Closing in on Root Cause

The Air Force may be close to identifying the reason why some F-22 pilots have experienced symptoms like disorientation, dizziness, and nauseous feelings in flight, said Lt. Gen. Janet Wolfenbarger, military deputy for acquisition in the Air Force Secretariat, May 8. “We have some recent data” and based on it, “we are starting to believe that we are coming to closure on that root cause,” she told the Senate Armed Services Committee’s airland panel. She added, “We are determined to get to root cause. We have all of the best minds on this that we can find.” She said the Air Force already knows that the root cause has something to do with either some contaminant in the pilots’ oxygen supply or the pilots not getting enough oxygen. Wolfenbarger also reiterated the Air Force’s position that the F-22 is currently “safe to fly” based on the steps that service officials have taken to protect Raptor pilots via new cockpit equipment and training them on how to deal with the onset of the hypoxia-like symptoms. “Our pilots’ safety is of the utmost concern and a top priority,” she said. (Wolfenbarger’s written testimony)