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Print 17 comment(s) - last by osalcido.. on Oct 9 at 7:47 PM


Lockheed Martin F-22A Raptor  (Source: Lockheed Martin)
Sources claim November 2010 F-22 crash cause was found

The USAF’s F-22 Raptor has been on stand down for few months now. The stand down was to investigate any potential issues with the aircraft’s onboard oxygen generation system for use at high altitudes. The investigation was started after pilots were experiencing symptoms of hypoxia during flights in the aircraft.

The chief of the USAF will get options this week on how to lift the grounding of the F-22 and allow the aircraft and its pilots to return to the skies. In the cases of the hypoxia-like symptoms, the pilots were also found to have toxins in the bloodstream. USAF chief Gen. Norton Schwartz said last week that the full report would allow him to decide what restrictions to place on the return to operating for the F-22.

There had been previous discussions that one of the potential restrictions would be to limit the F-22 to an operational altitude of 40,000 feet until the issue was pinpointed. Others want the aircraft to return to the 60,000 ceiling right away. One of the reasons a fix for the F-22 issue hasn't been found according to some is that the Air Force physiologists that are working on the problem don’t have practical experience. 

The operational F-22 community wants someone with hands-on experience with the aircraft to be part of the process. Specifically, they are calling for Kevin Divers to join the team. Divers is a former pilot who later trained to be a physiologist, and now runs a consulting firm called Warrior Edge. Divers was part of the F-22 Combines Test Force during the development of the aircraft.

Divers said during his time in the USAF, "The trend that I saw, as rated-physiologists left the career field, is that the aerospace physiology officer leans more on academic knowledge." He continued, "There is a major gap between research and operational knowledge of the F-22 that could be causing this delay."

Divers added, "I know all of their [F-22] flight equipment - the [onboard oxygen generating system] OBOGS, the entire plumbing of the aircraft to the OBOGS - because I had to study it and look at it from the safety standpoint for the pilots. My pilot training experience taught me to break down subsystems and know the aircraft to the level that the aircrew has to know it. Air Force physiologists aren't trained that way coming into the Air Force."

While the fate of the F-22 should be decided shortly, another investigation into the F-22 and a crash that killed one pilot has been concluded according to sources. In November of 2010, a USAF F-22 piloted by Capt. Jeff "Bong" Haney crashed in Alaska. The pilot was killed in the crash. The cause has been under investigation and the industry source claims that the crash was caused by a malfunction in the F-22 engine's air bleed system. 

Defense News claims that the same information was confirmed by another source, this one a pilot. According to an accident report, the bleed air issue caused the F-22 environmental control system and the onboard oxygen generation system to shut down. However, the USAF refutes these sources.

Air Force spokesman Lt. Col. John Dorrian wrote in an email to Defense News, "The information provided by your 'industry source' is not a wholly accurate characterization of the crash. However, due to the ongoing Accident Investigation Board process I am not able to provide point-by-point confirmation, as the information is not yet releasable. PACAF is conducting the AIB process and will release appropriate information once the process is complete."

The source claims that he doesn’t see how the OBOGS that has caused the F-22 fleet grounding could have been ruled out as the cause for the crash.



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RE: Either it works...
By bildan on 9/9/2011 2:41:41 PM , Rating: 3
To the outsider, this whole story is confusing. OBOGS is great since it doesn't require a logistics system for refilling like liquid oxygen or gaseous oxygen systems do and it isn't a new idea - most military aircraft have used it for decades.

There are excellent finger sized blood oxygen sensors (Oximeters)available to detect hypoxia. Emergency compressed O2 tanks could be made available if the OBOGS system fails.

It sounds more like a bureaucratic problem than a technical one.



RE: Either it works...
By geddarkstorm on 9/9/2011 3:35:05 PM , Rating: 2
Indeed. And we could always limit, temporarily, their operational ceiling until we've fixed the problem. That way we can still use these great planes and avoid the situations where oxygen becomes an issue. Grounding the entire fleet and losing our capabilities when the issue is restricted to higher altitudes, just seems... short sighted.

Unless I've misunderstood the exact problem with the OBOGS.


RE: Either it works...
By AssBall on 9/9/2011 5:44:46 PM , Rating: 1
Compressed oxygen as a backup seems like a no brainer even if they do fix the generation system. Just seems like a good idea anyway.


RE: Either it works...
By Bad-Karma on 9/10/2011 9:41:47 PM , Rating: 2
And where do you suggest putting those O2 cylinders and all the associated gear. Not to mention that it must also seamlessly integrate with the pilot's mask and existing O2 system.

Apparently you've never seen inside the cockpit of any modern fighter, every square inch of space is already accounted for. Internal space in the body of the jet is at a premium as well.


RE: Either it works...
By Calin on 9/12/2011 2:46:08 AM , Rating: 2
In the nose, in front of the radar installation. There certainly must be some free space there

:)


RE: Either it works...
By tng on 9/11/2011 10:37:10 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
It sounds more like a bureaucratic problem than a technical one.
You are probably more correct than you know.

In my experience with government, somewhere there are a group of engineers and technicians that have at least a temporary solution that has been overruled by a official committee of bureaucrats who see the whole issue as justification for their jobs. The bureaucrats will drag it out as long as possible with as much paperwork as possible to continue to show that they are anything but a waste of salary.


RE: Either it works...
By osalcido on 9/12/2011 1:41:51 AM , Rating: 2
Yes, it could be those awful awful bureaucrats at it again.. or maybe someone in charge decided risking a $200+ million dollar plane and experienced pilot isn't worth the risk.

After all, it was engineers and technicians that overlooked this fault in a critical system. I doubt many of those pushing for a band aid fix would swap spots with the pilot after a mistake like that.


RE: Either it works...
By tng on 9/12/2011 7:44:13 AM , Rating: 2
And the bureaucrats have experience building and designing what?

Spoken like a person who hasn't had to design, build and trouble shoot their own design. I love people who have the attitude that every thing should be perfect the first model out of the gate, or you blame the people who design and build it. How Soviet of you...

I have found that yes people in charge who have no idea of the design process will cause more issues with a piece of equipment by not allowing engineers to do their jobs. They typically want changes that are unrealistic or not cost effective, all fueled by a committee that has endless meetings on the subject, that none of the people who have to design, build or use the the equipment are ever invited to.

Large organizations like ANY branch of our Federal Government is very top heavy with people who are there purely to collect a paycheck and get in the way of people who actually do things.


RE: Either it works...
By osalcido on 10/9/2011 7:47:27 PM , Rating: 2
Holy strawman.. what an idiot.

Who the hell said the design should be perfect from first rollout? That wasnt in my post at all. You're arguing with an imaginary post, my friend


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