While USAF has, in effort to protect its sacred cow – the F-22 programme – blamed the pilot Jeff Haney for a crash that has happened some moths earlier, Department of Defense has stated that Air Force’s conclusion is not supported by facts.
What is interesting is the fact that even USAF has admitted that pilot has experienced senses similar to suffocation. Further, USAF has concluded that “by clear and convincing evidence, the cause of the mishap was the MP’s [mishap pilot’s] failure to recognize and initiate a timely dive recovery due to channelized attention, breakdown of visual scan, and unrecognized spatial disorientation.” In fact, Haney failed to notice that he was in dive for full quarter of minute, and there was no radio call about emergency. This suggests that he was unconscious during the dive, something that Inspector General agrees is a possibility.
While USAF has insisted that OBOGS system (that was added to F-22 solely to increase cost) has been fixed, it seems that it is not necessarily so. To remind readers here, USAF conclusion was that it was faulty valve in suit that was to blame. However, F-22 is covered in stealth coating, glued together with toxic glues, while OBOGS takes oxygen from surrounding air. While F-18, another airplane using OBOGS, did have accidents related to pilot disorientation, rate was much lower, and no pilots ever experienced “Raptor Cough”. This is what F-22 pilot Major Gordon told “60 Minutes” about “Raptor cough,”: “In a room of F-22 pilots, the vast majority will be coughing a lot of the times. Other things – laying down for bed at night after flying and getting just the spinning room feeling, dizziness, tumbling, vertigo kind of stuff.”
These symptoms are not typical of either oxygen deprivation, fuel poisoning or carbon monoxide posoning – but they are typical of neurotoxins. Five maintenance workers also showed same symptoms. Only other aircraft whose workers suffered similar symptoms were B-2 bombers, where employees on production line were getting strange illnesses, that were diagnosed by doctors as poisoning.
Adhesives used to apply stealth covering can take months to dry. But half of F-22s maintenance is spent on stealth coatings, which means that adhesives are being constantly reapplied.
Worst part? It’s all for nothing. Stealth coating is useless in face of long-wavelength (L-band, VHF, HF) radars and IRST systems.