The latest saga in the F-22 soap opera appears to have taken a new turn. The Air Force has told F-22 pilots to get used to coughing, and the ground
crews that if they get sick around the aircraft, it's in their heads and they're fine.
The changes made to the flight suit, and the oxygen system won't do anything for the coughing, which actually has nothing to do with the OBOGs issue.
The cough is actually caused by acceleration atelectasis, which is also sometimes seen in U-2 pilots.
As for the ground crews, the Air Force says it found no evidence they were really sick. The report says that none of the maintainer blood or urine
samples showed anything unusual.
The Air Force has some bad news for the pilots of its F-22 Raptor stealth fighters: Your planes are going to make you feel crappy and there’s
not much anyone can do about it. And the message to the maintainers of the radar-evading jet is even more depressing. Any illness they feel from
working around the Raptor is apparently all in their heads, according to the Air Force.
Those admissions, buried in newly released Congressional records, represent the latest twist in the years-long saga of the F-22′s faulty oxygen
system, which since at least 2008 has been choking pilots, leading to confusion, memory loss and blackouts — combined known as hypoxia — that may
have contributed to at least one fatal crash. Ground crews have also reported growing sick while working around F-22s whose engines are running.
The Air Force claims its has a handle on the in-flight blackouts. All 180 or so F-22s are having faulty filters removed and new backup oxygen
generators installed. There have also been changes to the G-suits pilots wear. But the Air Force says the alterations won’t do anything to fix the
so-called “Raptor cough,” a chronic condition afflicting almost all F-22 pilots.