F-22 Crash Pilot's Widow Sues Raptor Builders

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The fatal crash of an F-22 Raptor preceded a series of events that have left some confusion about the aircraft's life-support systems and more, and have now culminated in a lawsuit filed by the lost pilot's widow. Anna Haney's lawsuit names Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Honeywell International and Pratt & Whitney, alleging that critical life-support systems aboard the F-22 failed to "safely or properly provide breathable oxygen" to her husband while he flew the aircraft. It also accuses Lockheed of "fraud." An accident report issued by the Air Force in late 2011 said Captain Jeff Haney had become preoccupied with the problem and lost control of the jet. Early this month, however, the Air Force Chief of Staff said the Air Force did not blame Haney for the crash.

The accident report stated that the "cause of the mishap" was Haney's "failure to recognize and initiate a timely dive recovery due to channelized attention, breakdown of visual scan and unrecognized spatial disorientation." It also stated that the F-22's oxygen system, which shut down, did not malfunction. The system, according to the report, was acting as designed and shut down in response to a bleed-air problem. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz told a House subcommittee, "We did not assign blame to the pilot," the Air Force Times reported. After the crash, the Air Force spent five months seeking to source a problem with the oxygen system that pilots claimed gave them hypoxia-like symptoms. The entire fleet of roughly 170 Raptors was grounded for that time. The Air Force failed to find a cause and returned the jets to service. Anna Haney's lawsuit states that "as a direct result of the fraud of Lockheed that continues to this date, the United States Air Force has had to ground and/or severely limit flight of the F-22 Raptor aircraft, which has severely limited the aircraft's combat operations, range, and utility and the plaintiff's decedent Jeffrey Haney is dead," Military.com reported Wednesday.