F-22 Controversy Expands with Panetta, Maintainers
Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has restricted the flight envelopes of the F-22 Raptor and ordered the Air Force to
take additional steps to mitigate risks to F-22 pilots, George Little, acting assistant secretary of defense for public affairs, said…
Panetta reportedly directed the Air Force to “expedite” the installation of a backup oxygen system, though that system won’t be ready until later this year anyway — and it will take nearly a year and a half to modify all the Raptors.
The Air Force as much as admitted its most recent response was a reaction to the 60 Minutes interview by two Raptor pilots who had refused to fly the F-22 due to its oxygen system problems.
Panetta made this decision in part due to the reluctance of some pilots to fly the aircraft, Little said.
“Secretary Panetta believes the department must do everything possible to ensure pilot safety and minimize flight risks,” Little said.
More pilots reportedly came forward after the 60 Minutes segment:
After the segment aired, other F-22 pilots have contacted Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill), a former Air National Guard pilot, and Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-Va.) to address concerns about the F-22.
The Air Force Times said it was actually 7 airmen, including “a couple” of flight surgeons and likely some maintainers.