F-22 Pilots Refuse to Fly, Seek Whistleblower Status

While the widow of Capt Jeff Haney sues the Air Force, two other pilots appeared on the CBS show 60 Minutes with a Congressman, seeking military whistleblower status to publicize their complaints against the F-22.

Maj. Jeremy Gordon and Capt. Joshua Wilson have chosen to stop flying the F-22 because they say during some flights they and other pilots have experienced oxygen deprivation, disorientation, and worse…

They are so concerned they have taken the extraordinary step of risking their careers by appearing on 60 Minutes in uniform — and without permission — to blow the whistle on a plane they love to fly…

The pilots could face further disciplinary action for speaking to us which is why this man was seated just off to the side throughout the interview. He’s Congressman Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, an Air Force pilot himself, who Josh and Jeremy went to with their concerns in order to gain protection under the Military Whistleblowers Act.

The Air Force had only recently acknowledged that a “small number” of pilots were refusing to fly the F-22.  The article indicates Capt Wilson has been reprimanded for his refusal to fly, while Maj Gordon has been placed in a medical status that precludes flying, and they indicated potential reprisals for those who may have wanted to speak out.  Both are members of the Virginia National Guard.

Their chosen Congressmand, Rep Adam Kinzinger, is also a National Guard pilot, flying the KC-135; he was previously listed as one of the top “crushworthy” new members of Congress.

Lockheed Martin, the contractor who delivered the last F-22 just last week, reportedly engaged in a Twitter campaign to keep the news positive, while the US Air Force published an article saying it was “confident” in the F-22.

As to the pilots, their perspective is bleak:

“We are waiting for something to happen,” Capt. Wilson said. “And if it happens, nobody’s going to be surprised. I think it’s a matter of time.”