kevin Retcho

        If you like that comment your really going to love what our government done yesterday! yikes China will take over our Country without firing a shot! http://ca.news.yahoo.com/3-big-chinese-banks-enter-us-banking-market-185200086.html

        May 10, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
    • Cheese Wonton

      Are you kidding? You cannot even dispose of worn out parts in the normal way. Worn out parts are treated as classified material and protected very carefully. Almost everything about that airplane is classified. About the only foreign components might be the Martin Baker ejection seats, which are British. I don't know if we manufacture those here though we have a specific version for US aircraft.

      May 10, 2012 at 10:10 pm | Reply
  30. Grey Dragon

    It might not be something inhaled as it might be skin contact/absorption, as it seems when reported somewhat slow acting on the pilots as they are more covered up and faster on the mechanics that are less so. Some sort of contaminate absorbed through the skin.

    I would take some sort testing of the air within the cockpit, not the oxygen system per say, but the atmosphere in general while the plane is under power, and well as not, then followed by testing of anything the pilots and mechanics both wear while in the plane, for anything that might combine and form some sort of toxin.

    I believe it is more a contact thing than the oxygen system. Blood testing of the mechanics and pilots is in order before and after each flight, or even after prolong exposure while in the closed cockpit

    May 10, 2012 at 5:03 pm | Reply
  31. Solo

    We're letting people into this country without any thought to diseases they bring with them.

    May 10, 2012 at 4:21 pm | Reply
    • ItsAMirage

      Oh you mean all the diseases that the Europeans brought and infect/kill native Americans!

      May 10, 2012 at 4:33 pm | Reply
      • sawolf

        No such thing as a native American, just those that got here earlier.

        May 11, 2012 at 11:18 pm |
    • Duklips

      So, Is your point that immigrants are causing hypoxia in F-22 crews?

      May 10, 2012 at 4:35 pm | Reply
    • Yoshinobu Tokugawa

      And they are infecting the planes

      May 10, 2012 at 5:01 pm | Reply
    • Yoshinobu Tokugawa

      Must be the mysterious F-22 cucaracha

      May 10, 2012 at 5:02 pm | Reply
    • Burbank

      This arguement is silly and in the wrong blog, but while we are on the subject, we may have accidentally given the Indians small pox and a few other diseases they didn't have immunity to, but they gave the Europeans tobacco. How many millions of people the world over, not just in America, has THAT killed?????

      May 10, 2012 at 7:23 pm | Reply
      • Bostonian

        The only small pox left are those little public recreation areas in the Boston area

        May 12, 2012 at 8:02 am |
  32. Bubba

    I say replace the activated carbon filter with the Fresh Breeze cabin air filter from Auto Zone and the fart smell will go away,,,just saying...

    May 10, 2012 at 4:09 pm | Reply
  33. Yang Xi Gua

    Confucius says: Those who live to harm and kill others, often wind up harming and killing themselves.

    May 10, 2012 at 4:05 pm | Reply
    • Jason Glugla

      Did he say that as brutal Chinese Emperors were killing any who would speak against them?

      May 10, 2012 at 4:11 pm | Reply
      • Yang Xi Gua

        Chinese emperors were benevolent.

        May 10, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
    • Yoshinobu Tokugawa

      Gili bili tshe kitaiki: yak, yaktsidrak, yaktsidraktsitrakcitroni. Gili bili tshe kitaizi zipki, zipkidripki, zipkidripkilampomponi. Posheniwsa,yak zo zipki, yaktsidrak zo zipkidripki, yaktsidraktsitrakcitroni zo zipkidripkilampomponi. Wakarimasu-ka?

      May 10, 2012 at 5:07 pm | Reply
    • Jason Glugla

      Were the Chinese Emperors as benevolent as Chairman Mao?

      May 10, 2012 at 7:32 pm | Reply
      • Rianna

        . I would always hear music in my head, cmrieocmal jingles, and all the music I'd listened to in the past. Sometimes that could get very annoying. Dexedrine Spansules have worked well for me. It produces a calming effect and helps get rid of the brain chatter (music or otherwise) that used to distract me during tests or essays. It also improves my mood, not by making me happier really, just more stable. I don't get mad as easy anymore. I have tried all the meds. My favorite is definitely the dex spansules, second favorite is adderall xr(it isnt as strong as dex) Regular adderall is ok but long term it loses its effectiveness. Ritalin gave me horrible headaches. Most talk down about dexedrine spansules but you shouldn't knock it till ya try it! For some they don't work but when they do work they can work wonders!!!GD Star Ratingloading...

        September 12, 2012 at 11:52 pm |
  34. Yang Xi Gua

    stealth technology is improving by leaps and bounds, but so is detection and tracking technology. modern radars are so powerful they can track at many times the range as older radars. improvement in shield is offset by improvement in spears, so to speak

    May 10, 2012 at 3:48 pm | Reply
    • Cheese Wonton

      Understand how a Bose Wave Radio works and you can just begin to understand how stealth works. It is now adaptable to changes in radar characteristics.

      May 10, 2012 at 10:14 pm | Reply
  35. Steve

    Let's see......engine running, in cockpit, feel hypoxic. Carbon Monoxide infiltration, anyone?

    May 10, 2012 at 3:46 pm | Reply
    • ogel45

      Chinese emperors were benevolent???? The words emperor and benevolent are almost mutually exclusive.

      May 10, 2012 at 6:54 pm | Reply
  36. nicholasmrazek

    What the hell does jesus have to do with the current topic? I believe there is a god but I'm currently interrested in the topic at hand and comments from people who have knowledge and actual insight about it...

    May 10, 2012 at 3:46 pm | Reply
  37. Yang Xi Gua

    the moral of the story is: the more chemicals inhaled, the worse for health. not just stealth paint, but everything from detergent to processed gasoline

    May 10, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Reply
    • Grey Dragon

      I believe you have the right idea, but it might not be something inhaled as it might be skin contact, as it seems somewhat slow acting on the pilots as they are more covered up and faster on the mechanics that are less so. Some sort of contaminate absorbed through the skin.

      I would take some sort testing of the air within the cockpit, not the oxygen system per say, but the atmosphere in general while the plane is under power, and well as not, then followed by testing of anything the pilots and mechanics both wear while in the plane, for anything that might combine and form some sort of toxin.

      I believe it more a contact thing than the oxygen system. Blood testing of the mechanics and pilots is in order before and after each flight.

      May 10, 2012 at 4:54 pm | Reply
  38. Yang Xi Gua

    I'd like to see how F-22's "stealth" hold up against a modern radar rather than a 1960s radar. T-34's so-called "shell proof" armor sure didn't save it from contemporary tank guns.

    May 10, 2012 at 3:39 pm | Reply
    • Jason Glugla

      Maybe you would like to see one land in China so that they could rip it apart and give it thorough testing.

      May 10, 2012 at 3:46 pm | Reply
    • Cheese Wonton

      If the Chinese keep screwing with the Philippines the Chinese may experience (but not see) them sooner than you think!

      May 10, 2012 at 10:15 pm | Reply
    • lokii

      It already has. Stealth planes spend a great deal of time on the radar test range before the final design goes into production. Look at a picture of the prototype YF-22 versus the production F-22 and you will see the difference.

      May 11, 2012 at 9:24 am | Reply
      • John P. Tarver

        The F-22 and the YF22 are completely different airplanes. The original Lockheed entry into the ATF competition would not fly, so they built GD's design as the YF-22.

        May 11, 2012 at 10:15 am |
  39. Buck michaels

    I think that dang plane is giving everyone who sits in a such an intense lasting Boner that they get light headed... It's a sexy a@@ jet!

    May 10, 2012 at 3:35 pm | Reply
  40. Arthur Bell

    The US military black ops group built this craft by reverse engineering an alien spaceship which crashed in Roswell in the 1940s. To this day, they still do not understand the advanced technology.

    May 10, 2012 at 3:22 pm | Reply
  41. hecep

    Do what George Lucas does in almost all his movies. Shut it down, then start it up again.

    May 10, 2012 at 3:06 pm | Reply
  42. Guy

    It could be the nano fibers used in the materials

    May 10, 2012 at 2:56 pm | Reply
  43. OPSEC Officer

    ALCON, this is pure disregard for OPSEC. Loose ships sink ship

    May 10, 2012 at 2:45 pm | Reply
  44. David

    Commercial airlines have had a similar problems when hydrolic fluids get atomized and into the air stream. This could be serious and cause long term effects. You don't have to have a face mask on to breath this air mix.

    May 10, 2012 at 2:41 pm | Reply
  45. Raptor1

    Josh, relax... The Raptor's been at IOC for 7 years now, and there have been 2 crashes, both at extreme speeds/conditions – There is a problem with the O2 system SOMEWHERE, and even though it is an insidious problem (hypoxia symptoms), it's not a sign of a failed project; just a design problem in one of its systems.
    It's obvious that because the Raptor is so expensive, people seem to believe that all risks and deisgn issues have been completely eliminated, that everything should work perfectly every time, and that if there is a problem then the whole program is a failure. Far from it! When the -35 EVENTUALLY takes to the front lines, the F-22s will be holding their hands, keeping them safe. Anyone that wants to bitch about the cost of the Raptor should consider: 20+ years ago we we had a prototype of the fighter (F-22) with better stealth, performance, speed, altitiude and air-air capabilities than the aircarft we're currently struggling with (F-35); we developed NEW technologies which the -35 supposedly would borrow from, to save risk/cost; we then slashed the F-22 build numbers to ONE-FOURTH the planned numbers; and then closed the line to hinder its further development and remove competition from the F-35, by quoting per-unit costs with all the R and D included and dividing by the reduced build number!!! That's not brilliance,that's a travesty. Put simply, let's take the 60+ F-35s that can't even drop bombs and figure out their unit cost using the same methodology applied to the Raptor. Guess what? They F-35 Unit cost is well over $500 million a piece! Add in the charges for the latest fixes, a REAL helmet, and the 12 million lines of code left to write, weapons testing, airframe mods – You SHOULD get the picture.

    May 10, 2012 at 2:37 pm | Reply
    • Cheese Wonton

      Talking out your exhaust. F-35 carries two JDAMs internally for low observable missions but has conventional underwing pylons to carry more ordnance when stealth is unnecessary. It will carry air to surface missiles internally (Norway has a modified NSM that fits into the F-35 weapons bay) and all the usual ordnance underwing. Even with two JDAMs in the weapons bay it retains two internally carried AIM-9's for dogfighting.

      May 10, 2012 at 10:20 pm | Reply
  46. Johnny

    Maybe it's because some of the parts are made in China?

    May 10, 2012 at 2:28 pm | Reply
    • umm

      Nice try!

      May 11, 2012 at 3:08 am | Reply
  47. vinnie gambini

    It's the light energy. Something with the canopy refracting the sunlight in a particular way that's confusing the brain.
    Remove the canopy, give them cool goggles, like the Red Baron used to wear. Duuuuuude, there'll be no confusion- awesome duuuuuude.

    May 10, 2012 at 2:23 pm | Reply
    • Cheese Wonton

      Actually I think the color of the canopy material is indeed the problem. Did you know that dislexic people can read and understand books without the effects of dislexia by reading with certain color glasses or reading in certain color lighting? Similarly, in non dislexic people, dislexia can be induced by reading in certain color light.
      I am beginning to think the color of that canopy affects a small proportion of pilots and ground crew. Just an idea.

      May 10, 2012 at 10:22 pm | Reply
  48. lokii

    It is a curious problem since the other problems could be quickly diagnosed due to them cropping up in prior generations of aircraft. What I am curious about if the F-22 still uses the highly toxic paints that the F-117 did and if so what would be the symptoms of poisoning. If that was the case it would explain both pilot and ground crew exposure.

    May 10, 2012 at 2:07 pm | Reply
  49. chandler1

    Look at the filter on the 26c capcilator infront of the Mark IV air sensor. Sometimes it's that simple.

    May 10, 2012 at 2:02 pm | Reply
    • Johnny

      I agree with your assessment...I guess that we both stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night!!

      May 10, 2012 at 2:25 pm | Reply
    • hecep

      You failed to mention the Interociter.

      May 10, 2012 at 3:03 pm | Reply
      • Mike in the SOL

        Better consult with Exeter...

        May 10, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
    • Dan

      I still say it's the flux capacitor.

      May 10, 2012 at 6:55 pm | Reply
      • Sofia

        Finally fixed my narcolepsy bioavher! Tried light therapy,Finally found the right combination for Adderall and Dexadrine.Used to take 20mg Adderall XR in the morning, then at 10am started dozing off.Now, I take 20mg of Adderall + 5mg of dexedrine when I wake up, and I don't fall asleep!If you're like me, you have trouble getting going in the morning, starting a project, writing a letter, but once you start moving, there's no stopping you!This is what dexadrine did for me in the morning gave me a kickstart. It was the medicinal equivalent of having cold water thrown on my face but without the shock and subsequent anger and the water-thrower.I now fully expect the FDA to find a stupid reason to remove this product from the market .As you can see, I'm not taking it anymore. This is because doc and I are trying a new method that will help me fall asleep faster, so I'm putting this treatment on hold.GD Star Ratingloading...

        September 11, 2012 at 12:13 am |
  50. Jim970

    Maybe the F-22 is just so cool it takes their breath away (?).

    May 10, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Reply
    • ADad

      Idiot...

      May 10, 2012 at 2:20 pm | Reply
  51. T-Bone

    I have the answer.
    People are looking too hard at the oxygen deficiency angle due to the fact that the sickness has "hypoxia-like symptoms"
    My personal opinion on this is that they will find that the problem is a "High Frequency" issue.
    At a certain speed setting, the engine is likely resonating at a high enough frequency to debilitate and sicken anyone in the cockpit during the engine operation.
    This would explain why it happens to people with and without masks and also why it doesnt affect all people the same.
    One specific frequency may sicken one person but not another.
    It will be interesting to see if i turn out to be right on this.

    May 10, 2012 at 1:54 pm | Reply
    • Groundwrench

      I agree with ya T-Bone. Kinda like GE's "unducted fan" test. From what I herd it was all about sound frequency.

      May 10, 2012 at 3:12 pm | Reply
  52. Josh

    Im no rocket scientist, but if the engines are on..and the maintainers were not wearing masks while experiencing symptoms then clearly the one thing that consumes oxygen on the entire airplane (the engine) is pulling air from the cockpit...even the pilots oxygen system clearly has a leak in the piping somewhere thats causing it to bleed to cabin.

    May 10, 2012 at 1:47 pm | Reply
  53. John SMith

    My guess is that it has something to do with materials the aircraft is made of these days. Awful lot of glue with these composites. Just like we can't hear but within a narrow range, we may not be able to smell what the molecular decay that is occurring but it can be measured.

    May 10, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Reply
  54. Greggiekay

    Must be the 7th Fetzer Valve

    May 10, 2012 at 1:43 pm | Reply
    • Shrek

      I think it's the bypass line. C'mon guys... maybe you need a refresher course. It's all ball bearings these days! Now get me some three in one oil and some gauze pads!

      May 10, 2012 at 2:06 pm | Reply
    • Alex

      It's all ball bearings these days.

      May 10, 2012 at 2:30 pm | Reply
  55. BobbyBrick

    Parts made in China?

    May 10, 2012 at 1:37 pm | Reply
    • Bullshit!

      There goes another one.

      May 11, 2012 at 3:10 am | Reply
  56. John

    If the ground crews are getting sick – then the issue might not be the oxygen system rather an issue with the Enviromental Control System (ECS – Air Conditioning and Heating). Ground crews have no need to utilize the oxygen system while on the ground. However, with engines running – the ECS system is functional and is possibly allowing fumes from engines to back into the cockpit.

    May 10, 2012 at 1:36 pm | Reply
  57. donowen

    I would assume they have sealed the cockpit and placed continuous gas samplers for GC/ MS analysis. I've down this experiment for automotive out gases from numerous plastic coatings, insulation materials, and encapsulants. etc. Dramatic amount of trace toxic gases appear in new cars.

    May 10, 2012 at 1:33 pm | Reply
  58. nokoolaidcowboy

    Check the fuel mixture.

    May 10, 2012 at 1:33 pm | Reply
  59. FU

    Maybe they should close the local bar for a week and see what happens?

    May 10, 2012 at 1:31 pm | Reply
    • loverpoint

      That plus check the hanger and see if it is sitting on a hazardous waste site.

      May 10, 2012 at 1:34 pm | Reply
      • Nikki

        Dexedrine (dextroamphetamine) for ADHD: I used Ritalin for many years before reizlaing it had little or no effect on me. I think the placebo effect applied not only to me, but also to my parents and teachers. Upon finding out that it's quite common for some patients to have their medication switched 2-3 times before finding one that works, I decided to try Adderall (which worked amazingly, but gave me insomnia), Concerta (which didn't work on me, since it's basically the same as Ritalin), and finally settled on Dexedrine, which I don't know how I ever lived without. Of all the ADD medications I tried, it was head and shoulders above the rest as far as effectiveness AND had the fewest side effects (which were barely noticeable and disappeared after a couple weeks).GD Star Ratingloading...

        September 13, 2012 at 1:24 am |
    • ADad

      You 2 must of attended the same continuation school

      May 10, 2012 at 2:25 pm | Reply
  60. don

    I question the USAF "experts" quoted in this article who claim the F-22 flies higher and faster than the F-15 it replaces. That is untrue. The F-22 has stealth over the F-15. Both max speed and service ceiling advantages go to the F-15 Eagle. These are not debatable. What may be debatable is whether each F-22 is worth costing five times what each F-15 cost.

    May 10, 2012 at 1:27 pm | Reply
    • D.a.v.e.

      An F-22 is worth 1000 times what a F-15 is worth, so yes.

      May 10, 2012 at 1:36 pm | Reply
      • don

        Hmmm...not that I can categorically say you are wrong, Dave, but I'd reply with this: If that is true, and you were supplying an Air Force, would you rather have one F-22 or 1,000 F-15's for the same dollar? My point is this: How to better protect our interests around the globe. Also, what new fighter is the F-22 facing that the F-15 could not also out-dogfight? Also – thanks your response.

        May 10, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
      • October Sun

        DON ??? "Worth" and "costs" are two different things.

        May 10, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
      • jweller

        Why?

        May 10, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
    • Raptor1

      It seems to me you're talking about the Maximum speed of a clean (and stripped-down, by the way) F-15 being somewhere around Mach 2.5 Well then, what do YOU think would happen if we stripped down an F-22 and opened its burners up??? Any idea how fast that sucker would go? I'm guessing very close to Mach 3, if the composites didn't fail. :-(
      In ANY real-world scenario, where fighters carry weapoons, the Raptor's going to be doin SUSTAINED Mach 1.5+ with a boatload of fuel, 8 AAMs and 500 rounds of 20mm, while everyone else is doing Mach 0.9 and/or suckin down gas tryin to compete – So yeah, the Raptor IS faster than the F-15 or any other 4th-gen – you just have to understand the true context and implications of its caabilities. Put simply, a fully loaded Raptor is faster than ANY loaded fighter aircraft out there, by FAR. And that's not even considering what it can do aerodynamically and targeting-wise to you at those speeds and altitudes. It's a genuine monster, even considering its cost.

      May 10, 2012 at 2:18 pm | Reply
    • Cheese Wonton

      An F-22 is given the ability to fly in excess of 60,000 feet altitude with full weapons load out. A slick F-15 with absolutely nothing carried externally might get that high, but certainly not one with a nornal weapons load. Most current tactical jets take a long time and use an awful lot of fuel to get to 45,000 feet with their max payload. In practice they seldom fly that high. 35,000 feet is more common.
      Find out how hard it was for an F-15 to reach launch altitude for an ASAT launch. F-15's had to use a supersonic zoom climb just to reach 38,000 feet, by which time their speed had decayed to only Mach 0.94. The F-22 operates at far higher altitudes as a matter of routine.

      May 10, 2012 at 10:28 pm | Reply
      • John P. Tarver

        A slick F-15 holds the air breather record at 100,000 feet.

        May 10, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
  61. Mike

    The real culprit for the problem is Senator Lott from Georgia. Lockheed-Martin is based out of Georgia, while the F-23 produced by McDonnell-Douglas was produced elsewhere. Test pilots preferred the F-23 over the F-22, and it showed better test data in flight, but since Lott was head of the Armed-Services committee, guess which company won the contract. Don't blame the AF for this one; it falls solely on Congress.

    May 10, 2012 at 1:22 pm | Reply
    • don

      As you no doubt have found, congress and defense industry lobbyists ensure that sometimes the best plane does not win the contract. This has been true for at least 50 years.

      May 10, 2012 at 1:29 pm | Reply
    • Sminter 67

      Man, are you without a clue....

      May 10, 2012 at 1:38 pm | Reply
      • Alan S

        Sminter: Why is Mike (or Don) without a clue? Are you suggesting that Congress always makes the best procurement decisions? Or that Trent Lott wouldn't nudge the decision toward his own constitutents?

        May 10, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
    • db

      A few points...One, Trent Lott is from Mississippi, not Georgia. Two, he was never the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. Three, while he was the Senate Majority Leader for a peiod of time, he was merely a freshman Senator when the F-22 beat out the F-23 and would have had no influence on the Air Force's decision. Four, the YF-23 was developed by Northrup, not McDonnell Douglas. Finally, Lockheed Martin is not based in Georgia but rather Bethesda, Maryland. Please try use facts in the future.

      May 10, 2012 at 4:12 pm | Reply
      • djanes

        Actually Northrop and MD were teamed on the YF-23. Just as LM and Boeing were teamed on the YF-22.

        May 10, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
  62. Scott

    Have there been any changes in the last year in any plastic or rubber component in the cockpit, especially ones with plasticizers? (That would include vendor changes down the line with subcontractors supplied parts). Any changes in sanitizing methods or disinfectants?

    May 10, 2012 at 1:16 pm | Reply
  63. Bitrat

    Interesting.....of course they've checked for contaminants like carbon monoxide from engine exhaust....plasticizers from materials in the cockpit??

    May 10, 2012 at 1:16 pm | Reply
  64. Eric

    It's all about the ball bearings...Don't tell me my business boy!

    May 10, 2012 at 1:09 pm | Reply
    • BobbyBrick

      Don't forget the gauze pads...:)

      May 10, 2012 at 1:35 pm | Reply
  65. Prediction

    Oh you idiots. The engine is too close to the cockpit. I bet at higher engine speeds there is a problem, right. And it doesn't matter if the jet is on the ground. Your sucking air from around the cockpit. You got so many design problems with the jet, give it up. I know it flys like nothing else in the sky.

    May 10, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Reply
    • Carlos

      Decent! Compared to Adderall and ESPECIALLY Ritalin, Dex is less harsh overall on my body (while coinmg down) from the uplifting effects. I've only been on it for a few weeks, but Im quite familiar w/ stimulant ADD meds! Being I have Tourette Syndrome I have great difficulty focusing, compared to even an average person who just loses focus here and there. Even though any kind of stimulant (coffee, ADD meds etc..) clearly accelerate my tics to a degree , its just to what' degree can it be at least semi manageable. Ritalin was the WORST. I cannt begin to describe how harsh that med was on my body, tics, moods etc BAD news! So than I switched to Adderall. Clearly Adderall was better overall than Ritalin. The going up' phase was very effective, but coinmg down (again) was a bit difficult. It made me drained and irritable but NOT as bad as Ritalin! After finishing w/ the Adderall, I decided to go on Dex. after seeing the endless positive reviews on this site! For me, like I mentioned, my biggest issue from any ADD meds are the coinmg down' sensations more than anything (again due to my Tourette).Im seeking to minimize that crash' effect which I clearly felt from Ritalin and to a degree Adderall! So far w/ 10 mg of Dex. the ramping down phase has been okay. Not totally smooth, but much more manageable and tolerable than the other meds! The only time I had a major issue was the 1st time I took the Dex. Since than though, Ive responded okay to this. Seems my body has adjusted rapidly. The tics motor up, but they're not severe (like before). Maybe cause Im only on 10 mg I dont feel much of a rush/ uplift like I did from the Adderall, but its more of a normal'/ centered feeling which in turn in actuality is what these meds are supposed to accomplish! And makes it less addictive! Thats really all I seek is to feel compared to the highness effect. Ive thought of stepping up the dosage, but Im afraid all Ill get additionally is more of a high at first, and than unGD Star Ratingloading...

      September 10, 2012 at 5:18 am | Reply
  66. olddorothy

    Sounds like sabotage may be cause. What better way to attack USA security but to strike at its core defense system?

    May 10, 2012 at 1:03 pm | Reply
  67. WillnAtlanta

    I think it's the nut behind the wheel.

    May 10, 2012 at 1:01 pm | Reply
  68. Joshua Ludd

    Great.. now we get to spend millions if not billions more on this boondoggle to fix this problem. Its like the Osprey all over again.

    May 10, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Reply
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