Updated: Tuesday, 10 Jul 2012, 9:11 PM EDT
Published : Tuesday, 10 Jul 2012, 9:11 PM EDT
WASHINGTON, D.C. (WAVY) - Lawmakers continue to express concerns about the number of incidents involving the safety of the F-22 Raptor.
Most recently, an F-22 pilot at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam reported problems with the life-support system on July 6.
U.S. Senator Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Congressman Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), a former Air Force pilot, have pushed the Air Force for several weeks to find out what is causing pilots to experience hypoxia-related in-flight emergencies. According to documents released in June , F-22 pilots experience a loss of oxygen at a rate at least ten times higher than aboard any other U.S. Air Force aircraft.
"I have concerns about the Air Force's ability to get to the bottom of this," Warner said. "This seems to be a never-ending saga."
The problem reported by the F-22 pilot in Hawaii last week was just the latest in a growing number of incidents with the F-22 life-support systems. In June, a pilot at Langley reported a "restricted airflow" incident and on May 31 there was a mishap at Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida in which an F-22 reportedly impacted the runway without extending its landing gear.
Attributing the information to the Air Force, a New York Times article cited a total of 36 hypoxia incidents with 21 reportedly classified as 'unexplained.'
According to a letter signed by both Warner and Kinzinger, those numbers appear to include additional incidents not disclosed in a June 12 briefing they received from the Air Force.
"The reality is, that the Senator and I are trying to get to the bottom of a problem and we'd definitely like more information as we continue to insure that these pilots are safe, Kinzinger said.
In April, the Air Force insisted it was getting close to a solution.
"We are making significant progress towards an answer," U.S. Air Force General Michael Hostage said. "I don't want to characterize how far or when."
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