Last month, the Pentagon gave the OK to the nation's fleet of extremely expensive F-22 jets, despite failing to fix the plane's oxygen deprivation problems. They decided to just see how things went. They didn't go well: it's broken again.
This would be comical if it weren't so infuriating. Langley Air Force Base's entire F-22 unit is now useless after a pilot lost oxygen mid-air -- the exact same thing that hit another pilot earlier and might have killed one a year ago. The plane clearly has a problem -- three pilots without oxygen aren't a coincidence. But read the Air Force's statement on the grounding, and it sounds like there's no problem at all:
"Part of our protocol is to allow units to pause operations whenever they need to analyse information collected from flight operations to ensure safety. That is what is happening at Langley at the moment, and we support that decision."
"Pause operations" is a hell of a euphemism for not letting planes take off because they might crash. How long the F-22s at Langley will stay on turf is unknown -- maybe it'll be months, like last time. But I hope this might prompt an engineering impetus to actually fix the damn things for good, and not let anyone inside until that's done. [Fox News via Danger Room]
Photo: Rob Shenk