F-22 pilots refuse to fly and other stories in this week’s Air Force Times


Two Air Force pilots granted whistle-blower protection have said publicly that they refuse to fly the F-22, which has been plagued by oxygen problems.

Eleven F-22 pilots have suffered hypoxia – oxygen deprivation –  in the cockpit since September, and five maintainers have complained of similar symptoms, a spokesman for Air Combat Command said.

“I’m not comfortable flying the F-22 right now,” Maj. Jeremy Gordon, with the Virginia Air National Guard, told CBS’ “60 Minutes.”

The Air Force says it is pulling out all the stops to hone in on the problem, and has physiologists, doctors, engineers and others looking for a solution.

In other news, about 150,000 Air Force personnel including civilians and contractors are expected to go through the Air Force’s rifle qualification course by the end of the year.

Instituted six months ago, the course is meant to better simulate the up-close and personal combat situations that airmen find themselves in these days.  Airmen learn how to field-strip and reassemble their rifle or carbine, clear malfunctions, and shoot while moving.

“It’s definitely a plus for us to get the experience of how to move instead of just standing and doing one movement,” Tech Sgt. Arturo Quinones said of the course. “I like it.”

And more than 6,400 officers and enlisted airmen are affected by the latest changes to the Air Force Specialty Codes, which became effective on May 1.

One change calls for additional selection and retention criteria for honor guard airmen to “reduce the man hours and funds expended for disciplinary and disqualification processes.”

It was not immediately known if any of the changes require airmen to retrain, reclassify or change their jobs.

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