By Benji Yossarian, SV Correspondent
For those who have seen the Battlestar Gallactica or Jurassic Park you know well that to mess with a Raptor is to incite hurt. If you are smart, you don’t do it. That is the exact message the US Air Force has been giving to those piloting their Raptors. Don’t mess with our Raptor, its name, nor its image. Like we said in the Marine Corps: ‘Fuck around, fuck around, and you won’t be around.’ Especially if you are two snot-nosed, ungrateful, whiny, scared, faggot-assed Virginia Guard weekend warriors, hiding under mommy’s skirt for protection (mommy being US Congressman Adam Kinzinger who was also an Air Force pilot and the skirt being protection under US whistleblower laws for exposing legitimate safety concerns). (Read more…)
Yes, these two unprofessional pukes with flawless and impeccable service records, these two little shits with combat missions under their belts, these two trained elite and highly decorated (including one Flying Cross awarded for “Heroism or extraordinary achievement while participating in an aerial flight”), these two pussies, 60 minute interviewing motherfucking, unpatriotic, slime who are actual believers in their missions, have already been grounded and may be dismissed from service. Their fate is unknown at present, though the Air Force officially claims no retaliation (anyone who was ever in the military is free to asses that statement on their own), but the publicity they generated has been enough at least to make the Air Force give a gesture of concession towards the safety of their F-22 pilots.
That is right. The sweet, sleek, seductive, sexy, and, dare we say, slick shoes F-22A Raptor can’t stay out of the news as of late. This aircraft is a Maxim Magazine man’s wet dream of a killing machine integrating the finest in gadgetry and lethality with a cool look to boot. Squadrons went active in 2005, and since then there have been a myriad of minor problems. Pilots having to get cut out of their aircraft for canopy lock failures and things like that. The host of problems you might get with any new complex and sophisticated machine, you have to work out the bugs. Fix the kinks. I get that, but there is something else afoot with this mega machine since 2008. Either chronic low oxygen problems or a poisoning of the air supply appears to be affecting pilots in the air and those on the ground.
To go over some highlights of this killing machine (we may have forgotten all the short magazine tidbits over the past some fifteen years of this awesome badasses badass development) the F-22A is the US Air Force’s number one badass. (Tracking yet, airman?!) The F-22 is capable of stealth, integrated avionics, air and land strikes, several first kill capabilities and sophisticated sensors. Star Trek has never looked so accessible, and imagine what they aren’t telling us, and what Lockheed Martin isn’t telling the Air Force! The ticket price for this air ship is a chic 143 million USD, not bad for that level of sophistication we’re told. Of course, when you add in research and development cost for this specific project the unit cost starts to reflect a lot closer to half a billion a pop. Not to mention I doubt that Lockheed, the company winner of the contract, is selling these planes to the government with the special ‘poor tax payers discount defense rate.’
The plane’s power plant provides it with super cruise capability complete with dual vectored thrust, that is the ability of flying faster than Mach speed without engaging afterburners and exquisite flight maneuverability. With afterburners the plane is no doubt capable of at least Mach 2 plus. I don’t know for sure, I never tagged it with a radar gun but it was absolutely going faster than sound in November 2010 when Air Force Captain Jeffery Haney nosed his plane into the deck creating a notable crater about a hundred miles north of Anchorage during a routine night training mission. Fabric from a flight suit and the remains of the ejection seat, whose transponder never activated, found in the crater changed the search and rescue mission to one of mere recovery. As far as I can tell a body was never recovered.
As is the military way, the Air Force chose to blame its multi-hundred million dollar loss on pilot error stating that Capt. Jeffery Haney was too distracted by his plane’s oxygen failures to operate the craft correctly. Shortly after, also in a military fashion, an about-face was done on that inane statement and the gentleman is now a hero with college funds being set up for his children in praise of his sacrifice. No doubt the Air Force was just stalling as they waited for the development of Iron Man philanthropy to rescue their F-22 pilots when problems occur. Currently Haney’s widow has law suits all up and down the DoD and its affiliates asses.
Back to the real victim; the perfect Raptor. Pratt & Whitney’s engines also provide the bleed air for the Raptor’s On-Board Oxygen Generating System (OBOGS). This is the system that is suspected to be at the root cause of the unknown root cause that is causing the plane’s oxygen system, and thus the plane’s pilot, to malfunction. Is there something Pratt & Whitney aren’t telling Lockheed-Martin? I’m not a rocket-surgeon or anything but, maybe. Engine mechanics and physics seem relatively straight forward even though, give credit where credit is due, the science behind it all is incredibly complex and doubtfully all understood in its immense entirety. One question I can’t answer is that perhaps the F-22 is given special fuel with its own unique additives. The truth is that even ground crews are complaining about symptoms. If Pratt & Whitney’s engines are producing a toxin they are keeping quiet about it. Luckily the ground crews have been issued charcoal canisters for data-collection. More on that later.
The OBOGS itself is an interesting beast of engineering. It is meant as an alternative to on-board Liquid Oxygen (LOX) tanks aboard fighter jets. Liquid oxygen has a tendency to burst into super hot flames when struck by bullets or missile shrapnel causing another in-flight combat hazard. Through a process of taking super hot, super compressed engine bleed air and putting it through a couple of specialized sieves, a chemical process takes place whereby oxygen is extracted and directed to the pilot so his body can function as it does in a normal environment. You know, a ‘normal environment;’ high-Gs and 70,000 feet above ground level for longer time periods than any other on-board piloted jet we know of in existence.
So, for the last three years the problems have been persisting inducing hypoxia like symptoms in Raptor personnel. Hypoxia is the condition where the body, and more importantly, the brain don’t receive enough oxygen. Symptoms range from euphoria (remember the 90′s and all the rage of having nitrous-oxide tanks at the cocaine parties in California? Killing brain cells is fun!), to death (or not so fun). Incidents from Raptor pilots include descending to tree level and skimming tree tops at incredible speeds, as in another case in Alaska, entirely blacked out. Luckily the ground crew informed the pilot of his greenery mishap after he landed. Reports are that confusion marked his face. Further, many pilots have been placed repetitively in hyperbaric chambers following missions. Now, if you can fly, run into tree tops, and still successfully land a super-cruise jet in a blacked out, brain deprived condition with no memory of it, well, now that is testimonial to true military training.
But wait, there’s more! Pilots also report having residual symptoms on the deck, even after being on the ground for some time. Reports claim symptoms like vertigo, dizziness and nausea. (I wonder what those pilot’s dreams are like?) It has been pointed out that flying crazy maneuvers really fast makes one dizzy. I concur, but I too trust these pilots to make appropriate delineations on the matter. Also, all Raptor pilots complain of the fabled crud. Crud is a military term for a universal cough. A Raptor cough that all pilots seem to be subjected too. Those briefing rooms have to sound like the epitome of respiratory health. Following the crash in Alaska and the ongoing hypoxia reports the Air Force stood down their fleet of F-22As for some five months in order to do some systemic research on the issue. After finding nothing, even after enlisting the help of the Navy’s deep sea arm and NASA, the Air Force, in all its glory, reinstated the fleet as operational, albeit with new safety devices.
I’m glad you asked what constituted these new safety installations, as they made me giggle. I was watching a YouTube CSPAN clip of some fat general with a little white plastic device on his finger describing how this miracle gadget will alert F-22 pilots that their oxygen intake is getting critically low. Of course when hypoxia comes on one cannot always tell immediately or respond rationally to the situation. In fact, now doctors even claim that the brain cannot function properly without oxygen. Who knew?! It is for sure likely that pilots have looked down at that little piece of white plastic and wondered what the fuck is that little doohikie doing on my finger while they were flying vertically straight up and invisible to radar tracking at a thousand miles an hour with no cogent memories. Also, a charcoal filter was installed (looks like the same basic charcoal filter we used in the Marines for our gas masks) in the oxygen tube to absorb, and collect for ‘research,’ any possible impurities that the pilots may be inhaling. With that advancement, now, on top of everything, pilots are hacking up thick black impurity enriched charcoal sputum. Yum. Only the best for our best.
What has happened since the fleet reactivated last fall with these new miracle high tech plastic and charcoal safety devices in place? You guessed it, more hypoxia like symptoms. By now entire squadrons have stood down in complaint over unsafe flying conditions. Remember there are only a reported 200 or so Raptor pilots for a reported 195 Raptor planes in service. What does the Air Force do with these responsibly minded individuals? Threaten to clip their wings, ground them, make desk jockeys of jet jockeys, or outright end their military service careers. There are plenty of mo-tards (motivated retards) who will still be glad to jump up and fill such a desirable position without considering the health risk to themselves or others. On a comment board someone said ‘wait until one of these planes crashes on the Vegas strip,’ to which I thought, wait until one of them crashes over an Asiatic country when it isn’t supposed to be there.
Allow me to share an example with you to try to give you a personal understanding of what these pilots are thinking that many claim makes them unworthy of their uniforms. When I was a bullet-sponge in the Marine Corps they sent my unit from preforming security missions in Al-Haditha to a quaint little operation in Al-Fallujah known as Operation Vigilant Resolve. Also a quaint little operational title to move under as Fallujah was vehemently opposed to the interim government and, well, the situation was being resolved. Definitely resolved before any other cities started to seriously back their plea for sovereignty after the mighty dictator was disposed by the much larger one. I contributed to this resolution in a mortar platoon, one round at a time, as it were. But I digress.
During a night combat resupply mission from the front lines back to Camp Falluja (it may have been called something else in 2004); after several days of no sleep and then taking fire with half the mechanized unit stuck on railroad tracks earlier that night; getting misdirected over and over again and so on; I drove my humvee, which was leaking diesel fumes in the cab so bad I was trying to steer through my night vision with my head sticking out the window, into a tank trap. God knows why it was there anyway. All I could think was, There is the US military digging tank traps when it operates the only operational tanks in the country. Huh.
Anyways, it was pitch black and we sunk hard. After completely fucking the transmission, keeping it stuck in low gear for the rest of the mission, we got out and I drove another hour plus in big circles back to base as fast as we could drive. The base wasn’t that far but we couldn’t use GPS’s mind you, the transmissions could trigger IEDs, better to drive about randomly chancing it. By the time we arrived that truck had seen better days. We got to rack out for like forty-five minutes in our gear on the ground before we headed back to the front. We were Marines, we were trained and we got the job done. We complained, but we functioned.
Why do I bore you with this regaling? Here is my point. Regardless of how stupid or smart military men are they are amply trained in military situations. If half a platoon of severely sleep deprived, overly stressed 18 year old Marines (sleep deprivation can cause similar symptoms to those of hypoxia) can find way-points on the ground at 35 miles an hour with, compared to an F-22, what amounts to arcane technology, would you trust your life to them for your safety in a hostile situation where their expertise lies? Would you not cross that street right there if they told you to cross a mile up? Of course you would listen, I would from first hand experience. They are trained to detect, understand and mitigate risks. Safety is paramount to the military man who wants to keep himself and his buddies alive.
Now, what about a university graduate Raptor pilot whose initial flight and ongoing training values, arguably, in the tens of millions of dollars; and, is capable of executing unique missions with no memory and still find way-points in the air at hundreds of miles an hour to land on a little concrete strip? Surely we should trust these elite trained pilots who have 360 degree sensor awareness while in the air and the finest reflexes and sharpest wits money can train with their safety concerns about the Raptor, right? With my understanding of the military man’s mind; I say yes. I say these men aren’t blue falcons, that they want to fix the problem right and get back up in the air to protect the so called freedoms that would allow them to voice their safety concerns without military reprise. Ironic, but true. Though I suppose I don’t hold feng shui. Seems that the military, government, bankers and corporations always want to put more faith in the machine than the man. Makes sense, after all the men are fallible, they can become sleep deprived, develop hypoxia and are rather difficult to easily upgrade.
Al-Fallujah was sleep deprivation based on what amounted to survival necessity and mission completion. But, and savor this one, the F-22 currently has no official mission! None, zero, not one, for the F-22 was marketed to fight against the threat of a jet that is as sophisticated as itself. Well, there are none, the F-22A is the only fifth generation fighter jet in the world. The Raptor is in a league of its own with no contest, no adversary. Sure maybe it has some close seconds as far as maneuverability and speed, but nothing compared to the total platforms control that the US Air Force excels at. Any conceivable combat situation would be like pitting a house cat against a…well, a Jurrasic Park’s velociraptor. The fleets ongoing millions of dollars operational costs have not amounted to a single combat mission the public is aware of, yet hypoxia continues and the Air Force is unwilling to ground the fleet a second time. Why? Embarrassment? Doubtful, the US usually deals with anyone who can significantly embarrass it by invasion, bribes or imprisonment.
Supposedly the most advanced aeronautical feet the world has ever seen, the F-22 is pushing all envelopes in aeronautical science (and human biology???). It has laid mile stones in research and development, but it has a problem, or a combination of problems. Here are the potential problems I can see with the F-22 based on the fact that the evidence seems to point toward hypoxia:
1) The pilots aren’t getting enough clean oxygen. (A duh, but wait for number two.) Perhaps the OBOGS is getting pushed too hard in some fashion, the F-22 is at too high of altitudes for too long and the oxygen molecules are too scarce. There are pressure problems as of yet not discovered causing malfunctions.
2) The pilots are are also inhaling contaminants from within their air supply. Don’t forget the reported Raptor cough, the sputum and the after effects.
A) This is an unintentional reaction happening within the OBOGS or the engine bleed air. Either it is a straight malfunction occurring that is producing the toxins the pilots are breathing somehow or it is an unintended mishap once again having to do with the F-22′s performance pushing past our empirical understanding. The interesting note is that at least five F-22 ground crew members have also complained of similar symptoms that ail the pilots. They are not exposed to high Gs or high altitudes and their exposure is limited to engine exhaust and the planes electrical emissions.
B) This is an intentional, or already known, contamination of the pilots air supply. NASA, and plenty of other ‘agencies,’ have been actively researching for sometime how to adapt mankind for space travel. It is the next inevitable stage in evolution they tell us, and lots of things in space turn soft-not-evolved-humans into goo from rapid acceleration to high radiation to zero gravity. On top of that our astronauts incur psychological stresses from being outside of their not-evolved land environment. Is it conceivable that a public or private sector, or both or more, is experimenting on F-22 pilots because they do fly long and do fly hard in the high atmosphere with crazy sophisticated space age technology? Yes. Not only does this earn possibility marks, but for anyone who has read any history it earns probability marks. Especially for as few people travel in those high atmospheres. It could have no correlation, but these reports are new since 2008, so how did the OBOGS function just fine for the first few years? I don’t know, but if you wanna make a stink for the nobility of the flag, first look at all those funny German names that popped up in NASA, DoD, medical and all sorts of other American scientific and military fields following the second World War. Then, figure out where they came from and what they believed in. Leopards don’t change their spots. Governments have never had qualms about experimenting on their finest, in fact, as one should plainly see, that is infinitely better than experimenting with their worst if you wanna take space.
3) Something else entirely is happening and our guess is truly as good as the Air Force’s. Because the F-22 is a bold new frontier in its own way, maybe something else is happening. Maybe little energy beings live in the magnetic poles and don’t like those Pratt and Whitney F-119-PW-100 turbofans with 35,000 pounds of thrust each rattling their houses. Maybe the flight time is too long for that high of altitude and those high of Gs for the human brain to adapt to. Maybe one of the sensor jammers is emanating a specific and caustic type of radiation that affects the pilots brain waves. Maybe there is a crazy electric interface like the one in the MiG-31 of Clint Eastwood’s 1980′s Firefox movie that is messing with brain waves. Who knows?
One thing is clear though, the F-22 Raptor is a catch-22 rapture. The Air Force is not going to ground its Raptor fleet again unless public outcry becomes too great; and the Air Force has a highly trained army of public relation officials to deal with that. F-22 whistleblowers, F-22 shmistleblowers. Safety is paramount when it leads to a contract or is a military concern, not when it is the military personnel’s concern. In fact, the Air Force has a bright, shiny new name for its finest fighter pilots: ‘data-collectors.’ At least they are now being honest. That’s the main thing though, whether this is a malfunction or something much more nefarious, it is something nefarious. Ultimately, as it always has been, research and development trumps all. Human progress wins out on human life, every time.
Just recently, props to our two decorated F-22 whistleblowers Captain Josh Wilson and Major Jeremy Gordon, the Defense Secretary announced that the military is going to install further oxygen backups for the F-22 cockpit over the next few months. The existing tiny pull ring for backup oxygen in some obscure cockpit corner is too difficult for pilots suffering oxygen deprivation to find and pull. Moreover, the obviously essential long range Alaskan training missions will be regrettably given over to older multi-billion dollar jet fleets still more than capable of executing these missions for decades to come. This contingent allows the F-22 to stay closer to base. The Air Force will have its cake and eat it too. More investment into a fleet worth close to a hundred billion dollars already. More contract opportunities and more ‘data-collecting.’ The F-22 Raptor, and its hamsters, fly on.
Benji Yossarian is a SilverVigilante.com correspondent, a former ex-Marine, a former ex-activist and a former ex-patriot. He has no degree, no certifications, affiliates with no groups and is self-educated making him an expert in nothing. Trusting him is dubious at best, especially as he feels everyone is trying to kill him.