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F-22 crash blamed on pilot error

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posted on Aug, 2 2009 @ 04:23 AM

The pilot, 49-year-old David Cooley, was killed instantly when he ejected at 1,188m (3,900ft), or only 1.49 seconds before the Lockheed-made jet struck the ground digging a 6.1m crater, according to the accident investigation board's (AIB) report.

Cooley ejected with the Raptor still in a steep dive at Mach 1.3. At that speed, the F-22 exceeded the survivable limit by about 165kts for the advanced concept ejection seat (ACES) II, the report said.

While gathering data for a captive carriage test of an undisclosed weapon, Cooley performed the same high-g maneouvre three times in a row. Upon the third manoeuvre, Cooley experienced a physiological reaction known as "almost g-induced loss of consciousness" or A-LOC.

Flight Global.

Question. Maybe they should put younger pilots doing high 'g' maneuvers? Or are older pilots just as capable at maintaining g's?

[edit on 2/8/2009 by C0bzz]

posted on Aug, 2 2009 @ 05:30 AM
I do not think it's as simple as that. This man was a very experienced and trusted pilot with a record of performing well. No one is really immune to G-LOC if the right set of circumstances occurs. If Cooley did the same maneuver three times in a row, it could be that the last was to be the most extreme of the bunch, and unfortunately, there was not enough altitude to recover. Also, the F-22 is an impressive machine. It can get to 9G+ in an instant and hold it without losing airspeed or altitude. They stress, even to experienced pilots transitioning to the F-22, that it is very easy to find yourself in a high G situation without anticipating it if you're not careful.

I like that they're confident enough to let us know the Raptor can do Mach 1.3 at 3,900 AGL though.

[edit on 2-8-2009 by WestPoint23]

posted on Aug, 2 2009 @ 09:29 AM
and what happened to this ` auto correct` button that apparantly on this aircraft? or is that more bollocks.

posted on Aug, 2 2009 @ 08:39 PM

Originally posted by Harlequin
and what happened to this ` auto correct` button that apparantly on this aircraft? or is that more bollocks.

It has never had such a feature. Anyway, any "auto correct" button still would not miraculously defy the laws of physics.

posted on Aug, 8 2009 @ 11:10 AM
Thanks for this. I have been waiting for this report since it happened.

So it isn't a mid air disintegration as was initially proposed then. Still.. that bit about a captive carriage test... Any details?

posted on Aug, 8 2009 @ 02:55 PM
There is nothing unusual about the captive-carriage test. Raptor 4008 has been used for several years as a weapons integration platform for AMRAAM, SDB, etc. Each weapon has to be mounted on its pylon in the weapons bay and carried to check loads characteristics throughout envelope expansion. Tests are carried out with weapon bay doors in closed and open configurations during various maneuvers. This is eventually followed by stores separation tests at various speeds.

The mishap flight was one of several runs to collect data with a missile in the left side weapons bay (SWB) during high speed maneuvers (including rolling inverted!) with the SWB door open.

The pilot, David Cooley, was extremely experienced and highly qualified. With over 4,500 flight hours that included experience in the T-38, F-111, F-15, F-16, and F-22, he should have been absolutely proficient in performing the anti-g strain maneuver (AGSM) to mitigate the effects of high-g forces during flight. His most recent AGSM evaluation and training (31 January 2007), however, resulted in a rating of "average." This means that his AGSM performance "had not been mastered fully" and that minor AGSM performance errors impacted his breathing and muscle-straining technique.

Audio recording of his high-g test mission on 23 March 2009, just a few days prior to the mishap flight, indicate that he was using improper AGSM breathing technique.

On the day of the mishap, Cooley made three test runs. During the first two test maneuvers, he performed an AGSM characterized by long, grunting air exchanges at 5- to 6-second intervals. During the second run, he seemed to be having some difficulty as his AGSM seemed particularly labored and afterward he was heard to exclaim, "Oh, man." During his third run, he did not execute a proper AGSM. He was not heard to inhale but instead made labored grunts and groans accompanied by nearly continuous exhalation. As a result, he became susceptible to "almost g-induced loss of consciousness," or A-LOC.

Investigators determined that "there was a progressive breakdown in his AGSM technique during each successive test maneuver." As a result of his physical impairment due to A-LOC, Cooley lost situational awareness while the aircraft was in a steep dive. He failed to recover, ejected at high speed, and died due to blunt-force trauma from air blast during ejection. The Accident Investigation Board concluded that the cause of the mishap was the pilot's "adverse physiological reaction to high acceleration forces, resulting in channelized attention and loss of situational awareness."

It's easy to second guess the pilot's decision-making process with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight but it seems he should have realized that he was setting himself up for disaster. On previous test missions, he must have been aware that he was struggling with the AGSM. During the mishap flight particularly, he must have felt his technique slipping during the first two maneuvers. It would have been better for all concerned if he had aborted the mission following the second run. I'm not sure if that course of action would have been career-limiting or earned him great praise but at least he would be alive and the airplane in one piece.

posted on Aug, 8 2009 @ 04:35 PM
obviously were at the limits of what man can do consistently, and he was classed as one of the best of the best to get a ticket for this craft, either way the guy is a legend for what he does up there and a dam shame. rip x

posted on Aug, 14 2009 @ 10:27 PM
reply to post by Shadowhawk

I was interested in your reply to the crash of the F22. Your observatiopns were right on it. Your conclusion was to the point. lastly I agree pressure on performance regarding careers is a constant facture the always blinds connon sense. thanks

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