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F-22s Still Gasping For Breath
The Strategy Page ^ | 3./12/2012 | The Stategy Page

Posted on 03/12/2012 9:11:31 PM PDT by U-238

The U.S. Air Force is still having problems with the pilot's air supply in its F-22 fighters. Recently, there were three more cases of F-22 pilots apparently experiencing problems. The term "apparently" is appropriate because the pilots did not black out and a thorough check of the air supply system and the aircraft found nothing wrong. There have been nearly 30 of these "dizziness or disorientation" incidents in the last four years. That's about one incident per hundred sorties. Only one F-22 has been lost to an accident so far and, while that did involve an air supply issue, it was caused by pilot error, not equipment failure. Meanwhile the air force is spending $7 million to install commercial oxygen status sensors in the air supply systems of its F-22 fighters. This is part of a ten month effort to find out what's causing the air supply on F-22s to get contaminated and cause pilots to become disoriented or pass out. Twice in the past year the entire F-22 fleet was grounded because of the air supply problems. The first grounding lasted 140 days and ended last September. The second grounding lasted a week and ended four months ago. The 180 F-22s comprise the most powerful component of the air force's air combat capability and the brass are eager to find out what is wrong.

(Excerpt) Read more at strategypage.com ...


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; Technical
KEYWORDS: aerospace; aircombatcommand; elemendorfafb; f22; hypoxia; usaf

1 posted on 03/12/2012 9:11:40 PM PDT by U-238
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To: U-238
We can still put 150 of them in the air, downing AT LEAST 900 enemy aircraft with each sortie...if we can find them.

Things begin to dwindle after a sortie or two:)

That said, our F-15Cs can still take on anything anyone else has at a ratio of 10-1. Minimum.

2 posted on 03/12/2012 9:35:59 PM PDT by Mariner (War Criminal #18)
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To: Mariner

I agree with you but the Air Force and Lockheed needs to figure out the problem.If they have to ground the planes but do it a few at at time. I am willing to bet its some small part that is causing the problem.


3 posted on 03/12/2012 9:40:00 PM PDT by U-238
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To: Mariner

Could it be that the F-22’s flight capabilities exceed that which the human body can tolerate (even pilots)? Maybe we’re at the breaking point with the F-22?


4 posted on 03/12/2012 9:43:04 PM PDT by FedsRStealingOurCountryFromUs
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To: U-238

Small part, yep.. Just like cars.. Start with the small stuff and work your way up from there.


5 posted on 03/12/2012 9:47:36 PM PDT by FedsRStealingOurCountryFromUs
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To: FedsRStealingOurCountryFromUs

These are fifth generation jets. The pilots should not worry that their oxygen supply is going to freeze up.


6 posted on 03/12/2012 9:50:24 PM PDT by U-238
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To: Mariner

We can still put 150 of them in the air, downing AT LEAST 900 enemy aircraft with each sortie...if we can find them.
Things begin to dwindle after a sortie or two:)

That said, our F-15Cs can still take on anything anyone else has at a ratio of 10-1. Minimum.


I like those numbers.


7 posted on 03/12/2012 9:50:24 PM PDT by unkus (Silence Is Consent)
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To: FedsRStealingOurCountryFromUs

Perhaps you are correct but in none of the reports did I hear anything about a high G failure of the O2 system.

Note: An F16 can put some serious G forces on the pilot. My question is what is the difference between the oxygen system on the F-16 as compared to the F-22.


8 posted on 03/12/2012 9:51:32 PM PDT by cpdiii (Deckhand, Roughneck, Mud Man, Geologist, Pilot, Pharmacist. THE CONSTITUTION IS WORTH DYING FOR!)
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To: unkus; Mariner

I agree


9 posted on 03/12/2012 9:51:52 PM PDT by U-238
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To: U-238

I don’t think it is a small part. Instead, it is a complex system, which in some circumstances leads to tragic results. I believe the basic scenario is that the intake system, which comes from an engine bleed, gets mucked up. It is believed that this is the result of too much cold or moisture into the bleed system.

The problem is that, apparently, there are no monitors to identify this scenario. Instead, the pilot starts to feel light-headed. Unfortunately, it is not a minor maneuver to kick the backup oxgen system into gear.

As I understand it, the likely scenario for the crash was that the pilot did not complete this maneuver successfully before he passed out. That is the heart of the problem, as far as I have read to date.


10 posted on 03/12/2012 9:53:35 PM PDT by Fractal Trader
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To: cpdiii

Yes, that was from Nellis AFB. It was the pilots G Suit. I have the link for you.

http://www.lvrj.com/news/air-force-seeks-maker-of-g-suit-in-fatal-crash-142292155.html


11 posted on 03/12/2012 9:54:38 PM PDT by U-238
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To: Fractal Trader

Good Points


12 posted on 03/12/2012 9:55:24 PM PDT by U-238
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To: FedsRStealingOurCountryFromUs
It is an OBOGS (OnBoard Oxygen Generating System) issue. I have only flown one OBOGS jets and that was only briefly, but it was still a pain. If anything hiccuped in the system it would shutdown. Most fighters don't maintain a tolerable cabin pressure above 28,000 feet so this can be a big issue.

I know several guys in two different types of aircraft that have almost been killed by OBOGS problems where the jet didn't even know it had a problem.

I also personally know a guy that died in an OBOGS aircraft where his last transmissions to ATC indicated that he was probably incoherent to the point of incapacitation. At the altitude he was at he would have had to have had his mask on, pointing to an OBOGS issue.

One in one hundred sorties is a fantastically high rate for such a critical safety of flight component. They really need to get this figured out soon.

13 posted on 03/12/2012 10:08:40 PM PDT by USNBandit (sarcasm engaged at all times)
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To: Mariner
That said, our F-15Cs can still take on anything anyone else has at a ratio of 10-1.

Not because it's a better airplane, but because it has better pilots. The SU-35 is a formidable aircraft. It's radar might not be quite as good as the latest AESA version on some F-15Cs, but it's at least close. The exchange ratio would be close to unity, if the USAF (and IAF, JSADF and other) pilots were not better trained and utilizing better tactics than Russian or Chinese pilots.) If Obama realizes he can save a bunch of $$, and not use so much oil, by cutting flying hours to the level those other countries have for training, that could and likely will, change.

But the F-22 will eat SU-35s and even the not yet deployed T-50, for lunch.

14 posted on 03/12/2012 11:10:52 PM PDT by El Gato ("The second amendment is the reset button of the US constitution"-Doug McKay)
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To: FedsRStealingOurCountryFromUs
Could it be that the F-22’s flight capabilities exceed that which the human body can tolerate (even pilots)? Maybe we’re at the breaking point with the F-22?

No, that happened with the F-16. The plane knows how much the pilot can take, and doesn't exceed that limit, even though aerodynamically and structurally it could. (It's all fly by computer, starting with the F-16, although not a digital computer until the C/D models. (Redundant computers in both cases, first analog and then digital) But that was over 35 years ago.

15 posted on 03/12/2012 11:14:35 PM PDT by El Gato ("The second amendment is the reset button of the US constitution"-Doug McKay)
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To: El Gato

Got it. Thanks.


16 posted on 03/12/2012 11:28:06 PM PDT by FedsRStealingOurCountryFromUs
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To: U-238
There have been nearly 30 of these "dizziness or disorientation" incidents in the last four years. That's about one incident per hundred sorties.

Is this something that typically only occurs above a certain altitude, or is it more of a random thing?

17 posted on 03/12/2012 11:38:15 PM PDT by smokingfrog ( sleep with one eye open (<o> ---)
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To: smokingfrog

I really do not know. I would suggest that the USAF/Air Combat Command and Lockheed Martin ground the jets and re-install new oxygen units. Yes, its going to cost millions of dollars but they have to keep in mind there is a human operator. There is something clearly wrong.


18 posted on 03/12/2012 11:46:50 PM PDT by U-238
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To: U-238

Rod Serling, call your office....


19 posted on 03/12/2012 11:47:13 PM PDT by Jack Hammer
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To: FedsRStealingOurCountryFromUs

What a shame the F/A-18 wasn't mentioned.. A timeless aircraft, and a reliable one too!
20 posted on 03/13/2012 12:01:50 AM PDT by FedsRStealingOurCountryFromUs
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To: USNBandit; All

A few years ago there was a Greek airliner (B-737) climbing out, when a warning horn went off passing about 10,000 feet.

The Captain assumed it was the takeoff warning horn (a malfunction) even though the oxygen masks deployed in the back as they climbed through about 14,000 feet.

The Captain went back to the circuit breaker panel while the first officer flew, and promptly passed out in the floor. The copilot continued the climb and eventually passed out at the controls.

The airplane flew for couple of more hours — eventually a flight attendant got in the cockpit (the intrusion resistant door was locked) who had some training in light aircraft.

The flight attendant couldn’t figure out how to operate the radios but flew it for a while until one engine flamed out due to fuel starvation and the airplane spiraled down into the ground.

Turns out the outflow valve was fully open the whole flight, preventing the airplane from pressurizing, because the Captain missed it on his cockpit setup.

Hypoxia is very serious and as you probably know any airplane with a cabin pressure above 10,000 feet must have supplemental oxygen. Most airliners cruise with a cabin altitude of around 8,000 feet.

But at 50,000 feet and up, where the Raptors like to be, the cabin pressure is likely to be closer to 25,000 feet, which is the altitude limit for unpressurized aircraft with supplemental oxygen. At those cabin altitudes hypoxia is more sudden and supplemental oxygen is a must under normal conditions, not to mention if there were a sudden loss of pressurization.

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/06/world/europe/06iht-crash.html


21 posted on 03/13/2012 12:17:09 AM PDT by zipper (espions sur les occupants)
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To: U-238

The solution to this continuing problem is obvious.

Convert all the F-22s to drones.

This strategy of converting from people to drones has kept several fighter bases in business, and could keep all our F-22s in business.

[only half] /s


22 posted on 03/13/2012 12:20:37 AM PDT by zipper (espions sur les occupants)
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To: Mariner

Well, aside from modernized Indian Mig-21...


23 posted on 03/13/2012 12:24:17 AM PDT by JerseyanExile
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To: zipper

F-22 Technology On UAV That Crashed In Iran

http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/generic/story_channel.jsp?channel=defense&id=news/awst/2012/01/02/AW_01_02_2012_p28-409855.xml


24 posted on 03/13/2012 12:27:33 AM PDT by U-238
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To: cpdiii

Could be a small part that fails to the advantage of High-G, but not otherwise like it’s supposed to.


25 posted on 03/13/2012 12:29:00 AM PDT by FedsRStealingOurCountryFromUs
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To: zipper

0bama’s all for it if it helps Iran acquire them. China and Russia probably has most of the F-22 technology anyway which could explain how Iran was able to hijack the UAV which uses some of the same technology. Okay, I’m guessing, but no classified information is safe under the umbrella of this regime. Besides, Leon Panetta says the U.N. is the boss anyway. Bottom line?.. ABO in NOV!


26 posted on 03/13/2012 12:33:55 AM PDT by FedsRStealingOurCountryFromUs
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To: FedsRStealingOurCountryFromUs

The Navy has been working to install an updated solid-state oxygen-monitoring system on all in-service F/A-18s that tracks both oxygen concentration and pressure rather than O2 concentration alone. The Eurofighter Typhoon has such a system and has had no reported Obogs issues.


27 posted on 03/13/2012 12:37:07 AM PDT by U-238
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To: zipper
I used to fly maintenance profiles for two of the types of aircraft I flew. At 45,000 feet the cabin pressure is 18,000. Fortunately, my chamber rides every 4 years prepared me well for the couple times that I had cabin pressure malfunctions in flight. Both times, my pressurization had slowly failed. Each time I had popped my mask to take a break from sucking rubber and immediately felt the effects. The first thing I did each time was slap that mask right back on and go to 100%. Then I started looking to figure out what was going wrong.

The problem with OBOGS is that sometimes you don't have any warning. I had a good friend put on his mask in an OBOGS equipped hornet as he took the runway. As the aircraft rotated he could tell something was wrong then he lost his sight. He remembers fumbling for his emergency O2 bottle in his seat that cut off the OBOGS and provides bottled oxygen. He regained his sight passing 3000 ft AGL and 350 knots with the gear still down (slight overspeed there). He almost got killed.

28 posted on 03/13/2012 12:38:23 AM PDT by USNBandit (sarcasm engaged at all times)
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To: FedsRStealingOurCountryFromUs
What a shame the F/A-18 wasn't mentioned.. A timeless aircraft, and a reliable one too!

Wow, that is just freaking gorgeous.

29 posted on 03/13/2012 1:03:55 AM PDT by Talisker (He who commands, must obey.)
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To: USNBandit

Yes the chamber rides are excellent. Civilians don’t get the benefit of them (e.g. the Greek airliner crew).

The AF quit letting everyone experience rapid-decompressions in the altitude chamber to above 30,000 feet after several chamber attendants who were doing multiple sessions were found to be getting the bends. I think after that they were rapid-Ds to about 20k, just enough to demo the noise and condensation.

Not sure what you meant about the friend nearly losing consciousness on takeoff. If he was taking off from a runway, wouldn’t he have been at an altitude not requiring oxygen anyway? Even the runway at La Paz is only at about 13,300 feet.


30 posted on 03/13/2012 1:52:11 AM PDT by zipper (espions sur les occupants)
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To: U-238

Thanks...a good update. I’d heard somewhere they used to purge the system with Freon but had to stop for environment reasons and the replacement product could be the problem.


31 posted on 03/13/2012 2:39:30 AM PDT by Portcall24
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To: USNBandit

>>One in one hundred sorties is a fantastically high rate for such a critical safety of flight component. They really need to get this figured out soon.

Worth saying again.


32 posted on 03/13/2012 2:43:48 AM PDT by FreedomPoster (Islam delenda est)
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To: unkus

Those numbers are merely attrition against a military the size of China. 187 F-22s is not enough.


33 posted on 03/13/2012 3:34:06 AM PDT by SJSAMPLE
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To: zipper

I was on a hot scramble in an FJ-4 out of Atsugi. Passing about 30M I couldn’t move or feel my right arm. Told the lead I had to abort. Had to pick up my right hand and set it on the side and use my left on the stick. Declared an emergency and got it back on the ground with only my left hand for stick and throttle. Flight surgeon said I had the bends.
In the haste of our scramble, my bailout O2 bottle hose had kinked up and gotten between the sliding canopy and the rail, so I never pressurized the cockpit. I didn’t notice because we were getting vectors and looking for the bogey.

I was lucky the nitrogen bubble blocked the nerves or I would have been in extreme pain. Cheated death again:-))


34 posted on 03/13/2012 5:36:50 AM PDT by rickyc
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To: SJSAMPLE

Right you are. We need many, many more.


35 posted on 03/13/2012 8:03:06 AM PDT by unkus (Silence Is Consent)
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To: Mariner

“We can still put 150 of them in the air, downing AT LEAST 900 enemy aircraft with each sortie...if we can find them.”

How do you come up with these numbers? What are your kill assumptions based on?

Thanks.


36 posted on 03/13/2012 8:28:24 AM PDT by rickyc
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To: zipper

My buddy wasn’t getting classic hypoxia. He was getting histotoxic hypoxia. The OBOGS system was producing poisonous gas to breathe.


37 posted on 03/13/2012 9:16:38 AM PDT by USNBandit (sarcasm engaged at all times)
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To: rickyc

There was a (in)famous Tomcat guy that lost feeling in his left hand and declared an emergency because he thought he had the bends. He came back to the boat and after he got out of the cockpit he had a miraculous recovery. The exposure suit (dry suit) he was wearing was one of the ones that had the zipper from arm to arm and it had pinched the nerve in his left arm. He had basically put that arm to sleep.


38 posted on 03/13/2012 9:22:40 AM PDT by USNBandit (sarcasm engaged at all times)
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To: USNBandit

Okay that explains it — definitely a dangerous setup in a single seat airplane!


39 posted on 03/13/2012 9:49:10 AM PDT by zipper (espions sur les occupants)
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To: rickyc

Yes it could have easily been much worse — I’m thinking loss of consciousness, or the “staggers”, an inner ear problem.


40 posted on 03/13/2012 9:59:52 AM PDT by zipper (espions sur les occupants)
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To: rickyc
For its primary air-to-air role, the F-22 carries six AIM-120D and two AIM-9 missiles. And the RADAR/Fire Control to back it up.

Six, 100+ mile range, fire and forget missiles and two short-range if they ever found themselves in a dog fight. Very unlikely.

Highest ceiling. Highest speed. Greatest range. Highest maneuverability. All US space sensors and AWACS fully integrated.

Yeah, 150 of them could easily take out 900 bandits with zero losses.

41 posted on 03/13/2012 8:12:11 PM PDT by Mariner (War Criminal #18)
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