Home » Air » F-22 Ground Crew Suffered Hypoxia-Like Symptoms

F-22 Ground Crew Suffered Hypoxia-Like Symptoms

by John Reed on May 9, 2012

Fresh on the heels of yesterday’s announcement by the Air Force that it thinks the hypoxia-like symptoms suffered by F-22 Raptor pilots may be caused by the jets high-altitude performance, reports are emerging that ground crew are also suffering from similar ailments when they stand near the jet while it’s engines are running. Interesting.

At least five ground maintainers complained of illness between September and December, Air Combat Command spokesman Lt. Col. Tadd Sholtis said in an Air Force Times article that hit the newsstands Monday. The maintainers grew sick after breathing in ambient air during ground engine runs, a congressional aide told Air Force Times.

I imagine that the service is looking at the rates of sickness for ground crew of other jets to make sure that the Raptor maintainers are actually suffering from something unique to the stealth jet. If they are, it seems to indicate that the problem is indeed related to contaminates emanating from the plane rather than a lack of oxygen getting to the pilots during flight. Just yesterday, one of the Air Force’s top acquisitions officials, Lt. Gen. Janet Wolfenbarger told Senators that the service suspects that the F-22’s  On-Board Oxygen Generating Systems (OBOGS) are either feeding the pilots contaminated air or aren’t giving them enough air to breath. She added that the problem may be related to the extreme altitudes that Raptors routinely execute high-G maneuvers in. Needless to say, this latest news puts an interesting twist on that claim.

Apparently, F-22 ground crew have been issued canisters designed to take air samples whenever they feel the onset of hypoxia.

 

 

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{ 236 comments… read them below or add one }

Matt Sturgeon May 9, 2012 at 10:47 am

Wow. This just flies in the face of what the AF said yesterday which was basically that "Pilots are sick because the plane is just so badass".

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Jeff May 9, 2012 at 12:03 pm

No it doesn't… they said they their root cause analysis narrowed things down to two likely causes: 1) Failure to get enough oxygen to pilots lungs OR 2) Contaminates getting into the oxygen system. The first is a mechanical falure to provide enough O2 density or a failure to provide adequete pressure. The second is a physical failure, where seals are not as tight as intended. These reports support the notion that its possibility (2) that's causing the problems.

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Nick May 9, 2012 at 1:04 pm

Those aren't likely causes, they are all of the possible causes, that's what hypoxia *is*.

I'm sure the ground crews were also performing high altitude maneuvers, that's why they're sick.

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passingby May 10, 2012 at 1:48 am

what drugs were they using?

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Jeff May 10, 2012 at 5:49 am

I'm not arguing whether the Air Forces explanation is a good one, just that I think they are being consistent.

I quote: "…the Air Force has figured out that its likely some combination of high operating altitudes and intense maneuvering at those altitudes that is causing either toxins to seep into the F-22 pilots’ oxygen supplies or allowing insufficient amounts of oxygen to reach the pilots’ lungs."

That is to say the pilots are not sick because of the maneuvering at altitude but that they are sick because doing so allows some fault in design to cause hypoxia. Maneuvering at altitude is a scenario, some fault in design is the cause of hypoxia. Eliminating maneuvering and altitude from the equation the failure in design still exists and is thus the cause, though not the impetus.

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Jeff May 10, 2012 at 5:56 am

There are always other pausible causes… for example you could have contaminents within the O2 system, in the form of improper materials being used in the design, plastics or coatings that off-gas at altitude.

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Matt Sturgeon May 9, 2012 at 4:32 pm

Jeff, according to the AF yesterday the cause was the aggressive maneuvering at high altitudes, AKA the Raptors total awesomeness in action. Now unless the ground crews are packed up and stored in the weapons bays during flight I have a hard time seeing how the total high altitude kick ass overall awesomeness of the F22 is to blame for hypoxia like symptoms in the GROUND CREW.

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Jeff May 10, 2012 at 5:57 am

I quote: "…the Air Force has figured out that its likely some combination of high operating altitudes and intense maneuvering at those altitudes that is causing either toxins to seep into the F-22 pilots’ oxygen supplies or allowing insufficient amounts of oxygen to reach the pilots’ lungs."

If the ground crew is getting sick it is consistent with the cause being altitude-maneuvering induced seepage of toxic gases… and that the ground crew is being exposed to the same.

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SJE May 9, 2012 at 3:35 pm

No, it doesnt. Its just so Badass that just being near it causes breathing problems. Or, what the antebellum ladies would say "a touch of the vapors"

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EJ257 May 9, 2012 at 11:00 am

What the heck? Did they forget to open the hangar doors?

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Uranium238 May 9, 2012 at 11:34 am

I was just thinking the same thing..

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Dan'L May 15, 2012 at 6:38 pm

maybe the pilot flying at 100000 ft at mack 3 is having a different problem then the ground crew sucking in fumes

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jeffscism May 17, 2012 at 1:44 pm

Maybe 40K and Mach 2.

Perhaps the heated exhaust and the stealth materials are to blame.

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jeffscism May 17, 2012 at 1:48 pm

perhaps they need to separate air intake from Engine intake.

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Pat May 9, 2012 at 11:04 am

Weird, almost unheard of…

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Mark May 9, 2012 at 11:10 am

I knew it. Obviously it's the result of the Warpness Cells inistiating a cascading poleron field around the plane. ;P

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UAVGeek May 9, 2012 at 11:57 am

It's Thalaron Radiation. You thought it was theoretical but they've somehow harnessed it for the F-22's rumored death ray.

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carloscardoso May 9, 2012 at 4:33 pm

Well, in that case it´s only a matter of inverting the polarity.

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UAVGeek May 10, 2012 at 10:56 am

You've got it wrong, Warp fields have phase variances, not polarity.

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passingby May 10, 2012 at 12:39 pm

correction: fart variances, not phase variances.

blight_ May 9, 2012 at 12:33 pm

It's a leak on the buoyancy tanks of the Ninth Ray. Or was it the Tenth?

Barsoomian aircraft don't have this problem!!!

Edit: Eighth Ray is buoyancy, ninth ray is for the life support plant.

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ChrisCicc May 9, 2012 at 12:38 pm

Warp Nacelles. Warp. Nacelles.

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vic May 15, 2012 at 7:28 pm

Clearly a Klingon plan to sabotage the jets!

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TheRocketeer May 16, 2012 at 8:53 am

Get your junk science right – it's "Warp Nacelles"
Learn to spell "initiating".
(Obviously someone who never reads sci-fi or real science, just watches it on the noob toob.)

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Schmedenchuler May 17, 2012 at 12:37 am

Thank you Mark for the best laugh I've had in months. Some may take your comment as trivial; I think it's the funniest line I've heard all week. As a flight medic, I've been schooled to death about hypoxia(s), but obviously we haven't considered the dang ole warpness cells instiating a cascading poleron field. Who would've thunk? You're a frickin rocket scientest. Thanks again, I needed that. More power to 'ya.

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Uranium238 May 9, 2012 at 11:36 am

I'm guessing that since this has not happened until recently, this could be a bogus claim for benefits.

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Vaporhead May 10, 2012 at 7:24 am

I agree. This plane has been around for over 10 years and this is the first we heard of this. I'm betting it's not the aircraft, but the drunk/hungover crew chief feeling like crap from the previous nights partying. I remember being young and dumb when I was in the Air Force. It would be status quo to go get smashed and have to work early in the morning.

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Torrey Miller May 15, 2012 at 8:23 pm

Hey Vaporhead, I was also a crew chief in the AF. This next comment goes two fold. With your comment about partying…every crew chief knows to cure a hangover you set the aircraft oxygen system to “emergency” and breathe. Now, with that being said it could be a problem with the oxygen system being contaminated. Who really knows?? I guess we will find out soon enough.

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jeffscism May 17, 2012 at 1:49 pm

not really. the f-22 uses a lot of stealth materials not used elsewhere.

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Noha307 May 9, 2012 at 11:43 am

This story just keeps getting weirder and weirder. Now the ground crew have breathing problems? The altitude and maneuverability explanation actually seemed like it was kind of making sense, but not anymore. (By the way, determining whether that explanation is valid seems simple enough, just fly the planes strait and level at low altitude and check if the pilots experience the same problems. If they do, then that theory is out the window; if not then further testing may be required.) Could it be something to do with the fuel the engines are burning? I kind of doubt it, but I'm running out of explanations for the problem.

By the way, how 'bout in addition to offering the ground crew and pilots canisters [to use when they experience hypoxia] also giving them emergency oxygen bottles so that they don't DIE or CRASH? At least as a temporary measure – it can't be THAT hard to do?

Finally, anybody find it odd that a new explanation was advanced shortly after the 2 pilots were interviewed on 60 Minutes? I mean that just HAS to be a coincidence, right?

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Jeff May 9, 2012 at 12:12 pm

IF its an external contaminate getting into the Oxygen system as was suggested by the Air Force the altitude and maneuverability explanation still stand. I imagine there is some O-ring somewhere that under just the right g-load condition is allowing air out of the O2 generator and letting air from some other system into it.

The pilots of F22's have oxygen canisters… its the emergency system, but the complaints been that by the onset of hypoxeia is noticable the pilots too disorientated to pull the ring to activate the emergency system.

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vicswife May 15, 2012 at 7:17 pm

Oxygen canisters is what I initially thought they meant. I guess they can stand outside the plane and die while they take air samples. JEEEZ! Bogus claims? Remember the soldiers and airmen who were told to stand and watch atomic explosions?? Not the first time (nor the last) the military will put its own second to the mission.

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Don May 15, 2012 at 8:58 pm

If the plane has a on board oxygen system like a C-141 used years ago
there should be no issue. The system needs to be purge from time to time .
Not sure the system used on this fighter . Sounds like World War 1 teck used
for the gas mask.
I worked flight line in Nam for over 2 years doing engine runs , pressurize check the aircraft on the ground no issue like what you people are talking.
Use what works .

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Mack531 May 15, 2012 at 9:37 pm

RE: The fuel the engines are burning: I came across a technical paper some while back about loading jet fuel with Aluminum Oxide nanoparticles (two Aluminum and three Oxygen) — in one test up to 40% by weight. The particles are so small (40nM) that they do no harm, but add a tremendous amount of oxygen to the combustion reaction in the engine. Thrust, range and altitude capability are all boosted as a result. The aircraft could essentially carry its own Oxygen supply (totally inert) right in the fuel, enabling it to fly much higher. There are a number of toxicology reports out of Wright Pat discussing the hazards of inhaling Aluminum Oxide np. It suppresses the immune system in the Alveoli of the lungs, making it impossible for white blood cells to engulf pathogens. I've also heard it affects the nervous system. Maybe they are breathing in the residue from np enhanced fuel.

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jeffscism May 17, 2012 at 1:56 pm

There is an emergency O2 bottle on the ejection seat. Although it is only good for 4-8 minutes. However if contaminated air is still coming through the delivery hose the pilot would have to disconnect, activate the o2 bottle, and immediately descend below 14,900 feet, and vent the co ckpit. He would and should declare an emergency and ground the A/c as quickly as possible. Sounds like Carbon Monoxide poisoning.

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UAVGeek May 9, 2012 at 11:56 am

Might this be some sort of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning? That would be a common explanation for Hypoxia in open atmosphere.

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UAVgeek May 9, 2012 at 3:25 pm

I used to know someone who ran an AF lab (used mostly for administering drug tests) and they could detect all sorts of things about a person by analyzing hair, body fluids, fingernail shavings etc. I'm sure the affected ground crews are probably having the above biological sources torn apart in a lab to find out what's going on.

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passingby May 10, 2012 at 12:03 pm

did you even read the blood test report???????????

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UAVgeek May 10, 2012 at 1:36 pm

Did you? If you have it, help everyone by linking it instead of taking a snot-nosed attitude. Since I'm familiar with official investigations I assure you, the material is not above my head.

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passingby May 10, 2012 at 2:26 pm

LOL!!! You are showing symptoms of hypoxia. May I remind you that you are the one trying to establish the cause, not me. You should be the one reading the blood test report. Don't you think? LOL

So … what about the official investigation so far …?

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MikeinSATX May 17, 2012 at 10:16 am

CO poisoning seems to be the most likely candidate, IMHO. I seriously doubt Uranium238's explanation that this is just a "ploy for benetits" claims can be justified. I worked on the flightline for many years. I've never seen the maintainers try to fake an illness en masse.. These guys (and gals) are much to busy to involve themselves with such silliness. Has this poster ever worked on the flightline?

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Beno May 9, 2012 at 12:03 pm

Vibrational, Sounds compression wave effects.Nausea
, lighheadedness. Low B.P. Its not totally unheard of ??? I dont think I've ever heard a case of this to the point of unconciousness ?

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DGR May 9, 2012 at 1:36 pm

The AF had a prop experimantal aircraft back in the 50s I believe, cant remember what it was called, something like the Thunderstreak??? But its prop went supersonic so ground crews were subjected to a constant sonic boom, most crew members reported illness after working on it.

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blight_ May 9, 2012 at 1:52 pm

That's Republic for you. The Thunderscreech…lived up to it's name. Hah.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Republic_XF-84H_Thun

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*Sigh* May 10, 2012 at 10:00 am

Wikipedia? Really?

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*double sigh* May 10, 2012 at 10:42 am

Get over yourself

vic May 15, 2012 at 7:55 pm

The F-84-F and its many spinoffs (no pun intended!) I should have said experimental prototypes. These planes had many problems and were only in use for a short time by the USAF, but used longer by several foreign countries. Interestingly, Fairchild-Republic made the A-10, the Warthog, while the F-84-Fs were called Superhogs. Now the A-10, while aging, IS an ass-kicking weapon, a great plane that has stood the test of time! Watch some of the videos on http://www.military.com sometime.

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vicswife May 15, 2012 at 7:20 pm

Makes a lot of sense. Could also be fumes from the stealth coating they put on the plane, as was stated in the comment below.

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Gladius May 9, 2012 at 12:09 pm

Or it can be something in stelth coat.

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Uranium238 May 9, 2012 at 12:14 pm

Don't the F-22s now sport the new F-35 coatings? Why aren't the crews of the 60+ F-35s built suffering from it too?

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Nick T. May 9, 2012 at 1:28 pm

At least the Crews of the 35's aren't suffering from this. (Yet…)

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WRG01 May 9, 2012 at 2:30 pm

No, it's far worse for the F35 pilots and ground crews. They get diarrhea.

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dedef May 9, 2012 at 5:43 pm

LOOOL!

tiger May 9, 2012 at 11:34 pm

That is very possible.

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EW3 May 9, 2012 at 12:39 pm

"a congressional aide told Air Force Times."

Congressional aids have been known to do things for political purposes.
And the Air Force Times is owned by Gannett Press which like any other media outlet needs stories to get readership.

Just sayin'

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WRG01 May 9, 2012 at 1:46 pm

This is why I always weigh and measure what is said to a congressional aide. They have an agenda.

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Sgt Maj May 9, 2012 at 12:43 pm

Now that personnel being in proximity to the plane have breathing problems I wonder what the plant workers who built the aircraft have to say? Silence so far from the builders.

One theory on the secrecy of places like Area 51 is that the real reason they are so secret isn't ET tech or aliens it is that is is such a environmental disaster that they want to keep quiet. Maybe we have an answer finally, the off-gassing of the plane's coatings is the main contributing factor behind the low oxygen symptoms, coatings that may have been developed at secret sites that are now storing the old unseccessful formulas and base chemicals in sites that wouldn't pass muster with the EPA.

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Vaporhead May 10, 2012 at 7:28 am

Not sure why they are voting your comment down. I think they actually believe the government wouldn't be complicit in hurting it's own people. So naive they are.

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passingby May 10, 2012 at 7:45 am

Ground crews are not supposed to be anywhere near the plane when the engine is running.

Area 51 is mostly a testing site for black budget military technology and weaponry. ETs are just nonsense. Footage of manned moon landings are believed to have been staged there.

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passingby May 10, 2012 at 7:51 am

damn me. Last sentence should read: Manned moon landings are believed to have been staged there.

That's for those who don't believe the authenticity of NASA's photos and videos, myself included.

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Mike May 10, 2012 at 9:15 am

You obviously have never been on a flightline during operations. Another genius poster.

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passingby May 10, 2012 at 9:42 am

wanna brag about safety code violations?

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UAVGeek May 10, 2012 at 10:47 am

You have obviously never worked on a real flightline. Engine Running Offload/Onload? "Last Chance" pad? The Chocks get pulled while the engine is running as well.

dockem May 10, 2012 at 5:06 pm

If off gasing of the aircrafts skin is a problem than why hasn't there been a problem with the F-117 stelth coating.?

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tiger May 11, 2012 at 8:19 am

We don't fly them anymore.

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snufy May 15, 2012 at 11:27 pm

Remember whenPresident Bill Clinton signed an executive order keeping the environmental hazards ar Grooom Lake secret, after some employees wanted to sue the Government ? They were suffering serious illnesses and wanted to know what chemicals were being stored and used there, as well as being burned in an open trench. Who knows what the chemical makeup of F-22 fuel is…

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Skyepapa May 9, 2012 at 12:58 pm

Another glaring possibility is that we're looking at two different issues: one that effects pilots flying in the extreme margins and another that effects ground crew. An earlier comment asked if they forgot to open the hangar doors, maybe as a joke, but seriously, maybe they aren't opening the hanger doors. The story says "At least five ground maintainers complained of illness between September and December." If these ground crew are in Anchorage then its already below freezing in September.

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AF Maintainer May 9, 2012 at 4:12 pm

If they weren't opening hanger doors while running power to the jet it would be a major safety violation. There's no way Quality Assurance (QA) or any of the flight chiefs would allow that.

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Guest May 10, 2012 at 1:26 am

I believe that was a prblem for f22 pilots (and crews) that were/ are stationed in alaska.Thought i saw something on that.

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passingby May 10, 2012 at 7:28 am

It's very cold up there in Anchorage. You can't leave the hanger doors open. LOL.

Bottom line: this is a design + QC issue, and on top of that, inadequate testing.

Spare the pilots and the ground crew.

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passingby May 10, 2012 at 10:55 am

Remember, hypoxia is why the airplane flew into the Twin Towers when they demolished it. It's not uncommon in pilots

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passingby May 10, 2012 at 11:13 am

not true, impostor

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Rieley May 16, 2012 at 7:25 am

Come on now, folks…engine runs are NOT done in the hanger!! Been off the flightline for a while, but seriously! I wonder what info "they" get during launch/recovery.

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anonymous May 16, 2012 at 8:36 pm

No but they do run the APUs in the shelters. The shelters at Anchorage have exhaust vents but it's possible that some gasses are escaping and affecting maintainers. Another problem at Anchorage is that the air gets so cold during some parts of the winter that you get kind of an inversion layer where exhaust gasses from cars and furnaces just sit along the ground. This may be part of what's happening with the aircraft too.

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BJBK03 May 17, 2012 at 1:28 pm

However, engine runs are done in a hush house or test cell that have to have the doors closed in order to run.

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jose May 9, 2012 at 1:09 pm

Of course, these symptoms can easily by psychosomatic as well. Anxiety and shallow breathing can quickly cause similar symptoms. This happens all the time once word gets around that people might be at risk for something. I could go to any random office building and tell people there might be a carbon monoxide problem or toxic mold problem or gas leak… and I can guarantee some people will quickly develop symptoms of light-headedness, nausea, headaches, etc just from their own anxiety. Anxiety and fear of the unknown are powerful forces.

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HarveytheRabbit May 9, 2012 at 1:23 pm

Roger that. You can't rule it out.

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Matt Sturgeon May 9, 2012 at 5:06 pm

While I agree this behavior does take place, the effects of hypoxia like symptoms are testable, demonstrable. The ground crews have been given air detectors. The pilots love to fly. Hypoxia symptoms impair mental capacity. You think you have 15k gallons of fuel you actually have 1.5k gallons kinda thing. The mental facilities are degraded which leads to mistakes which leads to crashes. Its not just a poison that slowly puts people to sleep.

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Defender60 May 13, 2012 at 12:25 am

That is very true.

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Ron May 13, 2012 at 8:50 pm

Very true. I have a touch of anxiety disorder myself and boy sometimes it just snowballs into 'heart attack' 'passing out', etc…. I calm down and relax and all better. All can happen for no apparent reason but put me on a plane and they close the door before takeoff and then that feeling can just come out of nowhere.

So a little normal g-force or 'feeling' when flying that jet could definitely be anxiety related when this kind of news is lingering in your head.

I wonder if they check the pilots blood oxygen levels before and then after flying. That be a smart thing to do. You would think for 400 million there would be an on-board blood oxygen sensor, cockpit carbon monoxide sensor like in your home and blood pressure monitor. Ya think????

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IronV May 9, 2012 at 1:13 pm

There hints of mass hysteria here…

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Nessuno May 9, 2012 at 2:46 pm

Bingo. You beat me to it.

These latest reports are symptoms of mass hysteria. It is shockingly common and very difficult to root out once it has set in.

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jeffscism May 17, 2012 at 4:55 pm

naw they aren't saying gas pedal is sticking and there is NO floor mat.

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Dfens May 9, 2012 at 1:17 pm

"If you're suffering from hypoxia, perform this complicated task right before you pass out so we can measure the contaminants in the air." Hmm, seem like the same thing they told that pilot that landed in the smoking hole in Alaska.

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HarveytheRabbit May 9, 2012 at 1:25 pm

Does anyone find that clever? Anyone? Anyone?

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blight_ May 9, 2012 at 1:54 pm

Doesn't have to be clever if that's what they expected the pilot to do.

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Dfens May 9, 2012 at 4:12 pm

They are redesigning the ring for the auxillary oxygen bottle. I have no idea how complex the air sampling system is for these ground crew, but still the idea that you're providing people who are literally suffocating to collect air samples. What could possibly go wrong?

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Mike June 28, 2012 at 8:35 pm

No, they're not.

I do.

Much.

Mike June 28, 2012 at 8:34 pm

What's complicated about turning a knob?

They didn't tell the "pilot that landed in the smoking hole in Alaska" anything. If they had, it probably wouldn't have been to turn a knob. More likely, it would have been to pull a ring.

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Jayson May 9, 2012 at 1:26 pm

Awesome undiscovered secret weapon of the F22. Now they can just flyby enemies and knock them unconscious! Just need a little refinement so it isn't focussing on our guys and up the strength.

ok I dunno but it's a cool idea.

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Black Owl May 9, 2012 at 1:37 pm

I have now lost faith in the F-22. We should not deploy these fighters until we take them completely apart and dissect them till we find the problem. If we send these over seas now we are risking highly classified technology and materials needlessly over foreign soil. That is unacceptable.

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tiger May 9, 2012 at 3:31 pm

Well Owl, we agree on something. Rare. Lets go to Edwards AFB with a line F-22 & tear it down to the screws. Go over every component and put it back together. This thing is getting spooky.

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WRG01 May 9, 2012 at 1:46 pm

Reading articles about the F22 is giving me hypoxia-like symptoms.

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Ftank May 16, 2012 at 2:16 am

This is the best comment yet, I laughed ouy loud!

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WRG01 May 9, 2012 at 1:48 pm

Fkn Honey Badger will fly the F22 and service it. Honey Badger don't give a sh*t.

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guest1 May 10, 2012 at 1:59 pm

In other news, P-51 pilots complained about flak cannons and Messerschmitts. The ground crews agreed.

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Dfens May 13, 2012 at 12:22 am

Right, because having your own aircraft kill you is just like facing the enemy, except for that part where we are supposed to be the pilot's friends.

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Lt Pines May 15, 2012 at 9:05 pm

That's enough Jeremy. Back to our "star in a reasonably priced car!"

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Paul May 9, 2012 at 1:54 pm

I bet some of the RAM coating material making its way through the obogs filtration and our pilots are breathing the crap in when the obogs is switched on since the plane and pilot receive their air through same coated air inlets.

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Uranium238 May 9, 2012 at 3:09 pm

Strong possibility too. If they have to respray the coating on, are they doing it with the inlets open or closed off? Overspray could be infiltrating the bleed air system even.

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DGR May 9, 2012 at 3:23 pm

Maybe on one or 2 aircraft, but not on all of them. This also would have been fairly easy to identify early on. This investigation has taken months and they havnt found anything. Good guess, but not really possible considering what they have already eliminated.

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Mike May 10, 2012 at 9:23 am

Good grief, your wrong on every account you have given. This issue has nothing to do with the RAM coating. Nor does the pilot breath air through the "same coated air inlets" Particulate matter in the filters is carbon based, NOT made of RAM coatings. Is kiddy hour over yet?

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Vaporhead May 10, 2012 at 1:01 pm

The F-22's do have issues with the RAM FOD'ing out the motors. Good chance it's getting into the bleed system as well.

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Defender60 May 13, 2012 at 12:22 am

That could be but if so the material would be detected in the pilot's airway. Much like in computer tech, when trying to diagnose, you keep changing variables until you find the one part or situation that makes a difference. I am stunned that they can't figure this out.

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Paul May 9, 2012 at 2:02 pm

I.E. sucks!
I bet some of the RAM coating material making its way through the obogs filtration and our pilots are breathing the crap in when the obogs is switched on since the plane and pilot receive their air through same coated air inlets.

Read more: http://defensetech.org/2012/05/09/f-22-ground-cre
Defense.org

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Tad May 9, 2012 at 2:13 pm

F22 is so high performance that even being near it causes people to get breathless. Like The Beatles and teenage girls.

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citanon May 9, 2012 at 9:02 pm

The F22 is really just Chuck Norris in a Skyscream costume.

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SXO May 10, 2012 at 10:10 am

You mean Starscream.

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WeJ_II May 15, 2012 at 6:58 pm

OMG LOL too bad the F22 is mostly hype; but then so were the Beatles.

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DGR May 9, 2012 at 3:21 pm

Yup, acording to AFtimes.com the ground crews who experianced sickness where inside the cockpit at the time. Situation normal, same situation, same part thats broken/not working/not sure whats up. Same story that can go back to the high performance point of view that maybe something with the aircraft performance is causing this. Carry on

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The Bigfoot May 10, 2012 at 10:20 am

Told my troops years ago, Do Not stand near and breathe the exhaust for a cheap high.

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jose May 9, 2012 at 3:22 pm

The pilots aren't likely to be experiencing psychosomatic symptoms since they would have been screened for such tendencies. But the ground crew probably aren't much more resistant to anxiety and psychosomatic symptoms than an average healthy person.

It's still possible with the pilots, of course, just less likely.

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tiger May 9, 2012 at 3:43 pm

Take 2 or 3 F-22's out to Edwards and tear them down to the screws. Put a team together & examine every single hose, screw, clamp, wire, etc. Lab tests on the chemical make up of all materials. The engines put on a test bed & run to measure exhaust output. Treat this just like the Shuttle shuttle investigation. Pull in folks from NASA, Boeing & Northrop with a independent view. Examine the non plane factors. Fuel, uniforms, equipement, cleaning materials, de-icers, etc.

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guess May 9, 2012 at 4:50 pm

Love your plan. But out just makes too much damn sense. So I don’t see them doing it. Let alone with an independent review board

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Robert Pattinson May 10, 2012 at 9:30 pm

This is exactly what they have been doing for more than a year… No one seems to notice that little detail in this whole ordeal. They have the smartest minds in the entire aerospace industry and aeromedical fields working this problem at Wright-Patterson. Come on people.

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passingby May 10, 2012 at 9:51 pm

how do you know?

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erbgvey May 10, 2012 at 11:18 pm

he does not… and Wright Patt would not be where the work is…

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Eric Hannestad May 15, 2012 at 6:42 pm

or just replace them with the F23

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Torrey Miller May 26, 2012 at 10:12 am

Tiger, I like the idea of grounding a few A/C for this type of testing. The only thing that bothers me is the fact of the length of the investigation. While this would be taking place, other crews would possibly be in danger while flying this A/C with no immediated results from the tests. I am in A/C production as a civilian. Every A/C part has some kind of material traceability from the vendor/manufacturer and lab results for chemical makeup and other testing per FAA, MSDS and OSHA standards. The only thing about taking an A/C to "bare bones" like you are talking about is tracing the exact batch to which specific A/C. If this A/C were built with a "bench stock" type of parts issuance system for general hardware, then there would be no tracability. They would have to ground EVERY A/C that was built from the time the hardware/parts hit the floor until this particular material was consumed. That could be a lot of A/C grounded and creating a national security issue.

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Lance May 9, 2012 at 4:24 pm

Time to fix the oxygen system on the plane get over it brass.

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DGR May 9, 2012 at 5:14 pm

They know this, they have known this, that is why they are spending millions trying to find out what part needs to be fixed. Nobody is denying its broken, they are trying to fix it and they are being very clear about that. But its plain stupid to just start replacing stuff without knowing what needs replaced. Is it a $5 nut and bolt, or a 5 million dollar system? Without knowing the root cause there is nothing that can be done to fix the issue.

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Dfens May 9, 2012 at 4:25 pm

As I recall, both the B-2 and F-22 programs had complaints of workers forming structural parts having breathing problems. In both instances the company executives these people worked for at Boeing and Lockheed, respetively, alleged the cause to be "mass hysteria", yet in both cases the cure had nothing to do with psychotropic medications, but was instead increased ventilation in the work areas where the composite structural parts were being formed. It seems likely that as these planes sit, they continue to outgass small amounts of the same substances that caused problems in the manufacturing facilities. Perhaps the first course of action for the Air Force should be the same, increasing ventilation in the hangars and providing fans to blow air across outside work areas. It wouldn't cost a lot and might fix the problem.

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Vaporhead May 10, 2012 at 8:57 am

Northrup made the B-2, not Boeing or Lockheed.

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Dfens May 10, 2012 at 1:30 pm

I'll bet you learned everything you know from the internet.

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Matt90 May 9, 2012 at 5:18 pm

Could it be that the engines are just that big and they put off that much CO2? If it was cold and they were doing the runup under an open shelter wouldn't the gas stick around since it's denser than air, especially if there was no wind?

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Name May 9, 2012 at 5:52 pm

Just hang one of those little Christmas tree air fresheners. You'll be fine.

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harrie May 9, 2012 at 7:51 pm

Could a foreign agent possibly sabotaged the F-22 somehow? Just say'n…lots of Chinese hacking these days…

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blight_ May 9, 2012 at 10:05 pm

If foreign agents have infiltrated your ground crews, you are screwed.

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Dfens May 9, 2012 at 11:15 pm

We have found the enemy and they are us.

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Brian Black May 9, 2012 at 9:53 pm

I’ll suggest trichothecene mycotoxin poisoning, as no one else seems to have come up with that yet.

Trace contaminants inhaled by pilots could cause symptoms of headaches, confusion, disorientation, dizziness, heart palpitations and acute dyspnea within a short flight of an hour or two. Could also cause the persistent ‘Raptor cough’ that’s been reported. Checkin O2 and CO2 levels, or looking for external contamination through leaks wouldn’t turn it up, and there’s no military bio-warfare field test for it – lab tests would be required. Fungi could produce the toxins, living in moisture condensing within the air system due to the temperature changes experienced operating in Alaska. That’s my stab in the dark.

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blight_ May 9, 2012 at 10:04 pm

Leave out some Sabouraud Dextrose plates.

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Brian Black May 11, 2012 at 7:00 am

A lack of growth on the plates would not necessarily rule this out though. Fungi could live within an air system, and there could be filters in that system that would filter out the spores from the output air while allowing relevent levels of the mycotoxin through. Without the spores, you'd have no colonial growth on the plates.

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blight_ May 11, 2012 at 8:18 am

That is a possibility. Air filter, run solution through it to resuspend captured particulate, ELISA or MS.

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Men In Black May 9, 2012 at 10:40 pm

Is it possible they are mixing in an additive to reduce the radar signature of the exhaust? The SR-71 added cesium to the fuel for this purpose. In the case of the F-22, it may not be cesium, but what if there’s some other additive that’s being mixed into the fuel that could be causing these problems. Would definitely explain the how maintainers are experiencing similar problems when the aircraft is on the ground.

Just a thought.

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Dfens May 9, 2012 at 11:21 pm

I wondered about that too. In retrospect, it's too bad they didn't think to go with a separate, dedicated compressor for life support instead of taking air off the engine's compressor stages. These new technology engines run with such tight margins that tapping bleed air is more trouble than it is worth.

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charlie May 9, 2012 at 10:53 pm

i agree compleatly with the post above. their has to be a logical explanation for this problem.

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ross May 9, 2012 at 11:42 pm

commented this on the last article but, any chance the biochemical products in the radar-reflecting paint are getting into the air mixture and messing with hemoglobin saturation?

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Dfens May 10, 2012 at 9:02 am

Apparently that is some really nasty stuff, and what it is made of is all classified. As far as I'm concerned, this is one more of many reasons we should rely less on coatings and more on speed combined with shaping to get the stealth our aircraft need to survive in combat.

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Dfens May 10, 2012 at 1:34 pm

Uh oh, I mean they should rely on speed and stealth shaping to get the survivability they need for combat. It was early.

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Mike May 9, 2012 at 11:45 pm

Really? "…ground crew are also suffering from similar ailments when they stand near the jet while it’s engines are running."?

This post is absurd and not worth further reading, much less comment.

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passingby May 10, 2012 at 7:36 am

in author's defense, his article pales in comparison to the steaming cowdung contained in the 9-11 Commission Report.

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ltfunk May 10, 2012 at 12:52 am

The pilots and crew are probably just sick from having to listen to Lockheed PR on one hand and having to work on their fail jets on the other.

I know Lockheed makes many Americans nauseous.

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duuude May 10, 2012 at 7:26 am

I wonder why this never happens on the B-2, F-35 and F-117.

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Roland May 10, 2012 at 8:15 am

Probably NASA robots can handle the pressure of flying it.

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Taylor May 10, 2012 at 8:30 am

Similar to one of the above posts, the engines might be so powerful that they create lower than normal pressures around the intakes which could cause the hypoxia.

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galloglas May 10, 2012 at 10:00 am

The Obama Administration is using this as a method of cutting out America's military advantage. Ya cannot operate an advanced Fighter with third world ambitions.

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Pat May 10, 2012 at 10:03 am

Gee, what do you expect when you breathe jet exhaust!

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passingby May 10, 2012 at 12:41 pm
mp_19 May 10, 2012 at 10:44 am

theres got to be way to figure whats wrong is it lack of oxygen at high g forces

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Uranium238 May 10, 2012 at 10:49 am

Has to be the fuel then… Wasn't the F-22 running on some sort of biofuel? I remember seeing some sort of article that they changed the gas and tested it on the F-18 first, then on the F-22. This is suddenly starting to make sense.

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SJE May 10, 2012 at 1:56 pm

Biofuels have been used in all sorts of aircraft without problems and biofuels are typically no worse, and often better, than petroleum based fuels because the biofuel is easier to metabolize. This doesnt sound like the most likely culprit. It is more likely an exotic fuel additive.

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Uranium238 May 10, 2012 at 3:04 pm

Yup! Perhaps they added it to the biofuel and the chemical reaction was something volatile.

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Infidel4LIFE May 10, 2012 at 11:36 am

On 60 Minutes it sounded like the pilots were saying they were breathing in toxins. They said the AF was going to change the filters. Wat is going on? The plane is all that and more, just as they said it was. Fix this please.

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Brian Savage May 10, 2012 at 11:59 am

As a former crew cheif on the Army's Apache and having been around other types of aircraft it could be exhaust fumes. It could be vapors left at or near ground level after refueling and so on. I also have a degree in aircraft maintenance and also know a few fomer F-117A ground crew members. If it was RAM coating material or the RAM adhesive and assuming its the same stuff because the Lockheed builds both planes, then F-117A pilots and ground crews would have had similar symptoms.

It is interesting. However in my experience sometimes these mysteries have simple solutions.

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dickster13 May 15, 2012 at 7:47 pm

True insight from someone with prior on-hand experience, these mysteries often do have simple solutions. The solution most likely has already been suggested by some lowly enlisted person that is working with the problem. The solution may have been discarded by virtue of the fact that the individual suggesting it was not an engineer, had a PhD., or was not of the proper stature or rank to get the proper audience to listen and actually consider the suggestion. I have been there and done that. Who solves the problem is often more important than actually solving it. No officer or engineer is going to allow the suggestion of a lowly two-striper to get the credit for fixing what they couldn't. Not when some do nothing General can get another Star and all the accolades of being the genius that solved it eventually. That is how the system works in industry, government and the military.

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Frontal Lobe May 10, 2012 at 1:02 pm

I know what it is. Reply here with contact information and I will get back to you.

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Eric May 10, 2012 at 4:02 pm

Has anybody checked the fuel tanks? Sounds like in their quest for higher performance they revived Zip Fuel. You know that great stuff from the 60's that is full of Boron and makes exteremly toxic exhaust. Even some new version might explain alot of problems.

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Richard May 10, 2012 at 7:26 pm

There could be more than 1 problem other than engine fumes…radiation?..from avionics equipment or aircraft parts….do any of you experts know?

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wow May 10, 2012 at 11:17 pm

lot of non-military pilots without any stinking clue posting here – amazing… if you don't know what you are talking about stop opining and removing all doubt as to your inability to engage brain….

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Dfens May 10, 2012 at 11:38 pm

Yes, because obviously the military pilots will fix this problem, not engineers. Duh.

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passingby May 11, 2012 at 9:31 am

I think he is suggesting that the best (or most economical) way to fix this is for military pilots to crash the jets. LOL.

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Ain'tClaimingThisOne May 11, 2012 at 9:49 am

F-22 is so badass even Chuck Norris gets hypoxia-like symptoms.

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Torrey Miller May 26, 2012 at 10:41 am

They used pieces of Chuck Norris in the build…so you know its real. Thats what makes it so badass.

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Hotel55 May 11, 2012 at 12:45 pm

What if the g-suit isn't reacting fast enough due to the maneuverability of the Raptor? Is it the same g-suit that's been used for years? If it doesn't react fast enough, then the pilot could lose blood to the brain, causing black out, right?

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Richard May 11, 2012 at 3:59 pm

Hotel55…sounds like Hill? Good question?

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Hotel55 May 13, 2012 at 10:50 am

Hill?

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Mikeldy May 12, 2012 at 10:04 pm

There is no excuse for this problem getting so far out of hand. Get some idiot from the carnival , gather up all your ECS equipment prototypes and place them into the buckets of the Octopus ride. The Octopus ride can better simulate the dynamic multi-vectored G-forces of the F-22 much better than the centrifuge ride. Place a couple pilots in each bucket as well. ONLY three people will oversee these experiments: (1) the carnival ride operator who will collect the ride fares and run the Octopus (2) a Flight Surgeon interviewing the test subjects and monitoring physiological data (3) an ECS engineer reviewing the performance of the various LOX/ bleed air setups. You could test a dozen or so ECS systems and several dozen pilots simultaneously. The cost of one ride: maybe $1 or any red-colored ticket. Don't even bother paying the pilots because it will be a "casual carnival ride Friday". It will take about a day to get your answers. Am I trying to be funny or is this how they would have done it before we became so "high tech"?

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Defender60 May 13, 2012 at 12:18 am

Some background. Monitoring blood O2 levels is easy. We have all had it done at the docs office. I am assuming that the pilots have already or could easily be continually monitored for blood O2 levels. Either they are adequate or not. Easy to discover. Next issue is whether there is enough blood to the brain. This issue is addressed by their G training and pressure suit. Either it works or it doesn't. I assume that the simulator can produce the same G levels that the F22 can. VOCs or "volatile organic compounds" are very easy to detech with a variety of inexpensive meters on the commercial market. Either they are VOCs in the air or not. Contaminants in the blood such as carbon monoxide are also easy to detect. DO pilots on bottled, tested O2 still have the issues? Virtually every possible cause is simple to test for yet they still can't figure it out. I say: What the hell?

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Airman Bob May 13, 2012 at 7:19 am

Checking out the pilots is not a problems. They are in a sealed environment. Stick a filter on their breathing apparatus and see what's up. As far as the Airmen on the ground…Give a couple of them similar badges to those worn by those in hazmat or hospital environments. Come on now. Why is the Military making this so damn hard? Maybe they're looking to float another extra in a piece of equipment they are producing. The Ruskies have a set of plans and just build and tweek. Our people Build Tweek add on tweek rebuild add on tweek add on rebuild. Get the picture. The aircrat is nothing like it's original intent.

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tiger May 15, 2012 at 9:05 pm

If you saw 60 Minutes, they did that. Still having problems.

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Dan'L May 15, 2012 at 6:42 pm

sounds like they need a FLUX CAPACITOR

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WeJ_II May 15, 2012 at 6:56 pm

I doubt the claim is bogus if the plane is not working right there is a good chance that the setup of the intakes and other exhaust sources could be fouling the new msog's. They should try a few runs with the plane modified with LOX bottles. Perhaps give crews some oxygen masks and determine if the jets that have possibly caused illness still cause issues… Lets face it if the jet is not running 100% and the atmosphere is stagnant any jet can foul the air around it quite quickly. particularly if they are in a HAS during an exercise with doors open or closed.

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earruda May 16, 2012 at 8:15 am

There is no LOX system. Its a device similar to a catalytic converter that concentrates oxygen.

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john b. May 15, 2012 at 7:46 pm

We need more air

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RON LEWIS May 15, 2012 at 8:26 pm

Has anybody examined the likelihood of outgassing of certain chemical compounds in adhesives, seals and other new materials used on the aircraft? High altitude (low pressure) tends to allow materials to give off molecules (known as outgassing). Heat will do the same thing in many cases. If the engines are producing heat after extensive runups, it could cause the same level of degradation as outgassing at high altitufde. Consider placing key materials into vacuum chambers and recording what levels of outgassin occur, then examine if there is any avenue for this material to intrude into the OBOGS or related engine bleed air systems. Also check history. What contamination scenarios have been experienced on other aircraft in the past, and what was their cause/resolution? It may help provide clues, if not answers.

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Lt Pines May 15, 2012 at 8:58 pm

Anybody bother to check the landing gear nitrogen generator? An unplanned leak or engineered-in venting would cause that.

Let's not forget the multiple deaths which occurred on the launch pad at Kennedy when nitrogen was injected into the shuttle engine cones, to vent-off any noxious gases, after conducting a 'ground engine run'.

The first scientist went in to check for damage and collapsed. The 2nd saw him collapse and ran-in to rescue him – only to collapse too, Then the 3rd 'rocket scientist' ran-in to rescue the other 2 and (you got it) collapsed. Only after 3 men died of 'oxygen deprivation' a laborer donned a Scott Airpak, crawled-in and dragged the 3 bodies out.

Sorta justifies the derogatory label 'Rocket Scientist' Cheech called his cousin (Paul Rodriguez) in the film 'Born in East LA' doesn't it? Sometimes, when the brains are stumped, call-in a janitor.

(What the hell IS a 'ground engine run' anyway – running a turbine engine in a car on the Bonneville Salt Flats? Does Lt Col Sholtis have a BS in engineering or a BA in philosophy?)

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Torrey Miller May 15, 2012 at 8:59 pm

I really don’t like any of the comments that ‘passingby’ left on here. This individual seems to be a non flightline member of our AF. I have been in aviation for over 14 years as a crew chief on 15′s, an FE on 130′s, and as a QA Inspector. In those areas of my experience, you have no choice but to be in close proximity of the A/C while it is running during phases of launch/recovery, EOR, “hot pits”, ICT’s, “combat onload/offload”, etc. I’m sure that by the ways that ‘passingby’ was arguibg semantics, the only time they have been near an A/C in “close proximity” is at a static display at the base airshow or the A/C on the pedistals around base. This is a real issue and needs to be addressed thoroughly…whether it is a false claim for benefits or a true condition. Obviously ‘passingby’ has never taken a JP-8 bath or has never taken a JOAP/SOAP and been exposed to any type of sorts near an A/C. Even “proper use” of PPE doesn’t prevent certain things from happening on the flightline.

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Eagle Keeper May 15, 2012 at 10:47 pm

Take a couple of F-22's to Eglin AFB and do some additional climatic control testing. The climate may have something to do with it. Cold comes to mind in Alaska.
It's worth trying something instead of becoming a hat rack !!! F-15 Eagle keeper

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Lewis Sanborn May 15, 2012 at 10:54 pm

Either the young (impressionable) ground maintenance people have mentally bought-into a hypoxia story on the F-22s, or the materials are actually out-gassing significantly enough to affect them?

New materials, and a high priority to escape radar signature. We have a collision here.

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joseph engbino May 15, 2012 at 11:18 pm

maybe look at a new type of "operator" or deploying technique/procedure/restriction(s) in the meantime, since nobody seems to know whats going on… Sure looks like we've been kinda lucky so far…

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Vince May 15, 2012 at 11:27 pm

Interesting topic. Advanced composites use resin systems which can be toxic at elevated temps. If the engines heat were to cause gassing out of these toxins it may be possible they are being brought back into the act O2 system through bypass air. Just another of the thousand possibilities, but one that may warrant looking into. The only thing that stands out as a no to me would be the fact that there would typically be some sort of smell involved which I have not heard of yet.

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David Lee Riley May 15, 2012 at 11:49 pm

The airframe is your answer, while stationary on the ground or in a null airflow configuration aloft, The Engines hyper design consumes almost 100% of the oxygen immediatly adjacent to the aircraft.

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Wes Hew May 15, 2012 at 11:53 pm

As a former crew chief of the F16 lawn dart. If i remember correctly most aircraft use bleed air from the engine for environmental temp control of the cockpit and avionic/flight control systems. Im wondering about the fuels that are being used in the F-22. From what i can remember about my 2 seater F16. It seemed to have made a particular odor when the formula of JP had changed. And we also had grounded our jets because of a similar problem. Oh did i mention my jet was the " SHINNY WING JET" my pilot used to make me take second seat. Wow what a ride that was. Sure do miss it.

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Torrey Miller May 26, 2012 at 10:26 am

You just had to throw that in there about your jet being "Shinny Wing Jet". Guess what??? My jet (F-15C AF 81-0042) scared the Hell out of a test pilot during an FCF. He called it "Satan's Carriage". This jet then went on to become Demo Jet for the ACC F-15 East Coast Demo Team. Top that! Hey guess what… what can my A/C do when it loses an engine???? It can still fly!! It will still fly even if it lost a wing. Just Google the Isreali F-15 that lost a wing. You F-16 boys always think you have something to brag about. It'sok though, us F-15 guys are always here to shut you up with facts about the F-15 and how much better it is. Sorry bro, but you set yourself up for this one.

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Old AF May 16, 2012 at 1:06 am

Difficult to buy in to the theory that the same problem is effecting ground crew standing near and pilots in flight. F22 is new plane; wonder how many of the groundcrew reporting symptoms are on their first aircraft assignment? Takes a little while to become "climatized" to exhaust fumes. Was in a study long time ago on CO. Enviromental Services investigator became ill and sought medical attention after observing us work for three hours. We had become "used to" CO levels 200 – 300 ppm. He hadn't.

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Old AF May 16, 2012 at 1:07 am

Several here have pointed out simple monitoring techniques for some exposures. Keep in mind many "simple" techniques have very limited sensitivity and broad range of confidence; A 0 – 25 ppm "badge" may have a +/- 50% accuracy. And if you are looking for something truly toxic, parts per BILLION is more likely exposure limitation. Fuel additives that themselves are toxic or decompose into toxic substances should be organic compounds or inorganic elements which could be identified through biological samples from exposed personnel. But the medical personnel would have to know what they are looking for in the samples.
Last concern I have is the comment about heat causing additional decomposition of structural or RAM aircraft components. I admit limited knowledge of the composite process or the RAM, but I would still propose a concern that heat from normal operation should not be causing physical changes to these materials. Would this continued "offgassing" not result in changes, and possible weakness, in these components?

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Vince May 16, 2012 at 5:35 am

I work on composite aircraft structures everyday. Yes they would degrade the strength over time which is a scary thought in its own.

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Ray T May 16, 2012 at 7:05 am

just wondering… I thought that the function of bleed air from the compressor section was to create cabin pressure. Doesn't the pilot breathe air/oxygen from the liquid oxygen tanks? Also – I'm probably out of line here, but grasping at straws, don't the SR71 guys wear pressure suits for a reason. Something to do with maintaining an outside pressure against the body to prevent an occurring symptom that divers experience when coming up too fast. Not the bends, but close to it. Not sure what altitude they operate and what flight suits they wear…..

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earruda May 16, 2012 at 8:03 am

ozone has a unique odor that would not go unnoticed. Also ozone is very corrosive which will accelerate deterioration of the air frame and associated parts.

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earruda May 16, 2012 at 8:21 am

An epidemiologist would probably figure this out pronto.

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Rick May 16, 2012 at 6:56 pm

Alright, that does it!!! Not only does the Air Force need to call in NASA, etc, they need to call in AFOSI and the FBI and interview every person that touched those F-22s in production looking for an extremely capable saboteur. I mean, who would think of anyone involved in the oxygen generation system development and installation as being suspect. But, dadgum!!! What a way to hamstring the most effective and awesome airborne weapons system in over half a century by affecting the ability of it's operators to BREATHE!!!

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Scott May 16, 2012 at 9:01 pm

Obama is probably blaming Bush

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traindodger May 17, 2012 at 3:05 am

It sounds to me like some kind of coating compound somewhere on the bird is either delaminating or releasing some sort of outgassing when under exposure to heat or high-pressure air, and the contaminants are getting sucked into the OBOGS inlet (as well as being present in the exhaust).

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Steve Bastian May 17, 2012 at 3:24 am

I wonder if it could be related to a high electro-magnetic field (EMF) that is generated by the aircraft or its on board equipment? A high EMF could give the same symptoms to someone who is sensitive to to it.

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Torrey Miller May 26, 2012 at 10:57 am

EMF radiation should not really be an issue. These systems are set up in a manner to not transmit on the ground by being wired thru the WOW (Weight On Wheel) or Touchdown switches. The only way to get these systems to transmit would be to bypass the safety measures by pulling CB's, wire jumpers, etc. Please see applicable tech data for the A/C or contact field rep for the A/C company for further detalis. If EMF were the case then this would not be an isolated incident just to Alaska. This would be at all bases that have F-22s.

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William Dehler May 17, 2012 at 11:05 am

This is why we need R2D2 robots to fly these planes

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Charles Holmes May 17, 2012 at 3:20 pm

Alien technology. Not for the faint of lung.

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jeffscism May 17, 2012 at 4:57 pm

Could be improper g-techniques to. negative gs, transverse gs. This plane has all types of directional forces.

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the inspector May 17, 2012 at 11:29 pm

The air force does disasemble every aircraft it receives from its manufacturer, before it goes into service. There are factory representatives available at all times to make sure that thay understand the tec manuals and asist in all reinstallations, when a problem as this has grounded a fleet of aircraft, they all are torn down to the bones.When an intermittent problem is involved, it can be quit hard to detect. Now after these chashes and near crashes, I recall that there is no warning light for the OBOGS. I asure you there is nothing on, in, or around that aircraft, other than the OBOGS that could induce hypoxia like systoms. as for out side of an aircraft, I've been awashed with exhaust gas many time with no ill effect, other than smelling like JP5 for the rest of the day. As for any one who worked on this aircraft ever commenting on the aircraft, you must remember that it was and still is a top secret aircraft, so noone would risk their job for your educative enjoyment.

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Randy May 19, 2012 at 6:39 pm

How is it that an oxygen sucking engine as on the F-22 is able to separate oxygen for the pilot? I seems to me once the engine uses all the air given to it there is little on no oxygen for the pilot. I think they need to go to a separate O2 system that uses liquid O2
for the pilot and not depend on the jet engine to spare O2 for the pilot.

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Torrey Miller May 26, 2012 at 9:55 am

If you knew of how an aircraft engine works, then you would not ask this question. Let me explain…when air is being sucked into the forward part of the engine called the "compression stages", it is then directed to either the "combustion area" of the engine or re-routed to other systems of the A/C by "bleed air". Bleed air operates many A/C systems such as, anti-ice/de-ice, cockpit/cabin pressurization, fuel pressurization, cockpit/cabin air conditioning and heating, and O2 systems on some A/C. All of this happens BEFORE the engine adds fuel to the mixture and consumes the two in the combustion section. You would also be surprised how the filtering systems work on some A/C to reduce exposure by harmful elements to aircrews. And yes, the pilot has a "spare" system for oxygen onboard the A/C in case of emergencies that is independent of the A/C. i completely agree with you about going back to LOX. It was a good and reliable system, but dangerous for the maintainers to service. I have had "LOX burn" and it isn't fun.

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jon June 21, 2012 at 12:40 am

sell them to iran get your money back re duce the price 2for one capt. john

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Brian June 24, 2012 at 9:06 pm

I was a crew cheif for the Army on the AH-64A. We would stand in the APU exhaust to keep warm in the winter months and if you weren't careful or if the rotors weren't turning you could get a bit light headed.. Soo, September through January. Cold months or if you are at a place like Edwards months with inversions. Could it be that there is a simpler cause such as the APU exhaust. Also what is the sex of those involved. There are alot of variables to explore before grounding the best fight plane ever constructed. btw, if its the RAM adhesive then we would have seen this earlier in the B-2 and the F-117 fleet. The company that makes the RAM adhesive tested for off gassing.

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blight_ June 24, 2012 at 9:35 pm

"Also what is the sex of those involved"

Pilots? The pilots that have died were men.

Ground crew? Not sure, but how often are women on the ground crews?

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Dfens May 9, 2012 at 5:11 pm

So damn sad! When I first worked for Boeing, most of those I worked with were extremely proud to work for that company. That attitude changed radically for the worse over the span of just a few years. Too bad the bean counters couldn't calculate the price of that on a spreadsheet.

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passingby May 10, 2012 at 2:34 am

that's the price to pay when one works for high tech death merchants.

don't expect death merchants to care about deaths

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Dfens May 9, 2012 at 5:13 pm

As I recall, some of those at Lockheed who were complaining about nausea and breathing problems were those located adjacent to the manufacturing areas. In other words, the stuff was getting through the walls and causing problems.

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Dfens May 10, 2012 at 8:57 am

It is so different in this industry now. It used to be the cream that rose to the top, now it's mostly the scum.

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passingby May 10, 2012 at 11:56 am

looks like you know neither what we're talking about nor what you 're talking about

91-100 1.2.17.2

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passingby May 10, 2012 at 12:29 pm

damn me 91-100 1.2.17.2-3

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Vaporhead May 10, 2012 at 12:58 pm

Your post said "anywhere near the plane" when engines are running. As you have found, you are wrong. You can't just be within those certain distance from the intake/exhaust. Ground crew would be unable to do their jobs if they couldn't get near the engines, like running ops checks, chalking the tires, etc. I was a 10 yr AF mechanic, now working in the aircraft safety office.

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Vaporhead May 10, 2012 at 1:00 pm

Or maybe fresh air off the bypass.

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passingby May 10, 2012 at 1:34 pm

why am I wrong? let me first quote the title article: "reports are emerging that ground crew are also suffering from similar ailments when they stand near the jet while it’s engines are running." … "The maintainers grew sick after breathing in ambient air during ground engine runs."

"near" is the word used in the article. And the crew members got sick. res ipsa loquitur

how big is the F-22 jet engine anyway? minimum 25 feet in front of intake and 200 feet away from the rear of the jet. mandatory compliance.

are you saying that the crew members got sick even though they were in compliance with 91-100 1.2.17.2-3??

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UAVgeek May 10, 2012 at 1:40 pm

You're quoting a reg, which is good in a way since that means you know the minimum requirement, but it also means you have no idea how that reg is applied. Anyone who has worked on an actual flight line knows you are around running airplanes all the time. You don't stand directly behind or in front of the intake/exhaust but standing off to the side of the aircraft is common. Hell in an Engine Running Offload/Onload situation you are only a few degrees off the axis of the engines and with the proper PPE you're perfectly safe. Shoot a short clip of the Thunderbirds or the Blue Angels just before you roll out would tell you this. This ain't Call of Duty man, it's real life.

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UAVgeek May 10, 2012 at 1:43 pm

And let me tack this on. So stand such that you are in compliance with AFI 91-100, and tell me that you cannot smell burnt and unburnt jet fuel, oil and various other things. If you can smell them that means there's concentrations in the air enough to matter. Get out of the lab.

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passingby May 10, 2012 at 1:56 pm

I'm glad you mentioned "real life" – where crew members (not just AF) don't even know all the rules, let alone follow most of them. I'm quoting merely 2 clauses from just 91-100.

turn the engine off if you want to stand near the jet without inhaling toxic fumes.

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UAVgeek May 10, 2012 at 2:08 pm

When you are talking about regs it is utterly stupid to take "two clauses" and quote them out of context with the rest of the reg. You can't turn off the jet. It's an occupational hazard. Since, as a member of the ground crew you cannot avoid being near the jet when it's running, their employer (In this case the USAF) has a duty to take steps to protect it's members. If it does turn out to be some sort of chem/bio hazard then they will be obliged to change procedures, apply a technical fix or some combination of both as required by AFOSHA. Do not be so simple as to think a reg is correct when it COMPLETELY MITIGATES the member's ability to do their job. The Mission Comes First…. or did you not know that?

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shawn1999 May 10, 2012 at 2:28 pm

Ok- the one of you who can answer this next question is right:

Define "near" as it pertains to this article.
Since the article doesn't define near, this can't be answered, so neither of you can say whether or not the ground crews were following regs or not (unless you have other information you haven't mentioned, in which case, your own fault for not doing so).

Your both citing regs for your own arguments, yet you still don't know what "near" means, so you can't say whether or not the ground crew actions support or invalidate your argument. Not to mention there are 5 ground crews involved- some may have followed regs, and others may not.

Allow me to demonstrate: The ATC folks in each instance are "near" the aircraft, while I personally am not.

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passingby May 10, 2012 at 2:42 pm

quote: "When you are talking about regs it is utterly stupid to take "two clauses" and quote them out of context with the rest of the reg. You can't turn off the jet."

How is it out of context with the rest of the reg?

Are you saying that 91-100 is deficient in protecting the ground crew from health hazard? If so, how would you change it?

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UAVgeek May 10, 2012 at 2:35 pm

Give me a break, is this a Lincoln-Douglas debate? In any case I'm only disputing that Passingby's knowledge of actual flight operations is suspect. Neither of us knows the facts of the case at hand because we haven't seen the official investigation (That would mark out distances down to the centimeter how far the crews were working from the plane), include blood work, fatigue factors, compliance to regulations, examining training and maintenance records, atmospheric conditions etc.

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passingby May 10, 2012 at 2:38 pm

LOL. Well, since no exact measurements were given in the title article and linked reports, operational semantics should be used for this definition.

So, for the sake of argument, the crew members got sick, therefore they were not in full compliance with AF safety standards. (one way or another.) LOL

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passingby May 10, 2012 at 2:49 pm

i.e. since they got sick standing near the jet, therefore it's near enough to be out of compliance with AF safety standards.

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UAVgeek May 10, 2012 at 5:32 pm

The could have been in 100% compliance with standards and still have gotten sick. I've walked into a chemical plant where the detector said the local poisonous gas was well below standard concentration and the smell still made me nauseous. Standards evolve with experience. That's the answer.

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Vaporhead May 10, 2012 at 3:26 pm

passingby,

With all due respect, you don't have a clue of what you are talking about. The T.O.'s trump the 91-100 and all the T.O.'s tell you what to do and when.

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passingby May 10, 2012 at 4:08 pm

Really? LOL. Please show me the T.O. in this case then.

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UAVgeek May 10, 2012 at 5:36 pm

Hmm This is only the most briefest of research on the F-22 specific reg but reference Section 3.1

"Normally, the pilot and ground crew will communicate using the intercom during all engine start and pre-taxi
checks." Ground intercom= Uses a wire of a fixed length that jacks into a maintenance access panel on the side of the jet. You fail Passingby.
http://www.e-publishing.af.mil/shared/media/epubs

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passingby May 10, 2012 at 6:17 pm

LOL. UAVgeek, who are you kidding? You didn't even bother to read Sec 3.1. Let me quote the section in full below:

quote: "3.1. Ground Communications. The pilot will accomplish the ground crew briefing (when required) in accordance with the briefing guide contained in this instruction. Normally, the pilot and ground crew will communicate using the intercom during all engine start and pre-taxi checks. Use the intercom system, to the maximum extent possible, anytime aircraft engines are operating and maintenance technicians are performing tasks on the aircraft. Units with active air defense commitments may waive the use of intercom during alert scrambles."

You gave yourself away. First you claim that in real life things are done differently, i.e. not according to standard procedures. Then you claim that even if they follow the rules, they will still get sick. Now you claim that they must use intercom gears with fixed length wires that jack into a maintenance access panel during all engine start and pre-taxi checks. Whatever happened to wireless intercom on this "World's most advanced fighter jet."

Thanks for the laugh.

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passingby May 10, 2012 at 6:34 pm

case closed.

you failed in your argument, but succeeded in making me laugh. LOL.

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passingby May 10, 2012 at 6:22 pm

that's a big hypothetical on a current 91-100 (certified current as of Jan 2012).

have you ever made any official objections to any of the rules in 91-100?

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UAVGeek May 11, 2012 at 11:36 am

No, because as was said above the T-O trumps a general guideline like AFI 91-100. Again anyone who does not know this has never worked on a flightline. Stick to commentary on Call of Duty games.

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UAVGeek May 11, 2012 at 11:41 am

That and usually a Operational Instruction will more closely define operating procedure. Those are usually set by the local airfield management because conditions are different base to base.

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UAVGeek May 11, 2012 at 11:39 am

Except when you do start and preflight procedures the engine is running. Here's one I usually have contact with:
http://www.transcom.mil/dtr/part-iii/dtr_part_iii

Again you are a fool, you cherry pick regs for your own arguments as opposed to dealing with them like they are supposed to: as an instruction manual. Only lawyers and High School debate teams deal with written material this way. Wireless intercom is not used because 1. In a lot of cases you want that conversation to be secure, 2. In deployed locations there's a real problem with frequency congestion.

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passingby May 11, 2012 at 2:51 pm

LOL!!!!!! that's ludicrous.nice try.

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passingby May 11, 2012 at 2:57 pm

LOL!!!! now that's getting more absurd.

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UAVGeek May 12, 2012 at 5:59 pm

Ludicrous? Ever tried to call your dispatcher at a deployed airfield when Maintenance, Airfield Ops, and Security forces are all on the same frequency? Wireless plane intercom would be a nightmare.

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passingby May 13, 2012 at 12:40 am

you are insulting a lot of sub-system design engineers.

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