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Faulty valve could contribute to hypoxia-like symptoms experienced by some pilots

The United States Air Force's premier air superiority fighter is the F-22 Raptor. However, the F-22 has had problems over the last few years with pilots at times experiencing hypoxia-like symptoms during flight. The F-22 fleet was grounded while an investigation into the problem was conducted.
Ultimately, USAF found no hard evidence on what was causing the symptoms in some pilots and the aircraft were returned to the skies with no fixes applied. 
The Air Force has now announced that after further review, it has discovered a faulty valve on the pressurized vests F-22 pilots wear during flights. The valve will be replaced by the end of the year and pilots are currently not wearing the pressurized vests during flights. The move to replace the valve and ban the vests from being worn currently is an attempt to help address some pilot complaints of nausea and dizziness while operating the fighter.
The valve in question connects the plane's onboard oxygen generation system to the vest and inflates the vest to protect pilots during high G maneuvers. However, the valve has a flaw because the vests to be constantly inflated even when the aircraft is operating at lower altitudes where the vest wasn't required.

"It [the vest] restricts his breathing, it restricts his ability to do normal inhalation and exhalation. ... The pressurization schedule in the F-22 inflates prematurely, so we removed this,” Maj. Gen. Charles Lyon said at a Pentagon briefing Tuesday. Lyon is the director of operations for Air Combat Command. Air Force officials believe that the pressure on the chest of the pilot due to the faulty valve could cause the symptoms of hypoxia that some pilots are experiencing.
Defense News reports that within the next month the USAF will start testing a new valve that will provide more tension and restrict airflow into the pressure vests until the airflow is needed.
Lyon also went on to say that there was no evidence that the faulty valve contributed to the fatal F-22 crash resulting in the death of pilot Capt. Jeff "Bong" Haney.

Source: Defense News

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By Reclaimer77 on 8/1/2012 1:52:32 PM , Rating: 0
Please don't use this as a soapbox to push for some silly future where UAV's do all the fighting for us.

The biggest advances in the F-22 and every future fighter will be evolutions in avionics, stealth, and weapon delivery. Which have NOTHING to do with the limits of the human physiology.

"Dogfighting" is quickly becoming a thing of the past. With our superior technological edge, and 24/7 AWAC's spam, engagements are taking place further out than ever before. In Iraq we were shooting down Mig 29's, THE most advanced fighter in the world not made in the US, beyond visual range!

RE: Maybe we've reached the limits of the human body?
By Noya on 8/1/2012 9:01:51 PM , Rating: 2
In Iraq we were shooting down Mig 29's, THE most advanced fighter in the world not made in the US , beyond visual range!

Now that is funny.

By Warren21 on 8/2/2012 9:35:02 AM , Rating: 2
I thought so too. Flankers and Typhoons be damned.

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