1) Jatip to Superior
- (May 7 2013)
Jalil Jatip Jalil Jatip is the new director of quality assurance at Superior Air Parts. He was previously the quality fabrication department manager for Lockheed Martin on the F-16, F-22, and F-35 platforms.
2) DoD IG Finds F-22 Crash Report Lacking
- (Feb 13 2013)
The Department of Defense Inspector General has found that an Air Force report stating pilot error as the cause of a fatal 2010 crash of an F-22 Raptor "is not supported by the facts." The report, released Monday, examined the crash of November 2010 that took place in Alaska and killed the pilot, Captain Jeff Haney. The crash preceded an Air Force investigation that sought to determine why dozens of Raptor pilots reported suffering from hypoxia-like symptoms while flying the fighter. The Air Force released its review (PDF) of the crash in December 2011, discounting oxygen deprivation as a contributing factor and stating that "clear and convincing evidence" showed the crash was the result of Haney's failure to recognize and correct inadvertent control inputs in a timely manner. The IG said the conclusion failed to meet the Air Force's standards for "clear and convincing" proof and recommended that the matter be revisited.
3) The Relative Cost Of An F-22 Fender Bender
- (Dec 8 2012)
An F-22 that had performed a flyover at a Pearl Harbor anniversary event, Friday, later scraped its tail on landing at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, causing an estimated $1.8 million in damage to the jet. The landing followed a training exercise that followed the ceremony and was otherwise safe. No injuries were reported. The damage estimate accounts for little more than 1 percent of the fighter's $143 million per unit cost as estimated by the Air Force ... and even less of the jet's $412 million per unit cost as estimated by the Government Accountability Office.
4) New Chinese Fighter Photos "Leaked"
- (Sep 19 2012)
China has apparently unveiled a second fifth-generation fighter prototype that looks like an F-22 Raptor but may also be designed for carrier operations. Photos appeared online earlier this week that show an aircraft whose lineage seems to be derived from the Raptor with some shirt-tail relationship to the F-35. It's a twin, with the angled vertical stabilizers and big fully articulating horizontal stabs. It's not clear if the aircraft, likely a development project of the Shenyang Aircraft Corporation, has flown but the timing of the "leak" appears to suggest a little chest-thumping on the part of the Chinese to coincide with a visit by U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.
5) Picture of the Week: AVweb's Flying Photography Showcase
- (Aug 22 2012)
Our latest winning photo comes from Kevin Quinn of Olympic Valley, CA. Click here for the rest of this week's submissions.
6) F-22 Oxygen Problem Resolved?
- (Jul 24 2012)
The Air Force now thinks that a faulty valve installed in pressure vests -- not oxygen contamination -- has been causing the hypoxia-like symptoms reported by some F-22 Raptor pilots. Twelve incidents involving hypoxia-like symptoms were reported between April 2008 and January 2011, and one fatal crash has been linked to oxygen-delivery problems. At least one report even indicated toxins had been found in the blood of Raptor pilots. The Air Force briefly grounded the roughly $80 billion fleet of 180 Raptors while it failed to source the problem and then attempted a list of fixes without results. Some attention had already been directed at the pressure vests. Now they believe a faulty valve on those vests can prevent the vest from deflating and that, they think, is the problem.
7) AVmail: June 25, 2012
- (Jun 25 2012)
Letter of the Week: Test Jitters Regarding the FAA's written test revisions, I am a student pilot, and I first and foremost put aviation safety to at the top of the list of my training priorities. I believe the written test is fine. I do have concerns about the oral and practical test standards that are not adhered to by the FAA examiners. They are the ones who sign the final papers to allow the certification to be issued. They make the decision as to a pilot's ability to fly safely and responsibly. I feel that once again the government is laying fault some place else other than where it belongs, with itself. The student pilot has a great deal of money and time invested into his or her training. If a student takes a practical test and is passed, then he or she must feel that they are ready for the task. I have not taken my practical test yet but will in two or three weeks. If I fail a task, I will expect to fail the test, but we will see. Perhaps you will be interested in the result. If I feel that I failed a portion of the test but yet passed the test, it will be interesting, and the point will be made. I will say that a good pilot is always learning and should improve with every hour as pilot in command. I have not heard the statement about a private pilot's license, but I have heard a statement from a sport pilot instructor that a sport pilot license is a license to learn. Name Withheld AVweb Replies: We've withheld your name so as to eliminate any chance of skewing your practical test results. Examiners are not the enemy, and the vast majority are looking out for your best interests and the best interests of your fellow pilots. Your stress is appropriate if a little unconventionally expressed. Welcome to flying ... and always learning. Russ Niles Editor-in-Chief Click here to read the rest of this week's letters.
8) F-22 Whistleblower Wants Job Back
- (Jun 17 2012)
The lawyer for one of two F-22 pilots who went public with their concerns about breathing the air supplied by the aircraft is calling for his full reinstatement and the withdrawal of a letter of reprimand on his record. The Newport News Daily Press is reporting Virginia Air National Guard Capt. Josh Wilson complained to his superiors that a charcoal filter installed in the fighter's oxygen system to combat other contamination issues was actually making matters worse. Shortly after he told his commanders that an Air Force doctor had recommended he not fly the aircraft, the superior officers refused to renew his orders to fly with Air Combat Command, dropping his pay by 90 percent and chopping benefits. At the same time, Boeing was concluding a study that led to recommendations the charcoal filters be removed. That recommendation was made on April 2. The Air Force took the advice and started removing the filters about the same time Wilson and Air Force Maj. Jeremy Gordon went on 60 Minutes to publicly complain about the issue. Virginia Sen. Mark R. Warner and Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., released the study publicly on Friday.
9) An F-22 G-Suit Problem
- (Jun 13 2012)
As part of its investigation into the cause of hypoxia-like symptoms affecting a few F-22 Raptor pilots, Air Combat Command this week released new conditions regarding what pilots can wear while flying the aircraft. Testing has apparently found problems with the pressure vests worn by F-22 pilots as the upper portion of their G-suits. Air Combat Command spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Edward Sholtis told Bloomberg News that the vest is "like a tight-fitting garment" and that it was not properly fitted for pilots, possibly restricting their ability to breathe. But finding a fix for the vest is not expected to resolve the hypoxia-symptom issue.
10) AVmail: June 11, 2012
- (Jun 11 2012)
Letter of the Week: It Adds Up to an Overrun Regarding the story on the Jackson Hole overrun: With more than 15,000 hours in the B-757 I can state that it is not uncommon to have the reverse levers (one or both) tend to hang up while selecting reverse. Also, if the speed brake is not set all the way into the "armed" position, it will not activate properly on touchdown but will activate when reverse is selected. (In this case, they were unable to get it into reverse in a timely manner.) And last (a major pet peeve of mine) is the FAA's mandate that an aircraft (whether VFR or IFR) be "at or above the visual or electronic glide slope." This has created a generation of pilots that have found "security" in being above the glide slope during approach, thus always touching down long of the touchdown mark. One only has to go to the observation deck of any major airport and count the number of jets that land on the mark. It will be less than one in 100. These guys just got caught in a "triple whammy" of failures, one of which was pilot error. Keith Weiland Click through to read the rest of this week's letters.
11) The Case For Commercial Spaceflight
- (Jun 9 2012)
It's a strong one. So why are Armstrong and Cernan badmouthing it?
12) Question of the Week: The Future of Fighter Jets
- (Jun 7 2012)
Given the escalating costs of the F-35 program, the ongoing problems with the F-22, and the increasing capabilities of drones, is it time to rethink the strategy on military jets? Plus: Last week, we asked AVweb readers if they carry survival gear as part of their regular emergency preparedness; click through to see the breakdown of answers.
13) Lockheed To Supply F-22 Oxygen Backup
- (Jun 6 2012)
The Air Force has awarded Lockheed Martin a $19 million contract to install backup systems into existing F-22 Raptor fighter jets that bypass otherwise unresolved problems with the aircraft. Air Force officials are still stymied by reports from pilots who say they have suffered hypoxia-like symptoms while flying the jet. After months-long failed attempts to source the problem the Air Force will now be paying Lockheed, the jet's original manufacturer, to install automatic backup oxygen systems to bypass the original oxygen systems, if necessary. But the contract won't cover all of the jets.
14) Limits Set For F-22 Flights
- (May 16 2012)
Concerns over the system that delivers oxygen to pilots of the F-22 Tuesday led Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to set flight limits for the fighter jet and add safety measures. The jets must now be flown "within proximity of potential landing locations." The specific restrictions will be drawn by individual pilots and commanders, Pentagon spokesman and Navy Captain John Kirby told the Washington Post. Panetta added other specific instructions in a letter to Air Force Secretary Michael Donley. Meanwhile, two pilots who appeared on CBS News' 60 Minutes saying they did not want to fly the jet have reportedly had a change of heart.
15) The F-22 Debacle
- (May 9 2012)
Why can't--and shouldn't--the Air Force just stop sending check to Lockheed Martin for non-performance?
16) F-22 Pilots Go On TV To Highlight Aircraft's Problems
- (May 6 2012)
Two Air Force F-22 Raptor pilots have taken the unprecedented action of explaining their refusal to fly the aircraft to a national television audience. Appearing in uniform and without the permission of their superiors, Maj. Jeremy Gordon and Capt. Joshua Wilson told 60 Minutes interviewer Lesley Stahl they've invoked federal military whistleblower protection in their open defiance of an Air Force decision to keep flying the aircraft even though they say the majority of pilots are suffering health problems because of something wrong with the oxygen system. Some, including both Wilson and Gordon, have become disoriented in flight, something that happens at a rate that far exceeds the norm for military aircraft. The officers say pilots have been issued oxymeters and the Air Force briefly equipped the Raptors with charcoal filters in the oxygen system to remove contaminants (the filters themselves caused some pilots to cough up black mucus and have since been removed) but nothing has been done to solve the actual problem.
17) F-22 Passes Milestone, Critics Debate Which One
- (May 4 2012)
The last of 187 Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor fighter jets was delivered to the U.S. Air Force, Wednesday, provoking new debate about the jet's usefulness, cost and ongoing safety concerns. Since listed as combat-ready in 2005, not a single $420 million F-22 has flown a combat mission in any U.S. military engagement, including Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya. They have spent nearly five months of their service grounded due to yet unresolved concerns surrounding the system that delivers oxygen to the jets' pilots. And a few pilots now say they'd prefer not to fly the jet for that reason. In exercises, the F-22 consistently records lopsided wins when pitted against America's best jet fighters. But that hasn't silenced the jet's critics, which include Senator John McCain.
18) F-22 Crash Pilot's Widow Sues Raptor Builders
- (Mar 14 2012)
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.
19) Picture of the Week: AVweb's Flying Photography Showcase
- (Mar 7 2012)
Our latest winning photo comes from Bryan Painter of Fairfield, CA. Click here for the rest of this week's submissions.
20) F-22 Pilots Still Report Hypoxia-like Symptoms
- (Feb 29 2012)
There has been a recent spike in reports of hypoxia-like symptoms by pilots of the F-22 Raptor -- an oxygen delivery problem on a Raptor contributed to a fatal crash two years ago. Over the past six months nine pilots have reported hypoxia-like symptoms while flying the roughly $147 million (excluding development costs) per-copy jet. Three of those incidents were reported in the last two weeks by pilots at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska -- the same base associated with the fatal crash.