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May 09, 2012

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Bryan Rahija

Concerned: Great question. Not sure about oxygen problems but the F-35 has certainly had its share of troubles, and the few planes that have already been delivered to the Pentagon have been grounded before.

http://www.star-telegram.com/2012/01/30/3698876/ejection-seat-problems-ground.html

http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/f-35-fleet-grounded-after-electrical-subsystem-failure-360325/

Concerned

Does the F-35 have the same "oxygen" problem?

Dfens

The really sad thing about the F-22 is the fact that the pilots have taken a stand against the one system that is actively killing them, but their is so much else wrong with that cockpit that potentially could kill them, and probably will kill them but not until they are in battle. Chances are you'll never hear about the rest of the crap, not until the F-22 is no longer the Air Force's top fighter. Naturally then it will really be too late to fix these problems. But, hey, let's continue to pay our contractors more to provide crappy weapons than we do if they provide good weapons on-time and on-budget, then we can all stand around and wonder why new weapons take so long and cost so much. Yeah, that's really working out well for us, isn't it?

Kelly Rogers

This is outlandish. These men willing to defend our country and are subjected to this. In this time of money woes the F-22 is an archaic dinosaur and needs to be gone of the way of dinosaurs. It will help the deficit and thus our security

AFLTCMIKE

This is a letter I wrote to the Honorable Senator McCain who did not respond back to us:

Dear Senator McCain

My wife and I are writing you to express our personal concern for our son’s safety. Our son flies the F-22 Raptor out of Elmendorf AFB Alaska. We are very proud of him and his accomplishments in the Air Force. In twelve years of service, he performed three tours of duty in Iraq as an F-16 pilot. He continues to serve his country honorable as an F-22 pilot.

We know his job is very dangerous, however, after watching “60 Minutes” we do not accept the statements of the Air Force that they cannot find or fix the problem. I worked 30 years in the Department of Defense mostly in Classified Programs. I saw incredible problems solved with a can do attitude.

Senator McCain, something is poisoning those pilots!

Thank God we are in relative peace time in the USA. We have the luxury of time to address and truly fix the F-22 problem. If we were at war, that would be a whole different story. But, we are not at war!

I know you can demand the Air Force to ground those planes and/or limit their use until they can find the problem. Senator McCain, we are talking about the finest military pilots anywhere in the world and we have lost one.

In conclusion, my wife and I want the plane fixed. We were very disappointed when you went on national TV and belittled the mission our son is being asked to do. These airmen and their planes are a national asset sir! The plane may not have been in combat, but our son has!

Pastwikowski

Those will be paying for the $1 trillion F-35 Program, as out debt exceeds $20 trillion, will dispute Gates decision to cancel production of the F-22,F-16,F-15. His financial and acquisition ineptness are well documented in the the GAO Reports on ERPS and the appropriate depiction of the program as "Acquisition Malpractice".
Any student of the history of the F-22 development will know that Congress interrupted the acquisition process at least five times (there were 8 WAVES), and every time major funding is changed in a large development program, we taxpayers pay more for "rediscovery of the learning curve". DCMA documented those affects in the late '90's.
Force requirements dictate what airplanes can be used for different tasks.

Dfens

With regard to the maintainers who are having breathing problems around the airplane, this may be a related problem to the issues the pilots are having, or it may be something entirely different. It is hard to say at this point when so little is known.

One historical fact that comes to mind, now that these aircraft are finally more or less operational is that both Boeing and Lockheed had problems with workers in their composites manufacturing facilities getting sick when they were laying up parts for both the B-2 and F-22. The volatile compounds that caused these workers to get sick do not entirely disappear when these composites are cured, and when the materials are heated, such as they would be when the engines are run, the outgassing rates could be sufficiently high to cause problems for a long time after the parts are in service.

Another thing a friend recently reminded me of is the fact that stealth coatings are routinely treated as being very toxic. I have no idea what is in these materials, and information on their composition is a closely held military secret. Again, these materials may continue to outgass harmful substances, and the rate of outgassing would likely increase if they were subjected to the heat of an engine run. The B-2 wouldn't have as much of a problem with this kind of heating because they don't travel at supersonic speeds and the engines are a relatively small part of those aircraft.

Inthedmv

Good thing the F-22 doesn't have a mission, or we'd really be screwed...

Dfens

I commend POGO for taking this position with regard to the F-22. The airplane should not be held above the value of the pilot. Unfortunately, the airplane has a bureaucracy consisting of thousands of cheerleaders for the airplane. The pilots have no one who speaks for them.

The Air Force could modify these aircraft to use an older cryogenic liquid oxygen storage system. It would not have the long mission advantages of the current system, but would make the aircraft combat worthy without putting the pilot's life in constant danger. They could modify the fleet for the older system and keep a couple of aircraft as flying testbeds for the new style OBOGS. Once the system has truely been perfected, then and only then could it be put back on the entire fleet.

On a personal side note, I believe it was a mistake to use bleed air off the engine as a source of compressed air for the OBOGS system. Boeing in their new 787 has gone with a dedicated, stand alone compressor as their life support air source. This approach was not common in the mid 1980s when what became the F-22 program started, but with the increasingly optimized compressor design of engines it is commonly considered now. Thus it is well past time this kind of isolated system was considered for the F-22. Such a system would likely fix the contamination issues the F-22 air system is plagued with.

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