Sen. Warner, Rep. Kinzinger Release New Information on F-22 Probe

From the office of Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R, Illinois 11th District)…

  • Higher rate of incidents, more widespread pilot concerns than previously disclosed
  • Repeat calls to protect two ‘whistleblower’ Va. pilots

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) and U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) today released new information from the U.S. Air Force (USAF) that reveals significantly higher rates of oxygen-deprivation incidents reported by F-22 Raptor pilots than previouslydisclosed, and more widespread concerns about the impact and use of a charcoal breathing filter recently ordered removed from the aircraft. The information is contained in the USAF responses to a detailed set of questions submitted by Sen. Warner and Rep. Kinzinger on May 10.

The inquiries followed meetings with Virginia Air National Guard Capt. Joshua Wilson and Maj. Jeremy Gordon, the two F-22 “whistleblowers” who appeared on CBS’ “60 Minutes” in early May to disclose their concerns about breathing issues and blackouts experienced by some F-22 Raptor pilots. Both Capt. Wilson and Maj. Gordon are assigned to Langley Air Force Base in Hampton, Virginia. Since their appearance on “60 Minutes,” approximately 10 additional pilots and flight surgeons have contacted Senator Warner’s office with specific and similar concerns about hypoxia and hypoxia-related incidents involving the F-22. In late May, U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta instructed USAF to restrict F-22 flight activities while stepping-up efforts to determine potential causes of the F-22 hypoxiaincidents.
According to the new information provided by USAF:

  • Through May 31, 2012, the Air Force reported 26.43 hypoxia or hypoxia-like incidents among F-22 pilots per 100,000 flight hours – a rate that is at least 10 times higher than any other USAF aircraft. As recently as news coverage this week, the USAF continued to maintain that F-22 hypoxia rates “remain relatively low:”
  • An early 2011 USAF aircrew survey found that “a majority of F-22 pilots surveyed did not feel confident” with the F-22 oxygen system, and USAF ordered the installation of C2A1 charcoal filters before returning the F-22 to full operations in September 2011. However, the use of these filters triggered even more concerns about so-called “Raptor cough” experienced by many pilots. Tests performed by The Boeing Corp. this spring found that the C2A1 filter “negatively impact[ed] the breathing system” for F-22 pilots, and increased breathing resistance outside of acceptable standards. Boeing formally recommended discontinuing use of the filters on April 2nd – a recommendation that ultimately was adopted by the Air Force.
  • In their May 10th letter, the Senator and Congressman recommended that USAF tap the expertise of the U.S. Navy, NASA and others to help identify and correct these recurring F-22 issues. Wednesday’s USAF disclosure of a potential problem with F-22 pilot survival gear – primarily the upper pressure vest – was the result of this collaboration with the U.S. Navy dive unit at Panama City, FL.
  • Sen. Warner and Rep. Kinzinger also repeated their call today for the USAF and the Virginia Air National Guard to rescind reprimands and other disciplinary proceedingsinitiated against Capt. Wilson and Maj. Gordon after they stepped forward under The Military Whistleblower Protection Act.

“I am troubled that two brave pilots had to risk their careers and two relatively new members of Congress had to apply pressure to force the Air Force to move off-the-dime on this,” Sen. Warner said. “The safety of these pilots and the communities over which they fly should be everyone’s paramount concern. The F-22 program has cost $80 billion so far, but the most expensive fighter jet in the world is useless if we can’t ensure the safety of the pilots who fly it.”

“From the beginning, my top priority has been to ensure the safety of my fellow military pilots and protect their wings,” said Rep. Kinzinger. “This information confirms that the F-22 program is not running at 100 percent and that the oxygen-deprivation incident rates are much higher than we were initially told. As the nation with the strongest military and the brightest minds in the world, we must make certain that we provide our men and women in uniform with the best equipment possible. Working with Senator Warner, we will continue to monitor the improvements made to this program closely and see to it that the pilots who courageously came forward with their concerns are protected.”

http://kinzinger.house.gov/

About Warner Todd Huston

Warner Todd Huston is a Chicago-based freelance writer, has been writing opinion editorials and social criticism since early 2001 and is featured on many websites such as Andrew Breitbart's BigGovernment.com, BigJournalsim.com and all Breitbart News' other sites, RightWingNews.com, CanadaFreePress.com, and many, many others. Additionally, he has been a frequent guest on talk-radio programs across the country to discuss his opinion editorials and current events as well as appearing on TV networks such as CNN, Fox News, Fox Business Network, and various Chicago-based news programs. He has also written for several history magazines and appears in the book "Americans on Politics, Policy and Pop Culture" which can be purchased on amazon.com. He is also the owner and operator of PubliusForum.com. Feel free to contact him with any comments or questions : EMAIL Warner Todd Huston and follow him on Twitter, on Google Plus , and Facebook.
This entry was posted in Adam Kinzinger, Congress, GOP, Government, House of Representatives, Military, Republicans and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.