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Pentagon IG rips Air Force’s F-22 accident investigation

by Mike Hoffman on February 12, 2013

The Air Force is standing by its investigation into the F-22 crash that killed Capt. Jeff Haney despite a Pentagon report that states the Air Force’s conclusion that blames the pilot “was not supported by the facts.”

Haney’s F-22 crashed on Nov. 16, 2010 in the Alaskan wilderness on a training mission. The Accident Investigation Board concluded the accident occurred because Haney did not “recognize and initiate a timely dive recovery due to channelized attention, breakdown of visual scan and unrecognized spatial distortion.” However, investigators also found that Haney’s oxygen supply was cut off before the crash.

Controversy has followed the F-22 fleet since. Air Force leaders have grounded the F-22 fleet multiple times in the past three years after other pilots have complained about a lack of oxygen in flight. The Air Force has claimed to have since solved the problem by replacing a faulty valve on the pilots’ pressurized suits.

The Pentagon IG, in a report posted on their website Monday, poked holes in much of the Air Force’s investigation. It notably questioned why Air Force investigators failed to fully analyze the human factors ““such as hypoxia, gravity-induced loss of consciousness and sudden incapacitation.”

The Air Force said it stuck by its conclusion although it agreed that the report should have been written better.

The conclusion made by the Pentagon’s IG comes after Haney’s widow issued a lawsuit against many of the makers of the F-22 – Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Honeywell International and Pratt and Whitney — for supplying a defective aircraft.

Ana Haney settled with the defense firms in August 2012.

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