F-22: The Other Shoe Drops

Not grounded, but close.


USAF photo.

Yesterday the Defense Department sharply curtailed flying in the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor due to pilot reports of disorientation similar to the symptoms of oxygen deficiency.  Although the DoD has been aware of the situation for a while, recent TV broadcasts may have given the issue a new focus while a supplemental oxygen system is being readied as backup.

The Raptor isn’t engaged in combat anywhere, but it will proceed with a deployment to the Mideast for joint maneuvers. Training flights are to be restricted to a distance allowing for immediate landing. Other types of aircraft will handle long-range patrol missions in Alaska.

The decision may not accurately be described as “grounding” the airplane, but it comes very close.

About George C. Larson

George C. Larson served as editor of Air & Space from 1985 to 2005. He is currently an inactive pilot, but holds a commercial pilot's license, with instrument and multi-engine ratings. He is between airplanes at this time, but has owned or operated a Grumman American AA-5B Tiger and a Mooney 201. He has been writing about aviation since 1972, when he joined the staff of Flying Magazine.

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