F-22 Hypoxia: Was an Inflatable Vest the Culprit?

    July 14, 2012
    WebProNews Staff
    Comments are off for this post.

F-22 hypoxia might have been caused by an inflatable vest worn by pilots to prevent damage to their lungs, according to CBS News. The F-22 Raptor is considered by many to be America’s most advanced fighter plane, with each plane costing roughly $143 million to manufacture. When you’re shelling out that much money for a single jet, the last thing you want is to hear that your pilots are having trouble keeping their oxygen levels under control.

That’s precisely what was happening to those who were flying the F-22, much to the dismay of military officials who were attempting to justify the cost of their plane to the powers that be. Despite several investigations into the matter, authorities could not identify the source of the problem, which, ultimately, caused the F-22 to be grounded until these issues could be solved. The fighter, for all intents and purposes, was out of commission.

Those working behind-the-scenes couldn’t put their finger on why, exactly, their pilots were suffering from hypoxia. That is, of course, until Major General Charles Lyon’s team of investigators set their sights on an inflatable vest designed to prevent the pilot’s lungs from exploding when they reach high altitudes.

“The vest was inflating every time you pull G’s in the aircraft and then staying inflated which was making it more difficult to take air,” Col. Robbins explained. He added, “No one has gotten to the point where they’re completely, where they’re delirious. They’re still able to function, still able to bring the aircraft back safely.”

Of course, two instances of oxygen depravation were recorded during a few test flights following the removal of the vest, though General Lyons seems to think this was a result of some unrelated mechanical issues. Until all of these issues are hammered out, the expensive F-22 Raptor may spend more time on the ground than in the air.

  • Fantastic Doug

    It is strange that this problem has not affected the F-35 fighter. Maybe the engineers from the F-22 project should talk to the engineers with the F-35 project and get this problem solved. Sounds logical to me.

    • Renaldo

      You wouldn’t know logic if it came up and bit you on the butt.

  • Fantastic Doug

    Convert the F-22 to an unmanned version and the problem is solved.

    • Renaldo

      Unmanned fighters are the future. But there are still many foreign countries that want manned versions of fighters because they don’t have the unmanned technology. We’re not building this plane for the USA, we’re building it to sell to other countries.

  • http://billygrahambizbuysell.com Billy Graham

    Tell the commanders that they can’t solve or plan sorties in the officers club

  • CF Adams

    What’s really strange about this, to me, bogus explanation is that several ground crews of the Raptor have also suffered episodes of hypoxia! Hardly something that can be related to a pilot vest that inflates during high altitude/high Gs flight!

    • Vic Derelict

      Are you saying that the crew servicing the planes were also suffering hypoxia? Seems to me that would be a real first unless they’re all holding their breath…

      • Steve Snow

        Wonder what the fuel is…..

  • http://webpronews.com david

    It is strange that it has not happened to the pilots/aviators of a number of fighters…F-15,16…F-117, F-18 to name a few. Hope my brother, Gen. Charles…can fix it. Although, he has not asked for my help yet….

    • Vic Derelict

      It seems doubtful he will…

    • Mike

      Those other planes you mention dont fly as fast, high, or have vectored thrust enabling a far greater turn ratio as the raptor. I would think that is where the problem arises

  • Rob

    They should redevelop the vest specificly for F-22. Instead of using one size fit all.

    • rtaylortitle

      It gets worse. The F-35 can’t fly in the rain…it screws up the electronics. And the F035 version that’s supposed to land on carriers….they put the tailhook in the wrong spot….meaning, it can’t land on carriers.

      • GordonC

        Now where did that come from? Ridiculous stuff like this and that tailhook BS is so silly it’s dumb!

        • craig

          Actually its true. Wife works with f-22 and f-35 program. I couldn’t believe it myself when she told me awhile back.

  • http://webpronews willie leach

    For 143 mill.per jet you would think they would get it right.

  • http://yahoo cadvan

    These planes are awesome but if you can’t breathe…… Let the Israelis fix them for us. It will take them about a week. They have been doing that with our weapons for years.

    • Steve Snow

      Just put remote control units in them and fight from anywhere in the world. Saves money on gas. Telecommute!! LOL!

  • hassan

    شاید مربوط به اثر میدان مغناطیسی موجود در کابین خلبان باشد که مغز خلبان بویزه بصل النخاع خلبان را که مرکز کنترل تنفس می باشد راتحت تاثیر قرار می دهد.

    • James

      Well said! ***shrugs***

      • Steve Snow

        He said he thinks there might be a magnetic field in the cockpit that is messing with the pilots breathing control center. Why he posted in (what looks like) Arabic, I don’t know.

        Translation courtesy of Bing Translator.

        • Steve Snow

          LMFAO!!!!! They censored the first part of the word for the place the pilot sits!!!

          What a world!!!

  • http://webpro Tim

    This is on top of corrosion problems (all ready!), A data link system that is inferior to the system used on F-16/F-15/F-18 and a helmet sight system that is no where near fielding. F-22 is great if it can take out a target BVR (beyond visual range) but 99% of the time they need to visually confirm the target. In a knock down -drag out fight kill goes to the better pilot (at least against something like a Super Hornet.)

    • joesgarage

      The contract for this pig was awarded in 1993. Has yet to fly a combat mission…politcal ploy..the F23 was the better plane

  • Henry Smith

    The selection of the F-22 rather than the F-23 was a decision made in congress rather than by scientists. The congresman from GA wanted it built ther rather than in CA. It’s been an albatros since the beginning.

    • GordonC

      Harry, you sound like one of those bitter retired Northrop guys who still can’t get over the fact that the best aircraft won the competition!

  • Christopher in San Jose

    LOL! “oxygen depravation”. Since when has oxygen ever been depraved???

  • http://www.retiredmilitaryrelocation.com RMR Raptor Man

    Aim High Air Force

  • kathryne Dicks

    I believe the point of the article was supposed to oxygen “deprivation” and not depravation. Whether the pilots are “depraved” is the subject of another article, I am sure. Possibly for Hussler, Playboy, or on of those magazines that come behind plain brown wrappers. Oxygen, however cannot be depraved. Writers of articles, can and often do suffer of basic lack of vocabulary, grammar, punctuation, etc. These days people use certain words such as infamy and notorious, when they just mean famous, and it is becoming accepted. But I am pretty sure deprivation and depravation, should never, ever be used interchangeably.

    • John

      Well-said, but the magazine is “Hustler” not “Hussler”



    • tom

      americans can’t spell…DA’S

    • A. Weiner

      …and it’s “one”, not “on”. You do, on the other hand, seem to suffer from a basic lack of spelling.

    • Renaldo

      Yes, this article writer is more interested in bizarre SEO phrasing than in getting the facts, grammar, and spelling correct.

  • Adrian88

    “Of course, two instances of oxygen depravation were recorded during a few test flights following the removal of the vest, though General Lyons seems to think this was a result of some unrelated mechanical issues.”

  • Ed

    I’m amazed we’re spending $143mm/jet for a war we’ll never fight. The last ten years of war could have been fought with low cost turboprop updated versions of WW2 aircraft like the P-51 or the B-25/26.

    • TJ

      Good idea.

      Lets continue to outfit the US Military with outdated equipment as the Chinese and Russian continue to develop newer technology.

      Thanks for insight Ed.

      • Austin

        That is just not correct.
        The Russians and Chinese are developing more advanced weaponry, but that does not mean our weapons are outdated. Even without this F22 our air forces are still more advanced than their air forces.

        • Mark

          Yes but eventually they will catch up. You don’t sit and wait for others to catch up, you stay AHEAD !

          Allowing anyone to catch up only puts the U.S. at a disadvantage in the event there is ever any conflict or war. Why would we want that?

    • Renaldo

      Development costs may be relatively expensive — at 150 million per jet — but once they go into production, the unit cost goes down. I’d think someone who reads a business-oriented website like this one would understand this.

  • GordonC

    Anti-g suits are not designed to “keep the lungs from exploding.” They are designed to keep the blood from pooling in the lower extremities during high g maneuvers. It has nothing to do with altitude. The cockpits are pressurized for that purpose.

  • Chris

    wonder if NASA has been asked to help??

  • Heath

    bring back the f117!

    • Mikael

      I heard that 911 is made by US government

  • Minhaj

    143 millions can safe lots of lifes if we dont expend on this killer jet.

    • Austin

      Not exactly… using this killer jet to kill bad guys saves more lives than not using this and watching those bad guys kill innocent people 😛

    • Minhaj

      Our message should be for peace only.

      • Jessie

        Maybe we should ask to be forgiven for 911 also

    • Renaldo

      It’s a character flaw to envy other people their ability to spend their money. Spend less time worrying about what people do with their money, and more time building yourself and your family.

  • joe

    General Lions, I served under that guy in Operation Iraqi Freedom. You couldn’t ask for a better commander. :)

  • Dave Mercer

    Whatever the problem is, it should be fixed correctly before sending anymore pilots on anymore missions!