Hostage Concludes His Time as F-22 Pilot

Air Combat Command chief Gen. Mike Hostage is ending his tenure as an F-22 pilot, saying he is confident that the stealth fighter is safe to fly and on a path toward unrestricted worldwide operations. Hostage completed his F-22 initial qualification training in June at a time when the Air Force was still trying to determine why some Raptor pilots were experiencing dizziness and disorientation in flight. “I originally began flying the F-22 to better understand the risks and challenges our Raptor community was facing. At the time, our airmen’s confidence in the jet had been shaken,” stated Hostage in ACC’s Nov. 30 release. He flew the operational employment scenarios for which the F-22 is tasked in current war plans, and completed his final Raptor sortie during a recent tour of Air Forces Central installations in Southwest Asia, states the release. “I’m convinced we have significantly reduced the level of risk,” he added. Hostage said stepping out of the cockpit would free flying hours for the front-line F-22 pilots. “My stopping will put those hours where they need to be,” he said. (Langley report by Lt. Col. Tadd Sholtis)