Two of the two-hundred elite jet jockeys certified to fly the F-22 Raptor have risked their careers to blow the whistle on safety and health concerns regarding the sophisticated stealth fighter airplane’s internal oxygen delivery system.
The oxygen system, which has already attributed to one F-22 pilot’s death, was fixed with a charcoal filter which was intended to purify the air of contaminants in addition to collecting contaminants for further review. It turns out that the carbon filters were delivering a mixture of oxygen laced with charcoal, resulting in an additional health concern as inhaling charcoal is detrimental to one’s health.
F-22 Pilot Josh Wilson told CBS News’ 60 Minutes on Sunday:
“There have been squadrons that have stood down over concerns. And there’s been threat of reprisals. There’s been threat of flying evaluation boards clipping our wings and doing ground jobs. And… in my case, potentially getting booted out of the Air Force. So right now there’s an example being set of, ‘Hey, if you speak up about safety, you’re going to be out of the organization.’”
Fellow Raptor pilot Jeremy Gordon, a veteran pilot with the Virginia Air National Guard, has requested not to fly the stealth aircraft, citing health concerns attributed to the malfunctioning oxygen system.
Lockheed Martin/Boeing’s F-22 Raptor is an ultra-maneuverable fighter aircraft which utilizes stealth technology in addition to an array of offensive capabilities designed to give the fifth-generation jet air superiority.
Due to the inherent risk of operating a fighter airplane such as the F22, the pilots have essentially been told to man up and continue flying while the problem is isolated and resolved.
What are your thoughts on the two pilots coming forward to blow the whistle on the health and safety concerns currently associated with operating the $420 million F-22 Raptor?