Exclusive: Family Demands Truth in Air Force F-22 Pilot's Death


Widow Files Lawsuit, Air Force Defends Report

Anna Haney, Jeff's wife, filed a lawsuit against Lockheed Martin and several defense contractors involved in the plane's production for wrongful death, claiming that Lockheed and the others purposefully sold the Air Force a plane they knew was defective and put her husband in harm's way. Jeff is survived by Anna and their two daughters.

In response to Anna Haney's lawsuit, Lockheed Martin said that while the loss of Capt. Haney was a "tragic event," the company "does not agree with those allegations and... will respond to them through the appropriate legal process."

Multiple top Air Force officials said that they stand by the investigation board's findings and believe Haney was awake and just too concerned with pulling a ring to activate his emergency oxygen system -- one that the Air Force has since redesigned to be more accessible -- to notice he was flying straight down in the middle of the night.

"When you have an emergency, you are focused on that emergency and there are times when we are susceptible and vulnerable to over-channelizing our efforts," said Maj. Gen. Noel Jones, a former F-16 pilot and current Air Force Director of Operational Capability Requirements at a press briefing in March. "So the reconstruction of what the aircraft was doing, the inputs to aircraft controls made the [investigative] board believe that [Capt. Haney] was not incapacitated and it ultimately was [disorientation]."

The commander of the Air Force's Air Combat Command, Gen. Mike Hostage, told reporters earlier this week Haney was "simply presented with a series of circumstances that he was unable to overcome."

"The people who know and love Jeff know better," Jennifer Haney said. "We know that Jeff, whatever was going on inside that cockpit, Jeff did everything he was capable and trained to do until he was unable to do any more.

"I know that the Air Force has said that they were very proud to have Jeff and are very sorry for our loss -- well then, in Jeff's name, fix this," she said. "We want to make sure Jeff did not die in vain -- that his death will mean something and that if it saves lives of pilots now, future pilots, then he died for the greater good or something."

After an Air Force scientific board's investigation into the mystery problem that also failed to pinpoint a "smoking gun," the Air Force began to enact changes to the plane recommended by the board, including improving the emergency oxygen system.

But for all their effort, the Air Force still doesn't have what Jennifer Haney said is most important both to her family and to the families of pilots that risk their lives every day at the controls of the F-22: answers.

"I believe Jeff deserves that. That was my baby brother and I believe he deserves that. He deserves the truth to be told as to what happened. Not anybody's guesses," she said. "He deserves the truth. He deserves honor and so do his little girls."

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