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One pilot appears to have suffered an oxygen related issue during a flight

The F-22 Raptor fighter has only in the last month or so come off an extended grounding after issues arose that gave pilots hypoxia-like symptoms. The USAF didn’t actually like to use the term “grounded”. Rather it used the term "stand-down" to describe the F-22 fleet, which wasn’t allowed to fly while an investigation into the aircraft's oxygen systems was conducted.
On September 20, the stand down was lifted and the Raptors were allowed to operate at altitudes above 50,000 feet. There was a provision put into the lift that would allow individual commanders to place their F-22 fleets on stand down if they felt there was a safety issue that needed to be investigated. This allowed the remainder of the F-22 fleet operating at other bases to continue flights.
That right for a commander to place their fleet of F-22 fighters on stand down has been exercised at the 1st Fighter Wing, joint base Langley-Eustis, Virginia. The wing's commander, Col. Kevin Robbins, made the decision to place his Raptors on stand down.

 Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor [Source: Lockheed Martin]

The full details on the cause for the stand down are not available right now. However, Air Force officials have confirmed according to Defense News that one of the wing's Raptor pilots appears to have suffered from hypoxia-like oxygen related issue.

A spokesman for the U.S. Air Force released the following statement regarding the stand-down according to WAVY-TV:
As the Air Force Chief of Staff has said with respect to the decision to return the F-22 to Flight operations, there is no conclusive cause or group of causes that has been established for the incidents that prompted the stand down earlier this year. We've therefore made the decision to resume operations while implementing improvements to the aircraft's life support systems and carefully collecting and analyzing operational maintenance and physiological data for all Raptor flights, more than 1,300 missions since the return to flight. Part of our protocol is to allow units to pause operations whenever they need to analyze information collected from flight operations to ensure safety. That is what is happening at Langley at the moment and we support that decision.
The investigation into the Raptor oxygen system is still being conducted. The modifications to allow the Raptors to return to the skies included things like the addition of carbon filters in the oxygen circuit for pilots and the pilots were forced to wear a pulse oximeter. The pilots were also requires to give baseline blood samples to compare to if there was an incident.
It remains to be seen if this incident will give new support to the portion of the flight community that didn’t want to see the Raptors return to flight status until. A portion of those involved in the decision to return the F-22 to flight wanted the fleet to remain on stand-down until cause for the oxygen related issues was found.

Sources: Defense News, WAVY-TV

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What will it take?
By wannabemedontu on 10/24/2011 1:22:12 PM , Rating: 3
Looks like someone will have to literally crash and burn before they do what they know they need to do. So sad.

RE: What will it take?
By MrBlastman on 10/24/2011 1:32:31 PM , Rating: 5
I can only hope the wing commander isn't chewed out over this. Safety first in a non-wartime environment always! He did what he had to do I'm sure. At 100 million plus a pop, we can't afford to replace them if they do crash.

RE: What will it take?
By FITCamaro on 10/24/2011 1:50:27 PM , Rating: 2
The problem is actually replacing them will likely never happen. Once the line is shut down, the cost to build more increases drastically. They're not all built, but they're nearly done. And even just ordering all the parts for just 1 more is more expensive than if that one had been planned to begin with.

RE: What will it take?
By MrBlastman on 10/24/2011 2:50:04 PM , Rating: 2
Well, right and this is why with all the money we have spent developing these planes that we should continue to order them far into the future. It seems pointless to have so few. Our enemies (and allies) are flocking to stealth/next-gen aircraft in droves.

RE: What will it take?
By FITCamaro on 10/24/11, Rating: 0
RE: What will it take?
By wiz220 on 10/24/2011 3:45:06 PM , Rating: 1
It did not take one year for Solyndra to go through 500 million dollars. The government didn't give them any money. The government was providing a loan guarantee to the investors behind Solyndra (including a group run by the Waltons of Walmart fame). The government just approved the guarantee a year before Solyndra went under. Solyndra already had the money from investors, or atleast a large portion of it, and had been using it since 2006. In the end, it was the crashing price of PV's, due to the fact that China was dumping them onto the market, that killed Solyndra's business model since they were working on thin film tech.

RE: What will it take?
By TheEinstein on 10/24/2011 3:56:00 PM , Rating: 2
Solyndria got real cash from the Government, not guarantees. Then when some investors wanted to join the pig pile the Government re-wrote the loan so the investors get any cash payouts first.

And what did they buy? Recreational Robots, fancy showers, a really cool light show wall, and more. They bought toys.

And Bush said no on financing for them while Obama said oh hell ya my brothers will get financing and pushed it, and Biden was a keynote speaker for them.

RE: What will it take?
By Reclaimer77 on 10/24/2011 4:22:38 PM , Rating: 3
And what did they buy? Recreational Robots, fancy showers, a really cool light show wall, and more. They bought toys.

That's not the half of it! The description of the Solyndra warehouse and office buildings makes me sick. They were the "Taj Mahal" of facilities, the emphasis on excess.

The whole thing is an Obamanation. Everyone involved should be hung, politically if not literally.

RE: What will it take?
By FITCamaro on 10/24/2011 5:28:45 PM , Rating: 2

My current company is a startup. We certainly aren't living in shacks at work but they're spending the money on making sure employees have the necessary tools to do work (nice PCs), not rock gardens and fancy offices.

Our CEO doesn't even have a desk or office. He has a standing desk that consists of two smaller tables stacked atop each other with the upper one having its wheels removed and the lower its top. Assuming he's even there instead of out promoting the business and selling us to the next customer.

RE: What will it take?
By FITCamaro on 10/24/2011 5:20:15 PM , Rating: 2
Is the tax payer going to get its money back? No. Who is? Investors. Investors with EXTREMELY CLOSE ties to top Democrats at the state AND national level. This was absolutely nothing but a payoff to political allies. Those who approved the loan knew it wasn't a company that was going to last. Yet they approved it anyway. Why?

RE: What will it take?
By blankslate on 10/25/2011 1:26:40 AM , Rating: 2
For what was wasted on Solyndra we could have had 4 F-22s. Not to mention billions more wasted on other things that did absolutely nothing for the economy.

Yeah, Solyndra was an eff-up. However, as you mentioned there are other billions of waste that are out there which reduced the capacity to buy a sufficient number of F-22 fighters.

Literally several billions of cold hard cash transported to the middle east on Cargo planes then subsequently "lost" or "stolen."
That money by itself could have payed for (assuming a cost of $150 million I've seen different numbers at different stages) at least a few dozen if you believe the low ball numbers or several dozen if you subscribe to the higher estimates.
Singling out one side or another ignores the fact that carelessness or outright fraud from both sides of the aisle have reduced the amount of F-22s the Air Force could procure and probably took away the funding necessary to ensure that the planes didn't endanger the lives of the pilots.

RE: What will it take?
By Noya on 10/25/11, Rating: 0
RE: What will it take?
By FITCamaro on 10/25/2011 9:43:54 AM , Rating: 2
Actually my parents didn't even talk politics growing up. They raised me and my siblings to be hardworking, free thinking individuals. As such a person, I don't subscribe to the mentality that I owe other people a portion of my labor to improve their lives. No one helped me get to where I am except my parents and my hard work.

Our constitution also does not allow for such a mentality. So which group closest exemplifies those ideals? Conservatives. Which party has typically been the party of conservatives? The Republicans. Now I completely agree that many Republicans have become no better than liberal Democrats. But people like me want to work to change that.

The fact is that a third party candidate will never win the presidential election. So how do you get a conservative candidate the nomination in the Republican Party? You register Republican and vote in the primary.

Sitting around saying both parties are evil accomplishes absolutely nothing.

RE: What will it take?
By JediJeb on 10/25/2011 2:06:33 PM , Rating: 2
I don't subscribe to the mentality that I owe other people a portion of my labor to improve their lives. No one helped me get to where I am except my parents and my hard work.

This is where I stand on the idea of self reliance myself.

I know that for a long time there has been the struggle to ensure "equal pay for equal work" especially where race and gender are concerned and that should be the rule. But lately it seems the chant is simply " Equal pay" without regard to whether or not any work is actually involved.

Honestly I have yet to meet any single person who has had a motivation to better themselves not do it in some fashion. I have though seen many people who are completely unmotivated sit around and complain about the things they don't have.

RE: What will it take?
By blankslate on 10/25/2011 2:09:43 PM , Rating: 2
Sitting around saying both parties are evil accomplishes absolutely nothing.

It accomplishes about the same as just sniping at one particular party.

Our constitution also does not allow for such a mentality. So which group closest exemplifies those ideals? Conservatives.

Conservatives in the past also recognized that power focused in a relatively few individuals or entities was bad as well. This led Theodore Roosevelt to move to limit power of large corporations.
Dwight D. Eisenhower realized that after WWII the U.S could no longer depend on emergency ramp ups of military equipment production to ensure its safety from military aggression. However, he was also concerned that the "large arms industry", while being necessary, could garner "unwarranted influence."
The conservatives of today are nothing like the conservatives of the past. Likewise can be said for the liberals.

I do share some of those concerns about undue influence.
Despite my general concern, I do think that the Air Force does indeed need many more F-22s than they have received. If I recall correctly they were asking for a minimum of around 250 copies when talk of limiting production started brewing. Before that I think they perhaps wanted up to 400.

As far as liberals and conservatives in regards to the constitution, we should remember that people of both persuasions were involved in its writing.

The Bill of Rights comes to mind...

Off the top of my head I can remember;

1st. Guarantees of freedom of religion and speech...

2nd. Right to bear arms

4th. Protection from unwarranted search and seizure of personal property.

If I recall correctly the 6th or 7th deal with trial by a jury of peers.

Saying that one view or another more obviously represents the constitution is just something we disagree on.

My opinion about why both parties are bad is the effect of unwarranted influence in both parties by people and corporations that are capable of injecting vast sums of money into the political process.
Registering as a particular party and voting in their primaries is a way to influence them.
However, until something is done about the sheer amount of money that perverts the political system I seriously doubt an improvement in the situation is coming soon. Focusing on supporting candidates who will address that is what I would suggest.

RE: What will it take?
By wiz220 on 10/24/2011 3:24:07 PM , Rating: 2
This depends on whether or not we allow exports to the likes of Israel, Australia etc. If that happens the production lines will be open and I would imagine the US could purchase more down the road.

RE: What will it take?
By MrBlastman on 10/24/2011 3:29:57 PM , Rating: 2
The problem with that is this is what the F-35 was designed for: to replace the F-16 which was heavily exported. The F-22 is going to be our mainline interceptor which I doubt we'll export except to our closest allies like Israel and not much else.

RE: What will it take?
By Jeffk464 on 10/24/2011 11:27:04 PM , Rating: 1
uhm, we are Israel's ally they are not ours. Its purely a one way street.

RE: What will it take?
By Bad-Karma on 10/25/2011 2:52:27 AM , Rating: 2
The USAF has purchase all of the 187 F22s for itself.

The department of Defense Appropriations Act of 1998, actually made it a federal law that no F-22s could be sold or made available for export. Israel had expressed interest in buying a sizable number of them to replace their aging F-15 fleet.

RE: What will it take?
By Jeffk464 on 10/25/2011 12:01:47 PM , Rating: 2
At this point we could have probably used the money.

RE: What will it take?
By Bad-Karma on 10/25/2011 2:42:01 AM , Rating: 2
The last of the 22s purchased should be delivered sometime in Q1 2012. At that point the tools and dies needed to make the airframe, parts jigs,etc... are rounded up and put into deep storage.) So no new unique parts can be produced for the bird after the mothballing.

In the past, congress and the SecDefs' have routinely ordered the tooling destroyed to officially end the program and guarantee no new aircraft/weapon system can be built. Usually it is a political play from one service component on another to acquire the others funding stream.

Usually Congress has to provision the storage funding costs in appropriation bills. However, I think I remember that sometime last year the USAF actually decided to pony up the funds for the storage out of its own yearly budget.

Regardless, Lockheed has already said that it would take 2 years or more to reconstruct and restart the line once it is mothballed. But you'd also have to get the independents supply chains retooled and restarted before Lockheed could start to redeploy its manufacturing line.

RE: What will it take?
By gamerk2 on 10/24/2011 1:46:54 PM , Rating: 2
Sad but true. Then we'll get months on Congressional inquiries as half of Congress looks to cover their own behinds, and the over half tries to kill the F-22 in favor of more JSFs...

RE: What will it take?
By FITCamaro on 10/24/2011 3:32:52 PM , Rating: 2
The F-22 is already killed. Once the last few are built, that's it. Supposedly they're going to keep a lot of the tooling for the potential of building more. But as of now, no more or plans for more.

RE: What will it take?
By Jeffk464 on 10/24/2011 11:25:12 PM , Rating: 2
So why can't they just go back to the old oxygen bottle technique until they figure this problem out?

RE: What will it take?
By Calin on 10/25/2011 3:01:35 AM , Rating: 2
Where to put it? Except for the empty space in front of the radar installation, the plane is full. And one more thing, in contact with high concentration oxygen (and/or high pressure), many components in the plane will spontaneously catch fire. As such, you could transform a plane that might survive heavy shelling into one burning from one bullet.

note to author
By kleinma on 10/24/2011 2:20:29 PM , Rating: 5
Your editor has failed you once again. Please read your last paragraph again, and then edit it so that it makes sense (or at least so it is proper English).

RE: note to author
By fuzzlefizz on 10/24/2011 6:50:29 PM , Rating: 2
Only thing I got out of this is:

F-22 Raptors on stand down due to an investigation into the oxygen supply issue.

This entire article needs a re-edit (or edited if hasn't already).

OBOG isn't new
By bildan on 10/24/2011 2:24:00 PM , Rating: 3
I can't understand this.

On Board Oxygen Generation systems have been in use for decades. They're basically just a molecular sieve which separates oxygen from engine compressor bleed air, enriches it to > 98% O2 and sends it to the pilot. It's a pretty simple system. Why the heck can't the USAF get it to work on the F-22 when it works fine on almost every other airplane in the inventory?

Maybe, it isn't really about the OBOG system and instead relates to engine compressor performance. Maybe the USAF prefers to discuss problems with cheap OBOGs instead of hyper-expensive engines.

RE: OBOG isn't new
By FITCamaro on 10/24/2011 3:35:43 PM , Rating: 1
This was largely my thoughts. That I would think there wouldn't be anything new in a system like this.

Maybe there isn't enough oxygen left in the bleed air to let the system work properly.

By borismkv on 10/24/2011 5:50:57 PM , Rating: 2
I read "Wing Commander" and had a little jolt of excitement that maybe someone was reviving the series...Then I read the rest of the headline and my glimmering hopes were crushed.

RE: :(
By JediJeb on 10/24/2011 6:35:36 PM , Rating: 2
I did too

Spin Doctors
By Performance Fanboi on 10/24/2011 7:29:48 PM , Rating: 2
So they didn't ground them, it was only ordered that they don't fly them. Hmm, were they allowed to drive them around on the ground making machine gun noises during the stand down? Can't fly = grounded.

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