F-22 Fighter Pilots Battle Mysterious 'Raptor Cough'


Top Air Force Commander to Hop in F-22 Cockpit

After the "Nightline" and "60 Minutes" reports, Air Force Air Combat Command head Gen. Mike Hostage released a statement expressing the service's "confidence" in the beleaguered jets.

"We live in a community where risk is part of our lives," he said. "If we think the risk has gone to a level where we just can't accept it, we either reduce that risk or eliminate it. But right now, we believe that risk -- although it's not as low as we would like it -- is low enough to safely operate the airplane at the current tempo."

Hostage said he would soon hop in the cockpit of a Raptor himself to help him understand what the pilots are facing and not stop flying until a solution to the mystery problem was found.

"I'm asking these guys to assume some risk that's over and above what everybody else is assuming, and I don't feel like it's right that I ask them to do it and then I'm not willing to do it myself -- that's not fair," he said.

The Air Force has always maintained that the "hypoxia-like" incidents happen in exceedingly rare circumstances -- 25 cases compared to the thousands of missions flown without incident – and they have installed a number of safety precautions to mitigate the danger.

Click here to return to The Blotter homepage.

  • 1
  • |
  • 2
Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...