We Now Have an Explanation

Maj. Gen. Charles Lyon, Air Combat Command’s director of operations, said July 31 he is confident the Air Force has finally figured out what has been causing hypoxia-like symptoms among some F-22 pilots. “We determined with confidence the source of the unexplained physiological incidents resides in the F-22 cockpit,” Lyon told reporters during a briefing in the Pentagon. He said while “there is no smoking gun,” officials have identified a combination of factors as the cause. More specifically, officials discovered that a quick-connection valve on the pilots’ upper pressure garment has been allowing these vests to inflate under “normal” flight conditions—which is undesired—thereby constricting pilots’ breathing, said Lyon. These vests were designed only to inflate when pilots encountered increased G forces or rapid decompression at high altitudes in order to help the pilots breathe under those stressing circumstances and protect their lungs, he said. Click here to continue to the full report.