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

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 (835 Responses)
  1. mr_coco

    Did they build it using chinese gypsum board?

    May 10, 2012 at 12:15 pm | Reply
  2. JiminNM

    It could chemical used in the manufacture of an airplane material that is causing the problem. As a side note, exposure of burning kerosene fumes can cause the body to manufacture too much blood.

    May 10, 2012 at 12:13 pm | Reply
  3. Cville

    Maybe the cockpit components are out-gasing? Could be that there's some wallboard installed inside that's made in China.

    May 10, 2012 at 12:12 pm | Reply
  4. Duh

    Why don't they just fly with the windows open?

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

      You just won.

      May 10, 2012 at 12:33 pm | Reply
  5. Beth

    I've worked for Supply on the F-22 Raptor up in Alaska and can tell you why: The Oxygen System in the Jet crashes. The powder in the Part's Unit travels through the tubes or busts out of the chambers. The POWDER is making everyone sick because IT'S NOT SUPPOSED TO LEAVE THE OBOGGS UNIT.

    May 10, 2012 at 11:40 am | Reply
    • Thelonious Squirrel

      Then why are mechanics who don't wear the mask getting sick too?

      May 10, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Reply
      • butch

        they aren't. they're faking it and hoping for a settlement.

        May 10, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
  6. LaRue

    Northrop and the Black Widow are saying "I told you so" right about now...

    In fact... if they were smart, they'd be pitching the fuck out of the 23 as an interim solution at a discounted rate...

    May 10, 2012 at 11:24 am | Reply
  7. Jonathan

    Any chance there is carbon monoxide or any other engine exhaust getting into the cockpit?

    May 10, 2012 at 11:18 am | Reply

      That was my initial thought, too.

      May 10, 2012 at 11:44 am | Reply
    • Franklin

      Why hasn't anyone realized what is causing this problem yet?? The aircraft is covered with radar obsorbing materials. Not just the structural material, but also the paints. The "off" fuming of these materials is what's causing this to the pilots as it travels through the airframe into the ventilation system and cockpits. The ground crews are experiencing the same issues because they are exposed to the "off" fuming while they are working on the aircraft. The government doesn't want to acknowledge this fact because they want to keep their radar absorbing materials top secret..........Now as Paul Harey would say........"Now you know the rest of the story"

      May 10, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Reply
      • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

        That must be why the other stealth plane pilots are having the same problem… of wait their NOT.

        May 10, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
  8. pbernasc


    May 10, 2012 at 11:14 am | Reply
    • Aaron Chaney

      Romney vs. Frankenstein (Obama)

      Put simply, better the devil you don't know. Vote Romney.

      May 10, 2012 at 11:15 am | Reply
      • Al2002

        I like turtles.

        May 10, 2012 at 11:33 am |
      • Josh

        I'm not sure if your utterance is nonsensical or just plain stupid. I'll opt for both.

        May 10, 2012 at 11:38 am |
      • Josh

        My comment was for the guy above turtle boy.

        May 10, 2012 at 11:39 am |
    • Steve

      Makes perfect sense. Take a half-billion dollar aircraft and poison the pilot who files it. Are you insane?!?!!?

      May 10, 2012 at 11:43 am | Reply
      • James

        Hey, im not think as you insane I am. Now go buy a turtle...

        May 10, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
      • Ouch

        Steve was just completed owned online. Would someone come clean up all the blood from this cyber beating.

        May 10, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
    • Franklin my post

      May 10, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Reply
  9. Inside knowledge

    THe reason these people are getting sick is because the planes have anti-gravity technology that the military got from space aliens (Roswell). This technology is still new to humans and we haven't figured out all the side effects yet.

    May 10, 2012 at 11:12 am | Reply
    • Inside knowledge

      The anti-gravity techology was also in the helicopter that went down during the Bin Laden raid, That's why they had a self-destruct device in it, so that no one else would get the technology. It's in the drones too, that's why it's a big deal that Iran captured a drone.

      May 10, 2012 at 11:41 am | Reply
      • Zetazoid

        Well, we (the alien race) have tried to make the human kind adapt to the anti-gravity-technology, by placing them on this planet. Earth's hollow core, as some may know, has been installed with this technology and now this entire planet is just floating in space.. -.I'll vote for contaminated air 🙂

        May 10, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
      • Mike

        The modified UH60's lack the micro-fusion pile needed to run the anti-grav generators. They had to blow them up because of the metamaterial stealth clock that rendered them invisible to optical and infra-red wavelengths. Not to mention the active silencers that made them no louder than a hummingbird in flight. Please get your facts straight.

        May 10, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
    • Steve

      Hmmmm anit gravity? Then why to the aircraft need engines and rotors? You conspiracy theorists are a crack up. Please, for the sake of all that's sane, go get an education.

      May 10, 2012 at 11:45 am | Reply
      • Inside knowledge

        I've got a masters degree douche. The engines propell the plane forward at high speeds. Less fuel is needed with the anti-gravity. Do some reseach simpleton.

        May 10, 2012 at 11:51 am |
      • Ouch

        And boom gos the dynamite. You were owned something fierce there my internet brother. None the less you have to ask yourself what the next of weapons will be and why we even need them. I think we should do as Germany and China and Russia seem to be doing and brace for something tough headed are way in the near future.

        May 10, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
      • Doug

        @Inside knowledge Research as in watch Youtube videos and dig up crap from conspiracy theory websites? Oh ok, I'll get right on that.

        May 10, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
    • Mike

      Amusing. I'd have taken this as a joke, except for your followup where you seem to actually believe it – which I find somehow disturbing.

      May 10, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Reply
      • Inside knowledge

        You're all making me self conscious....oh wait that's right I don't give a fuck what any of you think. I know what I know and you will find out soon.

        May 10, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
    • Dreamland

      I've seen the aliens up close and did autopsy on them. They are an interesting bunch but the thing that stood out the most was that they had a great sense of humor. Man could they crack me up. One day when we had the live ones in quarantine doing tests they played a practical joke on me and I laughed and laughed until I cried. What a great group of guys.

      May 10, 2012 at 12:28 pm | Reply
    • Mike

      It's ok, I.K. I know what you know too, and know what you don't know. Trust me on this. It's not anti-grav making the pilots sick.

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

    I'd suggest they examine the materials that went into these birds for vaporization/migration of component chemicals/materials. When the ground crew is in the cockpit is there, are they wearing the O2 masks/are they plugged into that system? If the ground crew that spends time in the cockpits but NOT on O2 are getting the same symptoms as the pilots in the air on O2, it stands to reason that whatever the cause is, it's present in BOTH the cockpit at atmospheric and either in the O2 system, or it can bypass or get through the O2 filter systems. To me this suggests a gaseous breakdown of materials USED in the O2 system and in the cockpit, OR something on a nano-scale. Come on, people. Do a little standard trouble shooting-type thinking!!!

    May 10, 2012 at 11:00 am | Reply
    • Quality gal

      As I read the article, it states that the mechanics (maintainers) are getting sick without use of a O2 mask which indicates that whatever is the cause of the illness is present in the air within the cockpit.
      A root cause analysis to determine the reason why this is happening might include analysis of materials used in the cockpit (i.e. seating material – which may give off vapors that can cause illness), hairline leak in the exhaust system which allows exhaust (carbon monoxide) to return to and be blown into the cockpit, etc. Also is this happening on ALL the F-22s or only on a few? Anyone keeping track of WHEN it happens (time of day, air/temp/humidity, etc. which could be a contributing factor? Makes one wonder why this would be so hard to track down, are all F-22s flown out of same field?, any fields adjacent to where chemical over sprays are used for agriculture? Could be a thousand things that contribute to this besides just being a "faster" plane.

      May 10, 2012 at 11:44 am | Reply
      • Josh

        It's possible that whatever is causing these issues isn't something that they are breathing, but maybe something our skin can absorb.

        May 10, 2012 at 11:59 am |
      • Bill744

        It has to be evaluated. But they now ought to put the oxygen sensor on the mechanics' fingers and try to replicate this. That will tell if it is hypoxia caused by the mask air or something else. And the something else could be (a) not hypoxia at all in the mechanics' case or (2) a cause in the cockpit.

        When the mechanics experienced this, was the canopy up or down?

        May 10, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
      • Reticuli

        The only thing certain here is that the symptoms appear to be contagious: lead to wingman, pilots to ground crew. It sounds psychosomatic.

        The crash in Alaska was not the result of hypoxia. It was the pilot attempting to prevent hypoxia when the bleed air was turned off on an engine after an apparent engine problem. With the engine off, the oxygen generating system predictably ceased function. His attempt to activate the emergency oxygen accidentally moved the flight controls in such a way as to crash the aircraft. The mass hypoxia symptoms could be nothing more than hysteria mixed with normal G-LOC breathing issues mixed with some minor chemical out-gassing mixed with something as common as season allergies.

        There may be no apparent physical cause because there isn't a physical cause at the root. With both the military and NASA having looked at this from every angle they can think of, that's the conclusion I think is most rational. The new temporary half-solution attempt to use certain carbon filters to get rid of whatever mystery chemical might be causing this then unexpectedly leaking carbon powder into the breathing loop appears to have exasperated the psychosomatic meme… understandably. People already very stressed out about this situation suddenly started coughing up black gunk.

        If there is indeed a physical cause, I hope the AF finds it. I also think they should keep investigating this. But we need to keep an open mind that the cockpit may have just been too cramped for the pilot in Alaska, he lacked the situational awareness he needed, the flight controls are touchy, and that handle definitely did need to be redesigned.

        May 13, 2012 at 3:46 am |
      • John P. Tarver

        NASA was a major contributor to creating this piece of junk in the first place and I have no confidence in thier ability to even understand a complex machine like the F-22.

        May 13, 2012 at 11:12 am |
  11. Fish

    This is going to sound kind of "duh", but it sounds like the solution to the problem isn't in the mask... Fighter jets will never be replaced by drones. I'd like to see this one succeed. It's one hell of a jet! Even the pilots say it is invincible. Barring that oxygen thing. 🙂

    May 10, 2012 at 10:58 am | Reply
    • Dan

      Never? NEVER EVER?

      That's the most short sighted possible thing a person can say, especially considering that the USAF has tacitly acknowledged that the F23 may well be the last manned fighter jet the USAF ever orders. The full funding to research is in weak AI's and automated attack craft.

      May 10, 2012 at 11:50 am | Reply
      • Bill744

        From all that I've read, and I cannot find any official on record saying so, there is a soft-consensus that the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter may be the last manned fighter. At least, there's no other on the drafting boards that anyone's willing to tell us about.

        One thing that the manned fighter pilots have over the drone pilots is the level of situational awareness that you cannot match with the limited field-of-view cameras the drones carry. And it's more than just the 360 degree view through the canopy.

        But since the UAVs have so much less mass devoted to life-support, they are so much incredibly cheaper to replace, even if you have to pay just as much or more for the pilots that fly them (while sitting in comfy chairs in remote bases).

        OTOH, what happens when the communications links to the UAVs are jammed or compromised?

        Anybody remember the debates in the 60's that led to the US having no dogfighting capability in Vietnam with the F-4 Phantom? They all thought that all air combat would be BVR at supersonic closing rates, so the fighters ended up with a couple sidewinders for defense. So, the F-16, F-15, F-14, and F-18 came into the field with next generation Gatling guns capable of over 110 rounds per second (yes, that's 6,600 per minute for the Vulcan).

        It would be wise to keep a complement of manned aircraft available while there's any uncertainty about Iranians taking control of your UAVs or natural or man-made signal jamming interfering with UAV mission completion.

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

      If they could only do away with the oxygen thingy those jets would be invincible. I worked on B-2's for years. Have had health problems since then. Tell those guys what my Dr's tell me. Its all in your head.

      May 10, 2012 at 12:32 pm | Reply
  12. pbernasc

    that's very easy .. a super secret substance is used in the stealth technology .. so secret nobody knows about it .. but a few who shut up because nobody really knows who they are and they probably are not allowed to talk to anyone about anything involving the F-22.

    SO ... at some point the plane will be grounded forever .. despite the solution being very close and easy
    sad .. the coolest airplane int he world .. has no match and it will be grounded because of protocol issues

    May 10, 2012 at 10:54 am | Reply
  13. JC

    It's the paint. They're sniffing the paint! LOL.

    May 10, 2012 at 10:49 am | Reply
    • Mike

      Conjecture, of course, but you may not be entirely off the mark. There are a lot of synthetic compounds involved in these things and there's bound to be some outgassing from the composites.. Think "that new care smell" and you'll have an idea. Given the need for radar absorbing materials, it's certainly conceivable there's some coating in the cockpit that's outgassing enough to make the pilots sick.

      May 10, 2012 at 2:21 pm | Reply
  14. Jeff RetUSAF/UK

    Just on lark I wonder if anyone is looking at the frequency the engines run at and if the vibration is carried through the airframe (resonant frequency). I used to work f-4s and had to do some launch assist sitting under the airframe for 15 minutes felt like my chest was getting hit with a 2×4. Felt kinda queezy afterwards. Just saying...

    May 10, 2012 at 10:47 am | Reply
  15. Wump

    Conversion disorder aka hysteria.
    Oh wait, these are grown men, not teenage girls, so it must be a REAL problem and not that silly girly wannabe stuff.

    May 10, 2012 at 10:20 am | Reply
    • ted409

      what makes u qualified to talk trash about the piliots. did u see 60 minutes last sunday when they desribed the problems
      are u so bad and tough youd be exempt from the described problems??
      i doubt u even know what theyre talking about

      May 10, 2012 at 11:07 am | Reply
  16. MilitaryAF

    Watching the 60-Minutes story this past weekend, this bird uses a new-fangled 'oxygen generation system' that uses ram-air & purifies it through the engines instead of good old fashioned LABO. I bet if they loaded up a few test-birds with oxygen bottles & bypassed the high-tech oxy system, they might find a solution! This approach hasn't been mentioned ANYWHERE that I've seen...

    May 10, 2012 at 10:14 am | Reply
    • Cheese Wonton

      OBOGS has been around for a long time and is in service on many US and foreign tactical jets (Eurofighter Typhoon and F/A-18 for example), trainers and even some C-130 models. LOX bottles are dangerous and you have to drag LOX equipment around when you deploy, which is why every air force wants to get out of the LOX business.
      We don't read about problems with OBOGS in other aircraft, so I am beginning to doubt that alone is the problem.

      May 10, 2012 at 10:47 am | Reply
  17. Juxsaposs

    Working in a different division of the Corporation that manufactures the OBOGS installed in the F22. My process controllers where replaced by controls manufactured by another division of this Corporation. After PROVING! the controllers, and not operator-err, where to blame for the downtime and zero production the old controllers where reinstalled,I regain the mandated numbers. If it aint broke don't fix it. If it don't work? no amount of kickback$ are going to make it preform as promised if it is incapable.

    Come on SHEEPLE these comments diverting from the cause? Who do you think pays for these mistakes? This Corporation, do to loopholes pays $.00 FEDERAL taxes. In my pea brain WE pay, as it's too late to stop payment on the check to the supplier of the OBOGS on the F22. I'll bet their sons aren't being ask to fly this waste either.

    Trying to show proof of this? the money this Corporation saves not paying Tax$ ties the truth up in court a very long time!!! and leaves them plenty for payoffs and such!

    This corporation is an "ECONOMIC TERRORIST" that truly put profit above all else,including The United States of AMERICA's future. Check'em out it seems some of us have plenty of time to surf the WWW

    May 10, 2012 at 10:10 am | Reply
  18. denisejones63

    Were any parts of these F-22 planes manufactured in Japan or on the West Coast of California? If so, could these illnesses be related to Japan's radiation fallout of its nuclear reactors?

    May 10, 2012 at 10:07 am | Reply
    • Voodoo Idol

      Your tinfoil hat is on a bit tight, Ms. Jones.

      May 10, 2012 at 10:19 am | Reply
    • Edwin

      Hard to see how. Radiation is not like diseases or poison - it dissipates once it moves away from its source.

      To be affected by radiation, the items in question would have to have been exposed A LOT - far more than would be lethal exposure to a human. Such items should show visible signs of damage, in order to have been altered enough to affect their chemical makeup.

      May 10, 2012 at 10:21 am | Reply
    • samuraikatana1

      The planes were manufactured years ago. Even so, the radiation would have nothing to do with this. Only if the plane was completely manufactured in the immediate vicinity of Fukushima would there be cause for concern. The radiation levels outside of Fukushima and in California were negligible.

      May 10, 2012 at 10:25 am | Reply
    • Juxsaposs

      the on board oxygen generation system (OBOGN) is out sourced by an economic terrorist to a factory in England. A U.S. based corporation that pays no federal Taxes out sources this.

      May 10, 2012 at 6:08 pm | Reply
  19. Garner

    Drone baby drone. Remove the pilot and save $299 million.

    May 10, 2012 at 9:59 am | Reply
    • ATX_MaxQ

      Hey Garner, remember that super-duper top secret stealth drone that went down in Iran that is now spilling all of its secrets to our enemies? How many millions of R&D were lost when it fell into enemy hands? Furthermore how many millions of R&D will now be necessary to guard against what the drone has revealed? This particular calamity and subsequent national embarrassment doesn't occur if there was a human pilot at the controls.

      May 10, 2012 at 10:29 am | Reply
      • DZA

        Who do you think pilots those drones 1600 miles away? HUMANS. In a little cockpit and TV screen. What R&D forgot to put on each drone is a self-destruct mechanism so that NO trace of the drone could be identifiable. If a pilot went down, he'd have to scuttle the plane after he ejected safely away....which means we'd have 2 issues at hand: Did the downed plane get destroyed enough, and how do we get the pilot back in one piece?

        May 10, 2012 at 10:45 am |
      • Cheese Wonton

        DZA, how do you or I know the drone didn't have an overwrite feature built into it's software? Once the files are overwritten nothing can be recovered.
        Frankly, considering how little angst one sees from the US military over this incident I would not be surprised at all if that little drone was a well thought out malware insertion device. After Stuxnet and Duqu I wouldn't be surprised by anything.

        May 10, 2012 at 10:56 am |
      • ATX_MaxQ

        DZA I'm well aware that humans pilot drones. However the reason we lost this drone is not because it had an engine failure or was shot down. We simply "lost contact" with it. R&D did plan for such a situation by installing software that should have either A) had the drone automatically return to base or B) self destruct. Neither occurred which means that somehow these codes were either overridden or simply faulty to begin with. Either way my point remains the same, this doesn't happen with a human pilot who can directly manipulate the controls on board. I'm not saying drones aren't useful, but I am saying there is not and will never be a substitute for a human at the controls.

        May 10, 2012 at 11:09 am |
      • Al2002

        DZA, so how do you suppose the drone knows when to explode itself? Loss of two-way communications with its ground control station? If we're facing an enemy with an effective ECM capability, we'd have a lot of drones blowing themselves up.

        May 10, 2012 at 11:41 am |
      • Joe Momma

        What would have happened if humans were involved? You already have that answer when the P-3 was forced down in China. They were not able to secure all S and TS information, so whether it was a drone or a manned plane seems immaterial.

        May 10, 2012 at 11:42 am |
    • Al2002

      I doubt we'd save any money with a drone with the capabilities of an F-22. Many drones have crews that "fly" them that get the same amount of money and benefits as their aircrew counterparts. They require maintenance crews, contractor support and all of the other requirements that piloted aircraft use these days. Designing an unmanned aircraft with the flight performance, sensor suite (F-22s have a lot more than just a FLIR for a sensor) and type and amount of ordnance that the F-22 has would be way more expensive than just identifying and fixing this problem right now.

      May 10, 2012 at 11:50 am | Reply
  20. remnant13

    Fact: bio-mechanical nano-tech skin cover

    May 10, 2012 at 9:56 am | Reply
    • Dudus57

      Fact: Humans need air? Cars go fast. Planes go faster.

      What are we doing here bud?

      May 10, 2012 at 10:50 am | Reply
      • Josh

        Lol. Well said. 🙂

        May 10, 2012 at 11:43 am |
      • remnant13

        off-gassing toxic material

        May 10, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
  21. joe

    Hungover mechanics are hittin' the 02 masks to help relieve hangovers. They're getting the same bad air as the pilots.

    May 10, 2012 at 9:50 am | Reply
  22. Canopy

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

    What about in their lungs and digestive tract?

    May 10, 2012 at 9:47 am | Reply
    • Edwin

      If any got into the lungs or digestive tracts, it would have had to pass through the throat first. Hence, they swab the throats.

      Swabbing lungs and/or digestive tracts, if even possible, would be fairly invasive. And it is hard to imagine how the particles would get to the lungs yet mysteriously vanish from the throat after passing through.

      May 10, 2012 at 10:25 am | Reply
      • Chuck

        How long would the remnants of the carbon stay in the throat as compared to the lungs?

        May 10, 2012 at 11:13 am |
  23. TheThinker

    The Air Force and Navy can easily establish air superiority anywhere in the world they need to. The F22 should be taken offline, leasons learned, and a new air superiority vehicle designed to come on-line by 2022. Target price $100M max (2012 dollars).

    May 10, 2012 at 9:45 am | Reply
    • FHTEX

      Are you kidding? The F-22 cost nearly $300 million EACH!

      May 10, 2012 at 9:50 am | Reply
      • Jim

        $150-$200 million, but who's counting?

        May 10, 2012 at 10:36 am |
    • Mick_Swagger

      Better yet – (1) Immediately take the F-22s out of service. (2) Force the manufacturer to buy these flying turkeys back at 50 cents on the dollar. It bankrupts them? Boo-hoo, they deserve it. (3) Take this money and use it to pay down some of the national debt. By no means let the Pentagon or Congress get their hands on the money. (4) Undertake a deep and honest assessment of why the U.S. insists on spending itself into oblivion based on delusions of world domination.

      May 10, 2012 at 10:22 am | Reply
      • thinkifyoucan

        Minor problem with that... no one vendor makes the complete aircraft. Should GE be forced to eat the cost of perfectly working engines? Should ITT Corp be forced to eat the cost of functional bomb racks? They need to identify the cause and make sure the vedor responsible for the problem eats the costs.

        May 10, 2012 at 11:08 am |
    • ATX_MaxQ

      To The Thinker: Every fighter or attack aircraft currently employed by the US armed forces (except for the F22/F35) is of a Cold War era design that is at least 20 to 30 years old. You know how you lose a war? By fighting it with the tools and tactics of the last war!

      To Mick Swagger: Which specific contractor would you like to force to buy back these "flying turkeys"? Were you even aware that Lockheed Martin wasn't the only manufacturer involved in the development & production of the F22? There is nothing wrong with the features for which this aircraft was developed – namely the airframe, stealth technology, and thrust vectoring/super-cruise capabilities. In fact they are unparalleled anywhere in the world, a main reason why no one chooses to challenge us into direct conflict. I'm not saying there isn't any fat that can be trimmed from the Pentagon budget, but if you're concerned with government spending maybe you should tackle the item that is really bankrupting us – runaway entitlement spending.

      May 10, 2012 at 10:57 am | Reply
    • Cheese Wonton

      Those $300 million plus figures are Total Ownership Cost, the cost to buy the plane and operate it for 30 years and includes things like pilot and ground crew wages, all training and travel, facilities, ground support equipment, fuel, maintenance and overhauls. The "Flyaway Cost" of an F-22 is closer to $150 million.
      For comparison sake, the flyaway cost of the most recent F-15 purchases by Singapore and South Korea were around $110 million each.

      May 10, 2012 at 10:59 am | Reply
    • Jonathan

      Actually the latest CBO estimate was $412 million per aircraft. The F22 is unnecessary and redundant though because of the F35

      May 10, 2012 at 11:09 am | Reply
      • charles

        Wrong.. The F-22 and F-35 are in no way/shape/form simillar, nor is the F-35 making the F-22 obsolete. The F-22 is a high-altitude air superiority aircraft, designed for high-altitude intercept and destruction. It is solely to replace the aging/obsolete F-15 Eagle weapon system. The F-35 "joint STRIKE fighter" is designed for a lower-level ground-attack role, to replace the F-16 Falcon. Both jets are designed to fulfill a certain role, and both are entirely different.

        May 10, 2012 at 11:58 am |
      • Jonathan

        It's a waste of taxpayer money is what it is. A nice kickback to congressmen's friends. When has the US ever been threatened in the air? Attacks on the US and on our troops consists of suicide bombs and IEDs. Spending a trillion dollars on new aircraft won't change that.

        May 10, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
      • Troy

        " Attacks on the US and on our troops consists of suicide bombs and IEDs. Spending a trillion dollars on new aircraft won't change that."

        This is true, but not spending a trillion dollars on new aircraft will change that.

        May 10, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
  24. John P. Tarver

    Hypoxia is notrogen coming out of solution in your blood stream into your brain. The F-22 is robery of the American tax payer.

    May 10, 2012 at 9:37 am | Reply
    • clarity

      Hypoxia is insufficient oxygen for normal functioning. The "bends" is nitrogen gas evolving out of saturated blood. These are not related.

      May 10, 2012 at 9:47 am | Reply
      • ummmmm

        A pilot in a high-G suit with forced air breathing system at high altitude can get hypoxia...less than a minute of consciousness at only 35,000 feet if the oxygen fails...not to mention much higher altitude these guys go...AND can also get the bends if he/she is depressurized from sea level to high altitude...and the nitrogen especially in the joints expands...painful and deadly...yes, hypoxia and the bends could happen concurrently in a high altitude pilot. Pilots learn not to eat the "musical fruit" before a flight because that gas expands too. FYI

        May 10, 2012 at 10:21 am |
      • ummmmm

        ...but you're right, hypoxia and the bends are from different causes...but both causes could be killers in an emergency for a high-altitude pilot. I suspect in this case it's hypoxia...or anercia...and not the bends.

        May 10, 2012 at 10:28 am |
      • ummmmm

        If the chinese are monitoring this blog, let em try and find out what "musical fruit" is (hint: it's a codename for "afterburner").........sort of

        May 10, 2012 at 11:27 am |
    • GerC

      Huh? Where did you get that information?

      May 10, 2012 at 9:52 am | Reply
    • sarco

      We obviously should spend more money on education – you know, like grammar and spelling.

      May 10, 2012 at 9:54 am | Reply
  25. gggg

    Well, I'm not in aviation, but if it happens on the ground with the engines running, wouldn't that imply that there is a leak from cockpit into the air intakes which creates a vacuum in the cockpit?

    May 10, 2012 at 9:21 am | Reply
  26. michaelfury

    May 10, 2012 at 9:11 am | Reply
  27. Notts62

    After several months of perpetuating a mysterious illness through the media and all of the Air Force, you are going to convince others associated with the aircraft, namely the mechanices, that they too are experiencing the symptoms. the Mind is a complicated thing, and there are plenty of examples of people believing they feel something that in all other respects isn't there. Until there is a logical and proven explanation for the pilot's problems, theories and rumors are going to have their affects on some subset of people near that mysterious illness carrier. How do you you disprove someone has hypoxia symptoms anyway?

    May 10, 2012 at 9:04 am | Reply
    • Bill

      Well put. I have worked with maintainers for many years while in the USAF and this is exactly what I was thinking. I worked in aerospace medicine for 10 years dealing with pilots and maintainers and I now for sure they are working on the problem with the best minds the USAF has. Just from my experience I know a few things its not caused by 1. paint. 2. hydrazine 3. carbon filters 4. fuel.

      May 10, 2012 at 9:18 am | Reply
    • clarity

      There are simple oxygen saturation devices that slip over a person's finger to accurately assess tissue oxygen content. This is the very first assessment I would make in all personnel operating within the cockpit of suspected aircraft. It's cheap-n-easy and 100% objective. It's science. As U.S. citizens, we should start using it more.

      May 10, 2012 at 9:50 am | Reply
      • Michellea

        The reason they're simple is that they don't really work.

        May 10, 2012 at 10:00 am |
  28. sickofit

    these war toys are making everyone sick. wait, the war profiteers are sick animals, all on their own.

    May 10, 2012 at 9:04 am | Reply
  29. ToxicBuild

    Clearly, China built these jets... and they contain toxic materials. GREAT WORK EVERYBODY.

    May 10, 2012 at 9:00 am | Reply
  30. Everett Wallace

    I do recommend for these maintainers should take a laxative, It will cure their illnesses. I love the F-22 fighters I feel nothing feeding from them. Things are in place to make sure my ANGELS! are comfortable.

    May 10, 2012 at 8:56 am | Reply
  31. Jamed Hannigan


    May 10, 2012 at 8:50 am | Reply
  32. bill

    with a national debt of 15 trillion, the price of this piece of junk is making me sick too.

    May 10, 2012 at 8:48 am | Reply
  33. ronbro51

    Hell bring the SR-71 back to life. We do not need an air to air combat fighter. If you want speed and quick imagery anywhere in the world the SR-71 is the key. Tighten up some of the mechanical problems and presto Mach3 60s aircraft that has never been shot down but has sure taken plenty of imagery to make a difference in the world.

    May 10, 2012 at 8:42 am | Reply
    • Tex71

      Satellites are faster, use no fuel, on task 24/7. There is a reason why the SR-71 (my personal favorite airplane EVER) was retired. Anyway, we most likely have way cooler stuff in deployment right now that nobody will know about for a couple of decades.

      May 10, 2012 at 8:51 am | Reply
      • ronbro51

        Agreed but they still use the TR 1 or U-2 aircraft because of the detail they are able to receive in the old school imagery to pick out footpaths in the mountains of Afghanistan. U-2s and other recon aircraft can also get in front of cloud cover which satellites cannot to capture imagery in a certain time constraint.

        May 10, 2012 at 9:10 am |
      • Cheese Wonton

        Satellites have no persistence, and are on relatively fixed orbits. They can make a pass over a target but they cannot hang around and provide a real time image of what is going on below. If something interesting is noted, you have to wait for the satellite to make another pass and by then whatever was interesting may be gone or hidden under a tarp. That is why aircraft remain so valuable for tactical recon.
        And don't be too certain the SR-71 doesn't have a flying replacement. Just saying ......

        May 10, 2012 at 10:26 am |
    • FauxNews

      The SR-71 was shot down by our Military because it worked.

      May 10, 2012 at 8:57 am | Reply
    • Rodeoguy

      Of the 32 SR-71 aircraft built, 12 were destroyed in accidents, and none lost to enemy action.

      May 10, 2012 at 9:10 am | Reply
    • TinKnight

      The SR-71 had many many problems, which resulted in a third of the fleet being lost in accidents.

      More importantly, it doesn't provide tactical nor real-time reconaissance, which is what is far more important today than high speed, and which is why the slower TR-1's are still in use while the SR-71's have been mothballed for many years.

      And, in case you hadn't noticed, the vast majority of aerial recon being performed today is conducted by UAV's, and the trend is to go smaller and more stealthy. There is not a single reason to choose an SR-71 over a strategic UAV such as a Dark Star, and even the Aurora project was scrapped because super high speed just isn't useful in reconaissance.

      Finally, there will always be a need for fast-movers that can be on-station quickly and deliver significant amounts of precision ordnance to ground and aerial targets. Right now, there's no air combat to speak of, but there's plenty of ground pounding, which the F-22 also handles quite nicely.

      May 10, 2012 at 9:53 am | Reply
      • Cheese Wonton

        The whole Global Hawk program was cancelled recently and the fleet of existing Global Hawks are being mothballed. It could never do all of the missions the U-2 can (the TR-1 designation was abandoned in the 1990's) and turned out to be more expensive to operate than the U-2 so the U-2 fleet will soldier on well into the late 2020's.

        May 10, 2012 at 10:29 am |
  34. rizzo

    Hum, maybe this is a sign that it's time to stop making things built specifically to kill other people.

    Naaahhhh, who am I kidding? We wouldn't be Americans if we didn't want to rape and pillage. We're gonna get those terrorists with our stealth aircraft!

    May 10, 2012 at 8:34 am | Reply
    • Ed

      It's kind of hard to rape and pillage while flying an airplane... This aircraft is designed to give pilots the ability to stop dictators who do rape and pillage while increasing the survivability of the pilots. Unfortunately the still have issues with it as all new aircraft have.

      May 10, 2012 at 9:02 am | Reply
    • TheZel

      While I do think we do too much policing in this world, if we don't, someone will. And no one doesn't more humanely than US.

      May 10, 2012 at 9:04 am | Reply
    • ManBearPig

      Troll much?

      May 10, 2012 at 9:12 am | Reply
  35. Retired Person

    probably already thought of this: Do a test flight with the pilot utilizing a seperate tank of air; same tanks divers use; system would be totally isolated fron the aircrafts ox system. A simple, but, effective temporary solution. Check with General Dynamics to see how the system is used in Nuclear Submarines. Right now checking out any possibility would be worth looking into.

    May 10, 2012 at 8:29 am | Reply
    • JonWNC

      Great ideas... but I'll bet everyone up the design/supply chain is preoccupied with covering their rears rather than actually fixing the problem. I deal with this a lot in my work, and it's very frustrating...

      May 10, 2012 at 9:14 am | Reply
    • Mike

      that's not gonna work at all. they need to just put in a LOX bottle like the f-15's. Proven technology. been around for years even the U-2's use LOX.

      May 10, 2012 at 9:51 am | Reply
      • Cheese Wonton

        I am beginning to think the problem isn't with the OBOGS system. Too many other combat jets, trainers and even some big transport aircraft use OBOGs and do not have this problem. OBOGS is not new, and pretty much every air force that uses LOX bottles wants to get rid of them. They are hideously dangerous (explosions and fires), and you have to drag LOX equipment everywhere you deploy.

        May 10, 2012 at 10:34 am |
    • Cheese Wonton

      Nuclear subs generate oxygen by separating hydrogen and oxygen from seawater. It has no application in aviation.

      May 10, 2012 at 11:04 am | Reply
  36. spaceman

    suspect its the on board bbq

    May 10, 2012 at 8:26 am | Reply
  37. spacedoc

    As a former military flight surgeon with 10 years regular USAF and 15 years with the National Guard who during the past decade had experienced his own problems with the statin class of drugs I would advise these guys to check if any of these Raptor victims are on statin drugs?.One of the major class of side effects of these drugs, which include Lipitor, Mevacor, Zocor, Crestor and Pravachol) are cognitive dysfunction mostly mild in the form of confusion, disorientation and forgetfulness but occasionally severe in the form of amnesia episodes and bouts of severe memory loss. I know it may seem like a wild card but a huge percentage of our flying population are taking these drugs (for their health and sure enough their cholesterols are plummeting but so is memory function which is critically dependant upon cholesterol levels.I have a long list of emails from flight crew members telling me of their statin associated cognitive problems because to tell their own flight surgeon might be professional suicide. A loadmaster reports he no longer trusts his figures.on his statin.. A dual rated flight surgeon reports that during TGIF beer blast they talked of inability to multi-task on Zocor. He stopped the drug and the problem went away. A glider pilot "woke up" in a strange cockpit lost .It is frightening to think of what would happen in a single pilot cockpit when suddenly amnesia strikes and the occupant has never been in that cockpit before. It has happened to me and trust me these things are terrible with not one second of warning. .Doc

    May 10, 2012 at 8:23 am | Reply
    • payrespect

      from a doc, I respect your opinion, as a doc, it is MORE than opinion, pay attention people!

      May 10, 2012 at 9:30 am | Reply
    • another doc

      Maybe all the men (were they all men?) were experiencing big boners and as a result, oxygen-containing blood insufficiently reached their other heads. Boys flying big toys tend to get turned on. Ditch the sildenafil, leave the statins.

      May 10, 2012 at 9:58 am | Reply
    • Cheese Wonton

      Doc, I am beginning to wonder if the problem might be optical. You have to be aware that dislexia can be cured by using glasses with lenses tinted a certain color, or by reading in light using light bulbs of a certain color. Non dislexic people can be made to suffer dislexia by having them read through glasses with lenses tinted certain colors as well. This is all well documented. I would be curious if the color of the low observable cockpit glass affects some humans and not others, producing symptoms that superficially look like oxygen starvation.
      The Eurofighter Typhoon uses OBOGS as does the F/A-18 apparently without the problems experienced in the F-22. What is the difference in these installations? I don't know the answer to that.

      May 10, 2012 at 10:41 am | Reply
  38. michaelfury

    "We analyzed this dust and found it to be activated carbon."

    Could be worse. Could be depleted uranium.

    May 10, 2012 at 8:10 am | Reply
  39. SayanIndia

    The above photograph of F-22 is an irony. Carrying an underwing drop (fuel) tank and thereby compromising stealth attributes.


    May 10, 2012 at 8:05 am | Reply
    • Howard

      They use them early in flight for extra fuel. They are dropped after use ...

      May 10, 2012 at 8:15 am | Reply
    • Bill

      The tanks are used for long distance travel only.

      May 10, 2012 at 8:18 am | Reply
    • Dos Ruedas

      These planes are based in squadrons often in the US, the most cost effecient way to move them to another theater is to provide them with extra fuel to make the trip. Rapid deployment......has nothing to do with stealth.

      May 10, 2012 at 8:18 am | Reply
    • SayanIndia

      @all, What about the pylon for carrying the tank? Hope USAF has perfected a jettison able pylon by now.Moreover at any day Air-to-Air Refuelling (AAR) is a better option.


      May 10, 2012 at 8:28 am | Reply
    • Ogre

      The tanks are indeed only used to "ferry" the aircraft long distances. They use them in combination with Air Refueling, because no single seat fighter carries enough fuel to divert to a landing base if they can't take fuel from the tanker... 1000 miles out over the Atlantic and you suddenly can't take any more gas... puts us in a bad situation. Once they land at their base, all external stores are removed for "Combat" missions. I have flown over 3000 flights with "Drop Tanks" and have never "Dropped" one of them...

      May 10, 2012 at 9:39 am | Reply
    • Cheese Wonton

      Your adversaries can't get any intel on your radar cross section clean when you clutter the airplane up. Think about it.

      May 10, 2012 at 10:09 am | Reply
  40. joe schmoe

    Maybe its the chemicals contained in the cleaners they use for the planes and it is getting directly sucked into the air intake system. TCE is a common cleaner used in the military (especially in desert like conditions) Hence why many US soldiers came back from Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan with nervous system, breathing and other issues. If they are using a TCE based cleaner around the air intake system this would bring the fumes directly into the cockpit. Look up "TCE Military" in google the first couple of non sponsored results talk about the health issues military has faced with this. It even caused the closing of one prominent military base.

    May 10, 2012 at 8:03 am | Reply
    • Howard

      Interesting point. I haven't seen that mentioned anywhere else, but I sure hope they are looking into it.

      May 10, 2012 at 8:16 am | Reply
  41. SayanIndia

    The “Stealth Paint” is reportedly to be highly toxic (at least was in the case of F-117 Nighthawk), do not know whether it applies to F-22A Raptor as well.


    May 10, 2012 at 7:33 am | Reply
  42. michaelfury

    May 10, 2012 at 7:29 am | Reply
  43. comrade

    US is goin drone act-shee-on!!! no where to hide beeeches!!

    May 10, 2012 at 7:25 am | Reply
  44. LookToChina


    May 10, 2012 at 6:30 am | Reply
    • Tony

      How come every time a Chinese woman comes on here they leave nonsense like this? China can't even make toys that don't poison you.
      EVERYTHING that has EVER been produced in China has been a rip-off from us or the Russians. When you learn how to build an aircraft carrier stop back by. The US is dealing with metals and components so much more advanced than anything you have stolen from us that something like this is understandable. Besides we have enough 15s and 18s to take out your entire air force with maybe 1 loss.
      Sighh Chinese women!

      May 10, 2012 at 6:53 am | Reply
      • j

        Not to mention the nonsensical writing that makes little sense. Yeah, they're advanced.

        May 10, 2012 at 8:08 am |
      • pgh

        I think the mechanics must have inadvertently used some Chinese drywall as a workaround patch to repair a hole in the cabin. Gotta love that Chinese drywall!

        May 10, 2012 at 8:44 am |
      • insults

        Tony, because you have a dick, you obviously are one?

        If you have an issue with what the pro-Chinese troll wrote, specifically comment on it. Don't use my gender as a way to try to insult someone and especially don't complain if I then do the same to you-dick.

        May 10, 2012 at 10:04 am |
      • Cheese Wonton

        It's some Chinese university student trolling the internet. Be nice to him or her, when he or she gets home they will be shunned by employers and their peers. Where once they were called "sea turtles" and sought out by employers, now the Chinese call them "seaweed" and shun them. Let him or her have their fun now. Life will be hard back home.

        May 10, 2012 at 10:43 am |
    • Jt_flyer

      The US military has more flight hours in fighter combat conditions, than China has in wearing coolie hats.

      May 10, 2012 at 7:29 am | Reply
    • J Sledge

      One J-20 Prototype is enough to eat up the F-22? What about 2 F-22? Or 3? You must mean eat one and run. Then come back for more?

      Whats in the soy sauce over there?

      May 10, 2012 at 7:45 am | Reply
    • SayanIndia

      @LookToChina, Believe me the J-20 strike-fighter will be one of the major headaches of Peoples Republic of China (PRC) for years (starting with the underpowered engines).

      Another major PRC headache will be their retrofitted aircraft carrier Shi Land (ex Varyag).

      Just relax and watch the shows.


      May 10, 2012 at 7:58 am | Reply
    • kamarasune

      How funny considering they don't have the aircraft carriers to get them anywhere lol

      May 10, 2012 at 8:21 am | Reply
    • china is full of fools

      Purity like a newborn child? The Chinese do not hold newborns in such high regard. How many do they kill or allow to die each year? Thousands upon thousands. And what about the pills made of human (mostly baby) flesh that was just in the news that were going to China? The Chinese are mostly an ignorant, brain-washed mass who believes anything their government tells them. I hope we never go to war with them, but if so the U.S. will have no choice but to lay waste to the vast majority of China.

      May 10, 2012 at 8:26 am | Reply
      • really?

        Actually, as long as people aren't peasant-class, the Chinese do a much better job of raising their only kids than we do. Their kids are nurtured and well educated, both boys and girls. In China, you will NEVER see a moronic bumper sticker reading "My kid just beat up your honor student". Many U.S. parents are absolute morons and most people have more kids than they can afford and take care of. I'm a U.S. citizen who has studied in China and I know what I'm talking about.

        May 10, 2012 at 10:09 am |
  45. ADAM4X4

    Congress needs to be on top of this, meeting with manufacturers and Air Force personnel. We lost a local hero in one of these planes. I'm no expert but some of the theories on here sound plausible to me. Big salute to the pilots who came forward on this.

    May 10, 2012 at 6:29 am | Reply
  46. spacedoc

    Check and see if any of the victims are taking statins. I have along list of emails from flight crew members reporting cognitive issues while taking statins, Drugs like Lipitor, Mevacor, Zocor Pravachol, Crestor,- those cholesterol busters so harmless they could be put in the drinking water. When then lower your cholesterol they also impair memory function in your brain. No cholesterol no memory Hell if you're a Raptor pilot or any other single engine fighter pilot out there with no one to cover your butt when your memory goes faulty. Even the ground crew can be ionvolved if they are on statins.. Check it out. I have been studing the cognitive side effects of statins for a long tiime time and they scare me.

    May 10, 2012 at 6:22 am | Reply
    • Santex

      http://www.neurology dot org/content/65/9/1388.short
      This study comes to the opposite conclusion.

      May 10, 2012 at 6:35 am | Reply
      • Fixer

        BAHAHAHA!!!! Once again, science trumps stupidity!

        May 10, 2012 at 8:34 am |
    • Ogre

      Doc, You of all people should know that statins are highly unlikely... although Fighter Pilots are not the poster children for human engineering, they are monitored very closely for health and can ONLY take Advil or Tylenol without specific permission from a Flight Surgeon.. if they take much else, they are removed from flying status until they stop taking the medication. While there are isolated cases of pilots taking prescription medication, I can say with CERTAINTY that 25 F-22 Pilots are NOT battling high cholesterol... or much else, while flying high performance fighters.

      May 10, 2012 at 9:47 am | Reply


    May 10, 2012 at 6:06 am | Reply
    • Juice

      Except for the whole, being built by Boeing thing.

      May 10, 2012 at 6:19 am | Reply
      • woo

        Boeing AND Lockheed Martin

        May 10, 2012 at 8:28 am |
      • JetGuy

        This aircraft is actually made by Lockheed Martin...Boeing lost the contract.

        May 10, 2012 at 8:39 am |
    • Beam me up

      lmao... watching way too many alien space invasion shows for your own good, bud

      May 10, 2012 at 6:29 am | Reply
      • Flatsguide

        My thoughts exactly. Inglorious needs to step away from the bong, move out of his parent's basement, and get a job at Wendy's for a dose of reality.

        May 10, 2012 at 6:54 am |
    • jason

      Yo should stop gives away your IQ...

      May 10, 2012 at 7:48 am | Reply
    • j

      Quit shouting in caps and just plain quit. You make no sense and show you're ignorance. Some of the posters have had really good suggestions. Your gibberish is trash.

      May 10, 2012 at 8:10 am | Reply
  48. whatever

    Maybe they should check the ac for legionaires. It is a bacteria the grows in filters. Would explain the mainteners getting sick.

    May 10, 2012 at 6:05 am | Reply
  49. R O

    I guess this means we'll be building a expensive new fighter jet to replace the f-22.

    May 10, 2012 at 5:52 am | Reply
    • Bill

      It's called a drone. The only reason the F-22 was built was because Locked martin need a new contract.

      May 10, 2012 at 8:22 am | Reply
    • WDS

      The F35.

      May 10, 2012 at 9:29 am | Reply
  50. Bubba Smith

    Did anyone ask the company that made it what the problem was? McDonnell Douglas could have done something and didn't realize the issue during manufacturing

    May 10, 2012 at 5:07 am | Reply
    • SnoopyBaron

      The military does not just take delivery of planes like you would a new car. The vendor provides support throughout the product life cycle and in many cases has employees working at locations where the planes are based.

      May 10, 2012 at 6:41 am | Reply
    • blankman

      McDonnell Douglas merged with Boeing back in the 1997 you do know, right? They really do not exist anymore from what I've seen.

      May 10, 2012 at 7:55 am | Reply
  51. Bob Ramos

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

    The Captain, one of the pilots here, received a Letter of Reprimand and was put into the process of being kicked out. Since the USAF acknowledges that this was illegal because of the Whistle Blower Act, why was this done in the first place? Who authorized it and why?

    May 10, 2012 at 4:31 am | Reply

      They are welcome in the land of down under and with better pay..

      May 10, 2012 at 6:07 am | Reply
    • Ogre

      Just to clarify, the pilots were being disciplined for refusing to fly the aircraft BEFORE they went on 60 minutes... there has been no retribution for the whistle blower actions... all that was already in motion, hence the decision to blow the whistle instead of going away quietly.

      May 10, 2012 at 9:52 am | Reply
  52. Brad

    It's so funny reading these comments. You've got people arguing about bats, Jesus, radar, sonar, etc. Bottom line is this: there are a few people on here who have no practical experience or study in any of these matters, but thanks to the combination of 1.) nothing to do all day but sit and read about things on the 2.) Internet, the comments section of this article is full of arm-chair subject matter experts.

    Way to go, guys!

    May 10, 2012 at 3:45 am | Reply
    • Giles Vertrund

      We should block Chinese IP addresses. Those jealous losers will fill up message boards with their ignorant comments because they are communists with no rights and they are bitter about it.


      May 10, 2012 at 4:06 am | Reply
      • Brad

        I don't know about all that communism stuff, I was more talking about the people in the comments section of this article debating things that simply do not matter while simultaneously trying to bolster their "e-credibility."

        May 10, 2012 at 4:33 am |
    • opinionguru

      ...well said, and true!

      May 10, 2012 at 7:04 am | Reply
    • Bill

      Well I do have some experience in the field of aerospace medicine. The problem and it was known when the plane was is in development is that the pilots can not tolerate the abilities of the plane. With the ability of the its extreme high ceiling and excessive easy of pulling high g maneuvers cause greater stress on the pilots which cause excessive amounts of hypoxia. Without a development of a newer type of life support system to supplement these conditions the pilots don't have a chance. This is why the plane will never be used in a combat situation. If the pilot pushes the plane to its limit the pilot will surly pass out and end up losing control of the plane.

      May 10, 2012 at 8:29 am | Reply
      • Fixer

        Mr. Expert, did you even read the article? So can I assume that the plane sits on the ground too fast for the maintenance crew to breathe? Or is it those stationary high-g maneuvers that they can't take?

        May 10, 2012 at 8:40 am |
      • Bill

        Yes I did! The maintainers not wearing a mask near the plane during run up will cause them to get sick. DUH! The pilots are of getting hypoxia while in flight is the problem. There can be only two reasons why these pilots are experiencing these problems. 1. Excessive stress on the pilot. 2. Poor gases mixture from the internal o2 system. So with this where do you think the problem might be. I saw one post with the design of the air intake system for the engines which could be a major design flaw with jet. Other then that explanation I would still go with my theory.

        May 10, 2012 at 9:08 am |
  53. Herby Sagues

    My bet is on the paint. The stealth paint uses nano-particles, and there must be some wearing that removes tiny portions of it. Those cause some allergic reaction in the throat and lungs.
    It is just a guess, but I would bet money on it.

    May 10, 2012 at 3:03 am | Reply
    • Bill

      I never seen a patient the whole time I was with the unit with reactions to the paint when I was with the 117's.

      May 10, 2012 at 8:32 am | Reply
  54. tdsd

    made in china.

    May 10, 2012 at 2:01 am | Reply
  55. C

    Remember a show that talked about the dangerous chemicals used to make stealth fighters, and how ill the builders were. Maybe there is something in the material causing an allergic reaction? That would do it for anybody close to the plane.

    May 10, 2012 at 1:41 am | Reply
    • jason

      You are referring to workers at Area 51 that 60 minutes featured years ago. They got sick from fumes coming from the fire pits where exotic materials were being burned in the open air. My guess here is some type of "outgassing" is occurring and they are getting symptoms from breathing whatever is being outgassed. We see this in a newly painted room where fumes are given off for a few weeks and some people react to it, some get faint (mimics hypoxia???) and others react differently. Better yet, ever smell a new car??? A new cars interior air will not pass the EPA standards for air quality for some time because of outgassing. Also, new carpeting in a home......sometimes smells like formaldehyde. Would have previously suspected the O2 but not now that ground maintainers are also getting sick. Their getting sick while doing engine checks from the cockpit while on the ground and while NOT wearing masks, limits it to two things: 1) outgassing/contamination of some sorts or 2) CO2 or other engine related gases intruding into the cockpit or O2 system.......

      May 10, 2012 at 8:03 am | Reply
  56. vinnieG

    The F-16 in the ealy days of its deployment suffered a numerous unexplained lost of control and crashes. I forgot the number but may be a couple pilots died. The F-16 was a state of the art fly-by-wire control system. Actually there was a TV movie made based on the story of the widow of one of the pilot who died. Initially the Air Force blamed the crashes on pilot error. The widow did not believe the story and sued the Air Force in civilian court. I think they traced the problem to a short circuit in the wiring. One or two wires in the harness rubbed some metal and eventually the wire was bare and causing the shorts in the engine CPU. And as we know the F-16 is one heck of a fighter jet and I think for a lot less money.

    May 10, 2012 at 1:30 am | Reply
    • BurstBubble

      I remember that movie. I remember the movie mentioning chaffing of the wiring which caused the instrumentation to fail. Was that just the drama of the movie??? In the movie they mentioned the problem was something about false readings on the heads display/ instruments. I'm not sure if that was truly the problem ......

      May 10, 2012 at 3:48 am | Reply
      • snottykid

        The movie was called "Afterburn". It is available on DVD.

        May 10, 2012 at 4:48 am |
      • Tony

        I am an F-16 maintainer and the problem was chaffing and the fact that a wiring bundle that sent a single to the Heads Up Display (HUD) had short circuited. It sent gave the pilot of the crash the wrong information about his position and he ended up flying directly into the ground. General Dynamics (now owned by Lockheed Martin) tried to cover up the flaw in the aircraft and had actually sent out a training video to maintainers to help identify chaffing, but never took the steps needed to fix the problem.

        May 10, 2012 at 4:53 am |
  57. mikeyg

    the us should drop the f22 and creat a drone stealth fighter

    May 10, 2012 at 1:23 am | Reply
  58. XSpad driver

    Stories of the O2 problem with the F22 reminds me of the time my O2 locked up on me at FL410 in an A-4 back in 1968. I was going from NAS Pensacola to NAS Oceana and just as I passed ATL and reached to turn the outbound radial in my TACAN, I suddenly couldn't breathe in. When I exhaled, the mask drew tighter against my face and I couldn't get my quick release latches to release. I had a hard time trying to warn ATC of my plight (try talking when you can't breathe) but I rolled over into a dive and with the stick between my legs, used both hands to finally free the mask from my face. I was surprised at how quickly tunnel vision closed in, and noticed my Mach meter going thru 1.0 headed for downtown ATL! With my vision gone, I pulled back on the stick hoping my wings were still level. Must have been, because as I gained my vision back, saw the nose above the horizon. All the while this was going on I heard a paniced ATC vectoring dozens of airliners out of my way. I zoom climbed back above 10K and cautiously put my O2 mask back on, and it now worked. I went on to Oceana, wrote up the incident in the yellow book. Mechs could not find a thing wrong. (Would you believe "could not duplicate on ground"... but you saw that coming, didn't you?) Many more hours in the A-1 and never an incident like this, however the SPAD used bottled O2, whereas the A-4 used LOX, but the same Diluter-Demand system.

    May 10, 2012 at 1:19 am | Reply
    • Kevininvancouver

      Wow back in 68' – I didn't know that they flew jets back then.

      May 10, 2012 at 1:35 am | Reply
      • Study People

        Hmmmmm... What are the chances I'm speaking to a troll.... O what the heck. Jets were flown by the German's back in WW2, 1944. The ME-262 A was rather impressive for the time.

        May 10, 2012 at 1:47 am |
    • ATC

      A 799

      What was that VIDS/MAF failure code for "Failed Acoustic Coin Check," again?

      Mach 1 in a Skyhawk's VFC-6 stuff.

      May 10, 2012 at 1:45 am | Reply
    • R O

      "Pull up Stryker, you're coming in too low!"

      May 10, 2012 at 5:50 am | Reply
  59. iham

    Is it too late to switch to the f-23?
    what a bunch of nonsense.
    We need to stop designing planes and other devices that are already near the end of their high-tech status when actually being rolled out.
    We're still flying antique planes (not just talking military) as our cutting age stuff.
    That's just ridiculous.

    May 10, 2012 at 12:57 am | Reply
    • MrAnderson

      Uhhhh, you haven't heard? The F-23 with the swept wing has an electrical system that only malfunctions when the wings go as long as you don't fly it as a swept wing for speed, it's all peachy fine. Slower is safer, eh?

      May 10, 2012 at 1:12 am | Reply
      • Norcrafter

        I guess YOU haven't heard, MrAnderson. The F-23 doesn't have a swinging wing.

        May 10, 2012 at 3:25 am |
      • MrAnderson

        The one in the publicity photos doesn't have a swept wing, just the trapezoidal wings. But the one they're honing for combat is described as having a "highly swept inboard wing section...produced substantial vortex lift at supersonic speeds". THAT F-23.

        May 10, 2012 at 8:42 am |
  60. Bill744

    As an engineer on the F-16 program, I learned that the aircraft uses hydrazine to run the auxiliary power unit. Hydrazine is an extremely toxic volatile liquid that can cause apoxia (a severe hypoxia). The stuff can dissolve human hair.

    If a small amount of hydrazine vapor is vented to the cockpit, it would be a real nasty.

    Anybody know if it is used in the F-22's APU?

    Anyway, it seems that the whole oxygen system is a red herring and they need to be looking for leaks of toxins into the cockpit.

    May 10, 2012 at 12:49 am | Reply
    • sho nuf

      Yes, I think it's used in the F-22, but the technology has been enhanced so the vapor is rendered to a liquid and eventually a super-solid with new principles that were pretty surprising. But instead of that transformation causing trouble, it was found that the hydrazine (now in the form of hydraxite) could be used as a superconducting filiment for the afterburner lockup, sort of like a fuse but rendered like a paint chip. So our question is, what could cause a hydraxite chip to regress to hydrazine vapor? I'm sure the experts are asking that question. And why could the vapor change enough to pass through the carbonite calcium, residue or not?

      May 10, 2012 at 12:59 am | Reply
      • TwoFer

        That's precisely what Exniar got in trouble for...the return of the gas in the eismosis process but in a de-oxigenated form. They know at what point the oxygen was removed buut they couldn't find a way to restore it at high altitude or when entering the atmosphere too fast. I'm almost sure Chaney is on the Exniar Board...blame this on Bush. If this doesn't come around, we're back to the f-16s with their crude airknot-release system. Bet the D-rings in those things are old and unreliable. We need a new jet.

        May 10, 2012 at 1:05 am |
    • glennrobert

      Good point! Meanwhile manned fighter bombers are obsolete.

      May 10, 2012 at 2:24 am | Reply
    • jk

      Wow... For once, I am getting such an education from reading these comments...I can't say I understand it all but have learned things I never knew. Unusual for comments to a story. Now if the Air Force would just compile these comments to a list as possible suggestions and work through them they might even find the solution – you never know!

      May 10, 2012 at 8:18 am | Reply
      • WorkingInVA

        um... sho nuf & TwoFer are BS'ers.

        May 10, 2012 at 9:40 am |
      • ummmmm MrAnderson Petri NmbrOne Strike Trooop fealty_radio Veteran Flyboy

        you are correct, Mr VA, as are a handful of other "technical" posts on this're the only one to blow a whistle on amuses me that people are so easily taken in with something that sounds win the Where's Waldo prize for today 🙂

        May 10, 2012 at 10:54 am |
      • ummmmm MrAnderson Petri NmbrOne Strike Trooop fealty_radio Veteran Flyboy

        I singlehandedly put Exniar Aviation into Google...let's see 60 Minutes find anything out about them! And "anecia" and some other garbage. I obviously have too much time on my hands if I'm messing with people on a blog. Back to real life.

        May 10, 2012 at 10:59 am |
  61. Brian

    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."

    He could answer but the answer is classified because of exotic materials and chemicals used in the plane.

    May 10, 2012 at 12:48 am | Reply
  62. Jdg

    They need 2 pieces of cardboard, a sock and some duck tape, helped on Apollo 13.

    May 10, 2012 at 12:38 am | Reply
  63. blessedgeek

    Electromagnetically generated OZONE. Duh.

    In early days, when newspaper printers were hefty with lots of electromagnetic parts, the generated ozone caused dizziness to the operators.

    May 10, 2012 at 12:28 am | Reply
  64. JackWagon

    This plane is making me sick and I've never been close to one. It's making me sick because my tax money is going into paying for something that is a waste of money and evidentally engineered by dumb arses.

    May 10, 2012 at 12:27 am | Reply
  65. Limbaugh is a liberal

    Wouldn't you like to be a military contractor? It's the best job. You get guaranteed government money, and, because you are a private corporation, no hard regulations or oversight.
    If you are behind schedule, you are awarded more money.
    If you are over budget, you are awarded more money.
    If you screw up the design, you are awarded more money.

    In any other job, if you are miss deadlines, spend too much, or screw up, you are fired. But being a military contractor means you get all the money you ask for, with no oversight...

    I wonder how much money we could save if instead of outsourcing all military expenditure to these private companies, we could hold people accountable by actually having laws and oversight.
    Hey, that's the argument behind NCLB too: accountability! Why are military contractors the only ones whose accountability translates to: you screw up, and we give you unlimited money still!

    May 10, 2012 at 12:22 am | Reply
    • Jerry

      I don't know, that description sounds suspiciously like it describes any union employee, especially if that union is the UAW.........

      Right To Work; it should be in the Constitution!

      May 10, 2012 at 12:42 am | Reply
      • glennrobert

        We have "right to work" The jobs are in Asia!

        May 10, 2012 at 2:28 am |
      • Ogre

        AMEN!! Welfare to illegals, Tax refunds to those who don't pay taxes, Teacher Tenure.... It's all government money with no actual requirement to earn it. At least the defense contractors ACTUALLY provide something... even if it is a big hairy piece of shnizzle...

        May 10, 2012 at 10:00 am |
    • Duramax

      Sir, I am a defense contractor and there is a considerable amount of oversight. They scrutinize me and everyone on my team with a microscope. You have no Earthly idea what kind of oversight and scrutiny contractors are subjected to.

      May 10, 2012 at 4:10 am | Reply
      • ronbro51

        But paid well enough to compensate for your scrutinizing headaches.

        May 10, 2012 at 8:43 am |
    • Ogre

      Hmmm, that sounds alot like: Welfare... Tax Code for those who don't pay taxes, Teacher Tenure, Union thuggery, High level government service, Senators, Lobbyists, Congressmen... ACORN, Planned Parenthood... just to name a few.

      And what products have the above produced since WWII that have made the US safe for the past 70 Years?

      I know a few contractors who have. Do you know who decided to keep the F-22 going? Hint: It wasn't the contractor, it was your elected House of Representatives because the Union would lose too many jobs if they cut it.

      Really need to get some facts before you spout nonsense.

      May 10, 2012 at 10:06 am | Reply
  66. brokenteeth

    Why not just have robots fly them?

    May 10, 2012 at 12:20 am | Reply
    • Bob

      By your command.

      May 10, 2012 at 12:32 am | Reply
      • T

        LOL !!!!!

        May 10, 2012 at 8:56 am |
  67. Jon

    To me it seems someone might have released something in the air to catch those that have air superiority. Hope it doesn't spread.

    May 10, 2012 at 12:17 am | Reply
  68. agadvice

    In other news, the Air Force says its reductions in food costs by serving baked-beans, cabbage rolls, and beer to all pilots and ground crew has saved the government millions.

    May 10, 2012 at 12:06 am | Reply
    • JF

      Two thumbs up for this one! Made me laugh. Clever!

      May 10, 2012 at 12:23 am | Reply
  69. SafetySteve

    Returning to the symptoms – Carbon monoxide could be the culprit, but CO2 saturation or hypervention syndrom could result in similar symptoms as hypoxia. If the systems supply O2 and not Class D air then activated carbon should NOT be used ANYWHERE in the system.

    May 9, 2012 at 11:28 pm | Reply
    • Petri

      You're right. Carbonic ions enter the bloodstream at an alarming rate when hypervention is occurring, but HYPOvention isn't any better. That causes anercia, as mentioned below. One way or the other, they'd be better off to avoid carbon entirely in favor of one of the synthetic comboids as their base. Too bad Exniar is out of the business. They used to be leaders in the synthetics...not sure who is now.

      May 9, 2012 at 11:42 pm | Reply
    • NmbrOne

      Holy cpap! Just found Exniar on BING. Why hasn't 60 Minutes done an expose on them???

      May 9, 2012 at 11:45 pm | Reply
  70. aj

    I'm sure it has nothing to do with Depleted Uranium. I would check them for radiation/heavy metal poisoning ASAP.

    May 9, 2012 at 11:26 pm | Reply
    • Frangible

      I don't know, uranium is pretty difficult to detect.

      If only there were giant machines that could detect the most microscopic amounts of radioactive material. Perhaps by using crystals, a photomultiplier tube, and a high voltage power supply.

      Seriously how do some people pass science class in grade school? Radioactive materials have to be the easiest thing to detect on earth. Why do you think they have radioactive tracers?

      May 9, 2012 at 11:59 pm | Reply
      • Awesome

        OP just got owned...

        May 10, 2012 at 12:13 am |
    • Bill Duke

      More like depleted brain cells in aj's post.

      May 10, 2012 at 12:33 am | Reply
      • Jerry

        It's the ganja, man!

        May 10, 2012 at 12:44 am |
  71. OrionStyles

    It really is time to get the robots to do the painting, and do it precisely.

    If I were to offer my conjecture... it's probably paint application combined with hot parts.

    They're reduced hours of maintenance/flight ratios from 30-1 to 10.5/1....
    I dunno, let the paint dry longer after it is re-applied and tell the pentagon their maintenance ratios take a back seat when it comes to pilot safety.

    May 9, 2012 at 11:22 pm | Reply
    • 23idontknow

      I don't know who you are but you are exactly correct

      May 10, 2012 at 12:20 am | Reply
    • C J

      A very common problem. Especially since most squadron CO's think that planes are painted for looks not corrision control.

      May 10, 2012 at 2:23 am | Reply
  72. That Guy

    Somebody has to empty the honey bucket sometime !

    May 9, 2012 at 11:19 pm | Reply
  73. VoiceOfReason

    Heck... I've never even *seen* one and they make me sick!

    May 9, 2012 at 11:17 pm | Reply
  74. Strike Trooop

    There is concern that anercia is more the culprit than hypoxia, which is likely if the carbon residue is inert at the time of take-off and varies by even 10% when preparing for landing. Exniar Aviation has faced this before (with their masks) but the federal oversight people buried it in "national security" red tape. There needs to be a federal liaison between the support industries and the government contractors. Until that is done, we are likely to have such fiascos again!

    May 9, 2012 at 10:53 pm | Reply
    • fealty_radio

      what the he!! exniar came clean in 2009 and no longer has an iron in that fire they are strictly into breathing aparati for spelunkers maybe you been shy a few oxygen molecules on re-entry yourself okay, arguably exniar still makes the carbonite calcium that the other companies use but their plant in south africa is under scrutiny constantly so get a clue

      May 9, 2012 at 11:13 pm | Reply
      • Veteran Flyboy

        Exniar isn't out of the woods yet. Their experimental equip is still tested by the same people who built the F-22. Amazing what 500 million will buy you in Washington...even if they lost the federal case in '09. The F-22 pilots are the only ones who can bring this home. They need to spill their guts or this won't get fixed. We're going to watch for a loooong resolution for this one.

        May 9, 2012 at 11:19 pm |
    • Lazy Ace

      Why has this not happened with the oxygen/air supply of any other fighter aircraft?

      Considering that these systems were in place during world war two, all of this life support tech should be cut and dried by this time.

      May 9, 2012 at 11:43 pm | Reply
  75. jon stewart

    Those are some big fans on top of the planes (hanging from the roof of the hangar). They should probably turn them on and get some ventilation.

    May 9, 2012 at 10:52 pm | Reply
    • Andrew

      haha. I'm a "maintainer" in the guard. We have those fans and they are made by Big Ass Fans. Just google it and you'll find them.

      May 9, 2012 at 11:17 pm | Reply
    • Cheese Wonton

      The company that makes them is called BigAss Fans. It's an American firm.

      May 9, 2012 at 11:22 pm | Reply
  76. Frenchy

    Thank pic is my old hangar in South Korea!!!!

    May 9, 2012 at 10:39 pm | Reply
  77. Frangible

    The ground crew for the F-117 were nicknamed "martians" because of the hazmat suits they had to wear. And the paint etc was so toxic they would find dead bats in the hangars.

    Not saying we shouldn't use stealth technology, but clearly the spray-on exotic ubercoatings have precedent for requiring specialized handling and precautions.

    May 9, 2012 at 10:37 pm | Reply
    • David

      Frangible – NOT TRUE. I was part of the 4450th Tac Group that became the 37 Tac Fighter Wing back in the day and they were called Martians because they worked for the MARS shop.

      May 9, 2012 at 10:47 pm | Reply
      • Frangible

        Well, it would appear the 12AF at least suited up.

        www mil /shared/media/photodb/photos/031209-F-0000C-001. jpg

        Actually I couldn't find any pictures of anyone doing maintenance on a F-117 not suited up, not many pictures of it. The era before cell phone cameras...

        May 9, 2012 at 11:28 pm |
    • David

      Also – I was part of the ground crew, we did NOT wear Hazmat suits.

      May 9, 2012 at 10:48 pm | Reply
    • Engineer

      Actually the bats died because the stealth shape of the aircraft deflects waves away from the source. In this case the bats echo location failed and they literally couldn't see the aircraft and flew into it in the hangar. Somebody stop the Military acquisition fiasco!

      May 9, 2012 at 10:57 pm | Reply
      • Frangible

        A bat's sonar uses ultrasound, or vibrations through matter. Radar is long-wave electromagnetic energy, existing simultaneously as a photon particle and wave. Ultrasound can discriminate changes in density much more accurately than radar and something that reflects electromagnetic radiation will not prevent ultrasound from propagating back to its source.

        tl;dr: bats don't use radar

        May 9, 2012 at 11:35 pm |
    • David

      Reading the caption you will notice they are "painting" the jet. The very same suit is worn at your local body shop. Believe me. We didn't wear hazmat suits to do maintenance. Please do not add misinformation to the discussion.

      May 10, 2012 at 9:55 am | Reply
  78. jake

    Hey, these guys fly the coolest jets in the world and they are whining because they feel dizzy. Get real. most MEN would give anything to be in their position and suck it up. I had to be a grunt because of eye sight.

    May 9, 2012 at 10:31 pm | Reply
    • conexes

      and likely your lack of intelligence:3

      May 9, 2012 at 10:40 pm | Reply
      • day

        LOL that reply made my day

        May 9, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
      • Joe

        Yeah I bet those video games and flight simulators made you real smart.

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

      You obviously know nothing about aviation in the military. I was an engine mechanic and a Quality Assurance representative on the USMC Harrier. You seriously need to stop and think about what you are going to say the next time you get excited like that. There are many jobs you can do in the military besides infantry if you have poor eyesight. You were probably lied to by your recruiter because you were the last person he needed to recruit for that month in order to get some time off. You being told you have to be infantry is likely because of your poor intelligence also.

      May 9, 2012 at 11:54 pm | Reply
    • tim

      Oh and you dont have a clue what kind of stress these MEN go through. I bet if you had actually deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan in 2003 or 2004 and you were pinned down in a firefight and you heard a jet fly over knowing it was about to do a gun run or drop a bomb on your enemy and possibly save your life or your buddies you would have alot more respect for the MEN and women that fly them.

      May 10, 2012 at 12:02 am | Reply
    • ronbro51

      Eyesight had something to do with placing you in infantry instead of flying our aircraft? I was a USAF recruiter for many years and would hear the same lame excuse some of these kids would give when explaining why they joined the infantry. First of all they were HS grads and lacked a college degree to even qualify to be an officer. They also did not even qualify on the ASVAB test to land an enlisted job in the USAF. Sounds like Jake could be one of these einsteins.

      May 10, 2012 at 8:50 am | Reply
    • Ogre

      Ask the widow and orphans of the F-22 Pilot in Alaska who died from being "Dizzy" if he was a "Real Man"... you are just lucky it crashed in an isolated area... if it goes down in a city, the outcry will be deafening.

      May 10, 2012 at 10:13 am | Reply
    • DEmonocrat

      Ever had hypozia? Ever gotten tunnel visions and started to black out? Sucks when you're ont he ground and suddenly you get dizzy and have to sit, you don't know where you are or what is happening. You can can't think. It's sucks. If you don't sit, you fall.

      NOW, try experiencing that travelling Mach2 at 50,000 feet with an enemy fighter on your tail. Thanks, but no thanks. This isn't like getting dizzy when you may fall down and skin your knee. You get dizzy in a fighter jet, you fall a lot longer, a lot slower and you die. Chances are you wouldn't even be able to eject if you are passing out from lack of oxygen. This isn't whiny pilots, this is a major issue that could compromise operational security at a critical moment, not just for the pilot, but for those of us they are trying to protect.

      If you've ever seen the Raptor in action it is an impressive beast! If we're going to spend money on defense, this is the place to do it. Our biggest asset is our air superiority and we need to keep it. For those that say go drones, it's cheaper, I'm sorry but it's not just our technology that makes us great, it's our pilots. Drones are fine for air to ground missions, but air to gotta feel it!

      May 10, 2012 at 10:37 am | Reply
  79. Tapash

    Just take a Mass spec and find out if any other chemical compound is present when the engine is running & do a air quality test. It can detect most common contaminants. Have an O2 sensor & a water vapor sensor in the cockpit. This way you can correlate things and find out what is wrong... I thought there are big chemists & engineers in the USAF.. if not hire me!

    May 9, 2012 at 10:30 pm | Reply
    • Dave

      Their rocket scientists probably haven't thought of doing that...

      May 9, 2012 at 11:18 pm | Reply
    • DrJamesWilliamson

      Totally sensible idea.

      May 9, 2012 at 11:19 pm | Reply
    • Frangible

      According to the Navy, two of the hazardous materials in the F-117 (perhaps similar) are Graphite-PEEK and glass epoxy. Would levels of those that cause low-grade symptoms be statistically significant over background residue?

      May 9, 2012 at 11:43 pm | Reply
      • Lazy Ace

        Long wave is just above the AM broadcast band.

        Radar is way up in the T band, and sometimes higher.

        Bats use sound waves, not radio frequency energy. (You knew what bats use didn't you?)

        The effect is the same though.

        Let a bat toss a sound wave at a stealth airplane, and it won't bounce back either.

        May 9, 2012 at 11:57 pm |
      • Frangible

        "Long wave" is a relative term, not a frequency band. As in "long wave infrared". You should read my post more closely, I say quite explicitly bats use ultrasound. No plane is invisible to ultrasound, period. And they don't have to be, because it's short range. Also, bats can also see quite well, at least as well as humans, and randomly slamming into something is likely to be a non-fatal injury. The entire story is implausible, unscientific, and has no evidence.

        May 10, 2012 at 12:06 am |
      • Jerry

        Actually, for purposes of this discussion you can divide bats into two groups: the ones that CAN see fairly well, (Flying Foxes and the like,) and the ones that CAN BARELY SEE beyond their own noses. I assure you that the latter represent the vast majority of bat species in this world and this is especially so in North America.

        May 10, 2012 at 12:57 am |
      • Frangible


        www. sciencedirect. com /science/article/pii/000334726990150X

        Though the fruit bats also have a tapetum lucidum. (ie, superior scotopic vision)

        May 10, 2012 at 1:20 am |
  80. Tsgt Smako

    There wasn't any such problem with the YF-23, NASA took the two prototypes and never had a complaint. Unlike the YF-22, which was cheaper, but was modified to have a larger wingspan, improved avionics and improved weapons deployment equipment so it could be like the YF-23. The 23 even super cruised at a lower throttle position than the 22, which is now more expensive than the 23.

    May 9, 2012 at 10:28 pm | Reply
    • justsayin

      belch....with no pulse ox deficit, other neurological conditions must be considered including those triggered by vision sensitivities. You seem so smart, you must be an aero engineer, right?

      May 9, 2012 at 10:46 pm | Reply
    • Cheese Wonton

      The F-23 is sitting at a museum at Wright Patterson AFB. It never deployed operationally so no once can say if similar problems would have manifest themselves in an operational F-23.

      Quite a few other aircraft, from tactical jets like the Eurofighter Typhoon to the C-130J and some military trainers use the OBOGS system. Liquid oxygen (LOX) bottles were always so dangerous that every air force that used them wanted to find a better way. That no other OBOGS user has these problems always bothered me. It's a real puzzle.

      May 9, 2012 at 11:17 pm | Reply
      • Chris

        The C-130J uses LOX, not OBOGS.

        May 9, 2012 at 11:41 pm |
      • Cheese Wonton

        Maybe in USAF service they still use LOX bottles but not abroad. Hercs are flying with OBOGS right now.

        May 9, 2012 at 11:49 pm |
      • Chris

        None of the USAF aircraft have OBOGS...and I'm not aware of any others that have it. Maybe the UK or Italy because they do their own training, but I have yet to hear anyone else with a different system.

        May 9, 2012 at 11:54 pm |
      • Mouth41

        Lots of other aircraft use OBOGS systems, and many have experienced issues with it. However the concentration of hypoxic events hasn't been as high as the raptor has been experiencing lately. All variants of the F-18 have also experienced OBOGS issues and that has not been completely resolved despite being around since the 80's.

        May 10, 2012 at 12:15 am |
  81. justsayin

    Maybe you should consider what happens to light coming through the canopy.

    May 9, 2012 at 10:15 pm | Reply
    • Tsgt Smako

      Maybe you should cash in the cans from the six pack you are drinking and buy a clue.

      May 9, 2012 at 10:29 pm | Reply
    • Lazy Ace

      Just stay below 5000 feet and crack a window.

      May 10, 2012 at 12:06 am | Reply
  82. TSW10

    Man, this hurts. My favorite jet ever. How many do we have, and how many people are getting sick? Maybe we can't blame the jet?

    May 9, 2012 at 10:11 pm | Reply
    • Lazy Ace

      I have the answer.

      Turn it into a drone and fly it from the ground.

      May 10, 2012 at 12:08 am | Reply
  83. wavejump1100

    just a lack of oxygen but no carbon monoxide? it would seem that somehow the engines are sucking the oxygen out of the cockpit rather than exhaust getting in. perhaps it has something to do with the radar absorbent coating. i think if these pilots were in actual combat with a competent adversary they would prefer the raptor to any other plane.

    May 9, 2012 at 9:58 pm | Reply
    • zoonib

      Chances are the contractors know what is causing the problem but the cost to fix it would be extremely large. Some of the theories are probably subterfuge. Possibilities are using new materials that leak contaminates or a poorly designed airframe that doesn't isolate the cockpit.

      May 9, 2012 at 10:14 pm | Reply
    • tim

      That sounds like a good explanation. But the pilots were feeling dizzy in flight and the oxygen system has been tested good right? The pilots will have their masks on in flight getting oxygen directly from their mask. Also with the engine at idle while doing ground runs I dont think it will be pulling all the oxygen from the cockpit.

      May 10, 2012 at 12:15 am | Reply
      • jason

        Aero and Mechanical Engineer here. Here are my 4 thoughts in decreasing order of probability. Guess #1 is the same as most are reporting here, #2 mentioned less by others but highly probable, and #3 and #4 both drop off a LOT MORE on the "believability scale" but, what the heck, I wouldn't be a good engineer unless I also explored the more remote possibilities.....

        1. Poor air quality due to contaminants: The ground maintainers getting sick throws some light on it. Depending on tests being run, they may have the cockpit closed and the A/C unit running.... and something may be back-feeding into the air supply. Pilots however, may be getting contaminants when they do use the O2 system. Either way, take air samples, analyze them and you'll determine if this is the problem area..

        2. O2 system malfunctioning under certain flight conditions. Put recorder on O2 flow characteristics and bump this up against flight/engine conditions at time "lack of O2" is being reported.

        #3 and # 4 are much, much lower on the probability list however, like I said, need to explore the more remote possibilities too....

        3. Claustrophobia induced by poor cockpit design (cramped cockpit): This could result in claustrophobic type symptoms with accompanied labored breathing which is then being reported as lack of O2. I don't know the size of the F-22 cockpit so it may be larger than other cockpits so this may not apply. Also, probably not likely given trained pilots who are used to small areas in fighter jets. Also, one would first have to know the percent of F-22 pilots reporting lack of O2, then compare this to the percent of the general population that are claustrophobic but again, this is still a remote possibility.

        4. Increased O2 usage due to overly-restrictive cockpit: this is NOT claustrophobia but rather, increased O2 usage due to poor cockpit design which requires movement of larger muscle masses (and therefore greater O2 usage) than is required for the same movement in a less confining area. I only throw this one in because the ground maintainers are getting sick too and what does a ground maintainer, at seal level, NOT on O2 have in common with a pilot, at altitude, who IS on O2? They both sit in the same confining cockpit... Anyway, it might also be instructive to see what the pilot workload is at the exact moment they report lack of O2 or, is this a continual thing (lack of O2 even under low workloads) which then points to #1 or #2, above, as the problem area.

        As with anything, an analogy helps on #4: did you ever work on a car in one of those one-piece auto mechanic suits that was a bit too short and/or tight in the chest area? I did and I can tell you that EVERY movement you make taxes other muscles in your body that you would not normally use to make that same movement not in a suit. This in turn causes you to breathe more heavily and use more O2 to make movements. After moving around for a bit, you feel "fatigued" in all your muscles because of the tight fitting suit. In this case, may be a tight cockpit. Even if you're not moving, if the suit or area you are in is overly restricting in the chest area (as was my mechanic suit) breathing is more labored. As a result, you are much more fatigued than you would be if you had NOT worn a suit and had NOT worked in a confining area. You also feel more "winded" and, while not lacking O2, sometimes it feels as though you can't get enough O2 for a few minutes. Again, this one is a stretch because trained pilots routinely work in cramped cockpits for a living, but, thought I'd throw it out anyway.

        May 10, 2012 at 10:18 am |
    • steven

      You are correct when you joked that the engines were sucking the O2 out of the cockpit. The AF uses trubofans in the A-10 but locates them to the rear of the aircraft. This is the first fighter where turbofans – in this case afterburning – were moved foreward so that the intakes were parallel with the cockpit. The turbofan motor uses much more air to operate than a ramjet or other motor and these turbofans create 35,000 lbs thrust, more than any other turbofan. The motors are forcibly sucking O2 from both sides and the front of the cockpit. Also the oxygen bottles are mixed with outside air, not pure O2. So the outside air – which is used to mix with the bottled oxygen – is also insufficient.

      May 10, 2012 at 12:16 am | Reply
  84. Skeptic

    I bet it's the radar evading paint that's causing the illness. Like asbestos, it takes time to find out.

    May 9, 2012 at 9:57 pm | Reply
  85. Oodoodanoo

    The F-22 and F-35 are kicking butt in fantasy simulations, while in the real world, they're always up on blocks getting fixed.

    Meanwhile, the lowly A-10 has been fighting the battles we actually have, since Vietnam and continuing today in Afghanistan.

    But the generals want to cancel the A-10, because it's 1) Too low-tech, 2) Too cheap, and 3) Not glamorous enough. Furthermore, no general who supports the A-10 is going to get a cushy job with Lockheed Martin when they retire.

    May 9, 2012 at 9:56 pm | Reply
    • medianone

      Amen brother!

      May 9, 2012 at 10:14 pm | Reply
      • Oodoodanoo

        My personal preference would be that if any general tries to shut down another A-10 fighter wing in favor of this junk, Sec. Panetta and Obama should kick him out of the Pentagon so fast his butt leaves a skid mark in the parking lot.

        May 9, 2012 at 10:25 pm |
    • zoonib

      The A10 is the best ground attack plane ever made. Till the Department of Defense gets a better plane, there is no way it should be scraped. When infantry see an A10 they smile.

      May 9, 2012 at 10:16 pm | Reply
      • honest john

        the a-10 is awesome at CAS, but is worthless at air to air, which is what the f-22 does.

        May 9, 2012 at 10:36 pm |
    • Lee White

      Exactly. The Warthog has never been shiny enough or sleek enough, and the only reason that they built the thing in the first place is that they felt threatened by the Army's (near) procurement of the AH-56A cheyenne attack help. They felt that fast things with guns are the sole responsibility of the Chair Force. The fact that the USAF would gut another service's ability to conduct war (Key West accords) is treasonous

      May 9, 2012 at 10:17 pm | Reply
    • Osama

      How can you compare the A-10 (a bomber) with a fighter jet? The reason infantry smile so much because they know its packed with Napalm, and whatever the enemy is (and surrounded by) would no lobger be...

      May 9, 2012 at 10:24 pm | Reply
      • Oodoodanoo

        Dude, I agree. Ask the generals why they think the F-35 is a suitable replacement for the A-10. With no external fuel tanks, it has no range, it's too fast to loiter, it has pitifully small armament, and it's vulnerable to small-arms fire.

        What is the point of radar stealth against Taliban goat-herders?

        May 9, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
      • Cheese Wonton

        Fighters and bombers are now one in the same. They do both missions on the same sortie. Our current tactical jets carry the bomb load of a dedicated WWII bomber without sacrificing their air to air capability. An F-15E Strike Eagle can match the bomb load of a B-29. An F/A-18E can carry more than a B-24.
        The WWII Strategic Bombing Survey is no longer classified. In WWII, with box formations for mutual support against enemy fighters, unguided free fall bombs, smaller warheads and optical bomb sights, it frequently took 400 to 700 bombers plus a large fighter escort just to be sure of nailing one target. CEPs were in the hundreds of meters but bomb blast radii were in the tens of meters. Many thousands of bombs were expended uselessly. In a typical raid over Japan, 400 B-29's might get only one or two bombs directly on the target and do any sort of militarily useful effect.
        Today a single tactical jet armed with four 2000lb JDAMs or six 1000lb JDAMs can take out four to six individual targets with great accuracy. such ordnance has a CEP measured in meters or maybe tens of meters with a blast radius that exceeds the CEP. Now, instead of sortieing 700 B-17's plus a fighter escort to take out a single target, we can take out four or even six individual targets with a single sortie of an F-15Eor F/A-18E while retaining some air to air capability in the process. With increasing precision warhead size can be reduced, allowing more bombs to be carried and more targets to be hit per sortie.

        May 10, 2012 at 12:03 am |
      • Jerry

        Sorry, the U.S. no long carries napalm in its military inventory. It's now considered "inhumane", (as are most truly effective weapons!)

        May 10, 2012 at 1:25 am |
    • Cheese Wonton

      Don't get excited. All the A-10's were re-winged and had their maximum flight hours extended to something like 22,000 hours. The fleet is receiving the Precision Engagement modification now. Hogs will be around until 2028 at least, and I will bet longer than that.

      May 9, 2012 at 11:03 pm | Reply
    • Chris

      The A-10 didn't fly in entered service in the late 1970s.

      May 9, 2012 at 11:43 pm | Reply
      • Cheese Wonton

        The Navy and Air Force were still flying A-1 Skyraiders during the Vietnam War. It's funny, the A-4 Skyhawk, another Ed Heinemann design, was supposed to replace the A-1 but both flew complimentary missions. Then the A-7 Corsair was supposed to replace the A-4 but all three ended up serving more or less similtaneously. In the Navy and Marine Corps the F/A-18 finally replaced all the A-7's and A-4's while the A-10 did the job for the USAF.

        May 9, 2012 at 11:53 pm |
    • tim

      These two jets are brand new. There will be problems for awhile. Its all about trial and error. The A10 is no where near as complex as these jets.

      May 10, 2012 at 12:20 am | Reply
    • Jerry

      There were no Warthogs in the 'Nam! Also, you simply cannot compare the Warthog to the Raptor; they are completely different systems with completely different mission profiles and performance envelopes. The A-10 is completely incapable of using BVR AAMs like Sparrow or AMRAAM, has no radar, is slightly more maneuverable than a brick, slightly faster than a turboprop, and slightly less stealthy than a, well, giant flying brick. It's the size of a B-17 bomber. It's good in the Close Support role, a bit over-qualified but still quite capable in the FAC role, and useful in certain COIN situations. Flanker or Fulcrum would just turn 'em into scattered wreckage without the A-10s ever seeing their killers!

      Apples & oranges, folks.

      May 10, 2012 at 1:20 am | Reply
    • nofluer

      Ask ANY of the Marines who took Baghdad if the A10s were "glamorous enough"! 🙂

      May 10, 2012 at 11:26 am | Reply
  86. The Left Wing

    Toxicologist wanted. Apply to USAF.

    May 9, 2012 at 9:55 pm | Reply
  87. littlefdsa

    jesus f@@@ing christ, if these symptoms appear in people in the cockpit at ground level, either exhaust or vaporized fuel is permeating the enclosure.

    May 9, 2012 at 9:46 pm | Reply
    • jason

      "Out-gassing" of materials...even new cars do it but then again, they don't asphyxiate you.......

      May 10, 2012 at 11:51 am | Reply
  88. revenge of osama bin pimpin

    hes back now in ghost mode

    May 9, 2012 at 9:44 pm | Reply
  89. Pilot

    Why didn't the 60 minutes piece mention the F-22 pilot who died in Alaska. This problem has resulted in a death. Why wasn't that mentioned?

    May 9, 2012 at 9:42 pm | Reply
    • John Kaufman, Oceanside, CA

      Because that is the way the Maxistis newsmedia works, they screen everything, filter out what they don't want, inject their own opinions always from a leftist view, and leave out the whole story. Sad but true!

      May 9, 2012 at 9:55 pm | Reply
      • ALL uh

        except for the "fair and balanced" whack jobs at Faux

        May 9, 2012 at 9:57 pm |
      • Oodoodanoo

        How is covering up an F-22 death possibly leftist?

        May 9, 2012 at 9:58 pm |
      • The Left Wing

        If this is true, why would screening it out be leftist?

        May 9, 2012 at 10:02 pm |
    • urwrong

      it did

      May 9, 2012 at 10:36 pm | Reply
  90. St. Mike

    I would not trust the Air Force period. They are loaded with fundamentalist christians at the top!!!!!!

    May 9, 2012 at 9:37 pm | Reply
    • DenverDan

      You're a retard.

      May 9, 2012 at 9:47 pm | Reply
      • LangleyMan

        As an atheist, I second your comment.

        May 9, 2012 at 10:01 pm |
    • honest john

      then go live in antarctica. I hear penguins are very leftist

      May 9, 2012 at 10:38 pm | Reply
  91. Jesus Is Lord

    Jesus is the answer. He is the ONLY way to the Father in Heaven. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, repent, obey and be saved!

    May 9, 2012 at 9:36 pm | Reply
    • lold

      jeuss can't save anyone, he couldn't save himself. he begged and cried to his 'daddy' to be saved from death hebrews 5:7

      jesus is weak

      May 9, 2012 at 9:43 pm | Reply
    • Randy

      brainwashed by fear

      May 9, 2012 at 9:44 pm | Reply
    • dt

      Just a suggestion – lay off the booze when online. This article is about a technical problem in our most advanced airplane.

      May 9, 2012 at 9:50 pm | Reply
      • Freddie

        No, Jesus is great. He loves everyone but if you don't believe in him or live your life for him, he will burn you in hell for eternity. This is because Jesus wants to be worshiped like a king. Yes, he does have a slightly large ego for wanting everyone on the planet to worship him but he is so powerful that he deserves it. Oh yes, and he also died for us but I can't figure out why that is so bad if he is still in heaven running the show down here, fighting that mean devil and other exciting things. Wouldn't believing in a comic book character make as much sense?

        May 9, 2012 at 10:20 pm |
    • zoonib

      Does Jesus fix airplanes. Next time your car breaks, do nothing. Pray for Jesus to fix it and watch your employer fire you for not showing up to work for a few months.

      May 9, 2012 at 10:20 pm | Reply
      • korak

        Jesus built my hotrod.

        May 9, 2012 at 10:35 pm |
    • Jerry

      And the question, Alex is "What imaginary man/sky-fairy does one-quarter of the world's other-than-sane population worship?

      May 10, 2012 at 1:33 am | Reply
      • Jerry


        (Forgot my bloody close-quote!)

        May 10, 2012 at 1:35 am |

    Dead mice inside the jet, near the cockpit..

    May 9, 2012 at 7:06 pm | Reply
  93. Sodomite

    Well, we've sucked the Canucks into squandering a shit-load of cash on the F-35, so maybe we can burn them again.

    May 9, 2012 at 6:16 pm | Reply
    • Pupster25

      Hold the phone Canucks haven't spent dollar one on any F-35's...nice try but get your facts straight.

      May 9, 2012 at 9:38 pm | Reply
      • Admiral Akbar

        Canada's investment in the JSF program totals about $168 million. Defence Minister Peter Mackay says Canada has already "doubled our return" through program contracts to Canadian companies. This from a Canadian article in 2010, I'm sure it's grown since then...

        May 9, 2012 at 9:56 pm |
      • CR from CA

        Nor are we likely too.

        May 9, 2012 at 9:56 pm |
    • Frangible

      This is what happens when you let marines design things. Why did they need the STOVL? To use their quaint little diesel powered carriers that go slower than a Nimitz-class carrier and carry much less. The F-35 program would have gone smoothly without this.

      The USMC could own a couple of Nimitz-class carriers AND associated strike groups for the amount of cash we've dumped into their STOVL thing.

      Instead we're wasting money so they can look different from the Navy while doing the same job as the Navy, poorly, in slow, fuel hogging mini-carriers that have limited range and difficulty projecting and supporting the few assets they actually bring to the battlefield, unable to do after all but the briefest initial stages of the fight. Which they'll miss anyway because they run on diesel and can't keep up with the Navy fleet.

      If they don't trust the marines enough to have nuclear reactors on their boats, should they really be playing aerospace engineer?

      May 9, 2012 at 10:56 pm | Reply
      • Cheese Wonton

        A nimitz class costs in excess of a billion and a half bucks a year just to sit at the pier with no air wing on it. A third of that is the wages of the ship's company. An LHA or LHD costs a fraction of that figure. There is a place for both kinds of ship.
        If you study the Falklands Island war, the Brits were able to launch and recover in lower visibility than our carriers can, and they could do so with less restriction on CORPEN due to relative wind considerations. On a CVN the relative wind has to be right down the landing line or sink rates at the ramp become excessive and you do damage to the landing gear and risk missing the wire. STOVL has no such problems. When the Brits studied what type of carrier to replace the Invicible class with, the upcoming CVF, they studied daily sortie rates for STOVL and CATOBAR. It turned out that the STOVL configuration allowed a higher daily sortie rate because they could conduct landings and takes offs similtaneuously while in the CATOBAR configuration you had to have cycles like our carriers do. Without the deck space for four cats like our carriers, they simply could not get the launch rate necessary for the same daily sortie rate they can obtain out of a STOVL configured ship.

        May 9, 2012 at 11:10 pm |
      • Cheese Wonton

        Btw, when we go from a fleet of 11 CVN's with advanced combat jets to a fleet of 11 CVNs and 10 LHA/LHDs also armed with advanced combat jets, life gets very difficult for the Chinese navy. That is a lot of naval airpower to bring to battle.
        We could never afford to replace the LHA/LHD fleet one for one with CVN's ( and what would replace the vehicle decks, well decks, LCAC's and troops an LHA or LHD brings to an amphibious operation if they were replaced by CVNs?) but we can afford a mix of both types.

        May 9, 2012 at 11:29 pm |
      • tim

        Frangible you are clueless. Those quaint little diesel powered carries belong to the navy you idiot. The Navy transports Marines on those quaint carriers. You know, Harriers, Osprey, 53's, Hueys and Cobra's. There are a couple of Navy SAR birds on those ships as well. Do you honestly think the Marine Corp designed the F-35? Let's try Lockheed Martin. Please just stop talking. You obviously have pen*s envy and you soud jealous of the marines.

        May 10, 2012 at 12:29 am |
      • Frangible

        That doesn't fully apply to us, though; the British carriers are significantly more limited than a CVN as you note, such as the smaller flight deck and lack of a Ronald Reagan museum. STOVLs may have occasional advantages, but are any of them worth derailing the F-35 program for?

        China doesn't even have a carrier, other than the old Soviet one. What they do have is a lot of ground forces, and bases filled with giant nuclear missiles.

        I'm not sure how LHDs with such limited on-shore range are going to significantly effect either of those to intimidate China. And in a more contemporary "war" such as Afghanistan they have serious issues with force projection at those ranges inland. They can just barely deploy infantry to them with VF-22s. Air support in Kandahar province? Good luck with that, marine.

        Perhaps deployments on hovercrafts with humvees is occasionally called for, but that role is currently of very limited use. The optimization of LHDs towards it is more of a hindrance for current operations than an advantage.

        I guess I just dislike seeing marines die because they had no armor, indirect fire, or air support, because their fleet is designed around re-enacting WWII, not the present or future, and it can just barely dump some marines off somewhere and that's it. What happened to combined arms?

        May 10, 2012 at 1:02 am |
      • Frangible

        Yes, I think we all know My Ass Rides in Navy Equipment. And yes, the F-35B variant is due to the request and specification of the USMC.

        May 10, 2012 at 1:09 am |
      • Jerry

        And just how many LCACs does a Nimitz class carrier carry? How many LCVPs? LCMs? How many tanks, trucks, APCs, and artillery pieces can one put on the beach? How many ground troops can one transport?

        A Nimitz cannot carry an entire Marine MEU and put it on the beach: a Tarawa or Wasp class ship can. It's what they were designed for.

        Once again, folks, it's apples & oranges.......

        May 10, 2012 at 1:44 am |
      • Cheese Wonton

        Frang, the new CVF is as large as a Forrestal Class, over 60K tons.

        May 10, 2012 at 10:21 am |
      • Al2002

        This is about the F-22 jack-tard. If you think strike and on-call close air support assets that CVNs bring are the biggest advantages we have in Afghanistan then you need to seriously reassess your thinking. We usually fight small wars and that's what the Marines can do better than anyone.

        May 10, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
      • Al2002

        STOVL allows a lot more flexibility for maneuver (you know, maneuver warfare, which the Marines are trying to retrain its people to understand). Unless you think all of our fights will consist of giant static positions like in COIN against, we need to keep developing capabilities that allow us greater flexibility.

        May 10, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
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