Gen. Mike Hostage, Air Combat Command boss, completed his F-22 pilot qualification, reinforcing his personal stake in the Air Force’s efforts to identify the reasons why some Raptor pilots have experienced dizziness and disorientation in flight, announced ACC officials. “I’m asking these airmen to assume some risk that exceeds the norm in day-to-day training, and I have to be willing to do it myself and experience firsthand what they do,” stated Hostage in ACC’s July 5 release. He added, “Flying the airplane allows me to understand exactly what our airmen are dealing with.” Hostage completed the qualification training with the 325th Fighter Wing at Tyndall AFB, Fla., home of the F-22 schoolhouse, on June 27. Air Force officials are still working to determine the root cause of these physiological incidents. Recently, ACC directed Raptor pilots to remove the upper pressure garment of their aircrew flight equipment during routine flight operations after testing revealed that it may restrict the pilot’s breathing in some instances, according to the release. (Langley-Eustis report by Justin Oakes)
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.