Report: Air Force insiders foresaw F-22 oxygen woes years ago

Posted at 6:55 AM, Sep 28, 2012
and last updated 2012-09-28 06:56:52-04

A small group of Air Force experts knew something was wrong with the F-22 years before pilot’s began experiencing problems, according to a report from the Associated Press.

Documents obtained by the Associated Press show that the group proposed a range of solutions to the oxygen problem by 2005. but those were rejected over cost concerns.

… the working group that was formed in 2002, when the fighter was still in its early production and delivery stage.

It called itself RAW-G, for Raptor Aeromedical Working Group, and brought together dozens of experts in life support, avionics, physiology and systems safety, along with F-22 aircrew and maintainers.

According to the Air Force, RAW-G was created at the suggestion of Daniel Wyman, then a flight surgeon at Florida’s Tyndall Air Force Base, where the first F-22 squadron was being deployed. Wyman is now a brigadier general and the Air Combat Command surgeon general.

By the time RAW-G got going, some pilots were already experiencing a problem called “Raptor cough” — fits of chest pain and coughing dating to 2000 that stem from the collapse of overworked air sacs in the lungs.

The group concluded that the F-22’s On-Board Oxygen Generation System — or OBOGS — was giving pilots too much oxygen, causing the coughing. The more often and higher the pilots flew after being oxygen-saturated, group members believed, the more vulnerable pilots affected by the condition would be to other physiological incidents.

RAW-G recommended more tests and that the F-22’s oxygen delivery system be adjusted through a digital controller and a software upgrade.

Read the full story from the Associated Press