Pilot Issues Cited in Fatal F-22 Crash

Air Force investigators determined that an F-22 pilot’s “failure to recognize and initiate a timely dive recovery” was the most direct cause of his fatal crash in November 2010 in Alaska, according to the newly released summary of their findings. “Channelized attention, breakdown of visual scan, and unrecognized spatial disorientation” caused this condition, states the document. On a three-ship night training sortie from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Capt. Jeffrey Haney’s Raptor suffered “an engine bleed air leak malfunction” that deprived several systems—including his oxygen system—of power, according to Pacific Air Forces’ accident investigation board report (full document; caution, large-sized file). Haney cut the engine to idle power and initiated a shallow dive from approximately 41,000 feet to a lower altitude, states the report. Several seconds later, he sharply increased the dive angle and rolled the aircraft inverted. At roughly 5,500 feet, Haney initiated a 7.4-G pull-up, impacting the ground at a 48-degree angle at a speed greater than Mach 1.1 about 120 nautical miles northeast of the joint base. The board cited issues such as training deficiencies and “personal equipment interference” as contributing factors. “Due to the extensive damage and limited evidence recovered, the cause of the bleed air leak could not be determined,” states the report.