F-22 Cleared to Fly Again

The U.S. Air Force's top officials approved ending the stand-down of all 170 aircraft after 12 incidents of pilots' experiencing hypoxia. Pilots will use additional protective equipment, according to USAF's announcement.

The U.S. Air Force apparently is satisfied that its F-22 Raptor stealth aircraft are safe to fly, issuing a return-to-fly plan that returned the fleet of 170 aircraft to service Sept. 21. Questions surrounded the F-22's system that provides oxygen to the pilot after 12 incidents where pilots reported hypoxia -– low oxygen -– symptoms, and the USAF announcement did not explain whether the system has been changed.

It said the plan includes these risk mitigation actions: rigorous inspections, training on life support systems, and continued data collection. "We now have enough insight from recent studies and investigations that a return to flight is prudent and appropriate," USAF Chief of Staff Gen. Norman Schwartz said. "We're managing the risks with our air crews, and we're continuing to study the F-22's oxygen systems and collect data to improve its performance."

The news release said an Air Force Scientific Advisory Board's report on the oxygen system will be released later this year. The return-to-fly plan "balances safety and the expedient qualification of pilots against the inherent risks of flying advanced combat aircraft," it states, adding that the entire F-22 fleet "will undergo an extensive inspection of the life support systems before returning to flight, with follow-on daily inspections."

The aircraft, which were introduced in 2005, are authorized to fly above 50,000 feet. Their pilots will use additional protective equipment and undergo baseline physiological tests, and the return-to-fly process will begin with instructor pilots and flight leads regaining their necessary proficiency, then follow with other F-22 wingmen.

Forty of the planes are based in Anchorage, Alaska, at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. The Anchorage Daily News has reported in that some veteran pilots believe the F-22 oxygen problem resulted simply from starting the F-22's engines inside buildings rather than outside because of cold outdoor temperatures, with exhaust then entering the planes’ oxygen intakes.

Download Center

HTML - No Current Item Deck
  • Free Safety Management Software Demo

    IndustrySafe Safety Management Software helps organizations to improve safety by providing a comprehensive toolset of software modules to help businesses identify trouble spots; reduce claims, lost days, OSHA fines; and more.

  • Complete Online Safety Training Courses

    Deliver state-of-the art, online safety training courses to your organization with IndustrySafe Training Management Software. Generate reports to track training compliance and automatically notify learners of upcoming or overdue classes.

  • Easy to Use Safety Inspection App

    Conduct inspections on the go with IndustrySafe’s mobile app. Complete safety audits at job sites and remote locations—with or without web access.

  • Track Key Safety Performance Indicators

    IndustrySafe’s Dashboard Module allows organizations to easily track safety KPIs and metrics. Gain increased visibility into your business’ operations and safety data.

  • Analyze Incident Data and Maintain OSHA Compliance

    Collect relevant incident data, analyze trends, and generate accurate regulatory reports, including OSHA 300, 300A, and 301 logs, through IndustrySafe’s extensive incident reporting and investigation module.

  • Industry Safe
comments powered by Disqus