When an F-22 Raptor malfunctioned in mid-flight, leading to a crash that killed its pilot, the Air Force went into damage-control mode. Gen. Norton Schwartz, the chief of staff, insisted there was no way that the oxygen generator on his prized stealth jet — a system widely suspected of being dangerously flawed — caused the crash. And even now that an internal inquiry seems to contradict Schwartz, the Air Force is still blaming Capt. Jeffrey Haney for the crash that cost Haney his life.
The most important discovery in the Air Force’s official report on the Nov. 10, 2010 accident in Alaska: The oxygen system in Haney’s F-22 failed in mid flight. Haney was running out of air. And yet the report concludes the crash was Haney’s fault, not the plane’s.
That downplayed discovery could be the latest evidence of a potentially fatal design flaw in the Raptor — and a sign that the world’s most fearsome jet fighter probably hasn’t moved past its recent safety-related groundings. In any event, the Alaska crash was a major embarrassment in a long chain of them for the radar-evading F-22, which costs $377 million per plane.
337 million per plane for a plane that may or may not be able to properly deliver oxygen to its pilot. Meanwhile, we can’t fucking pass a bill to extend the payroll tax cut by two months.