April 19, 2013 by Mike Hoffman - defensetech.org
Three F-22s deployed to Kadena Air Base in Japan made precautionary landings over the period of three days in April for various reasons. However, none of the pilots complained of breathing problems that previous pilots had experienced in the fifth generation fighters, Air Force officials said.
It’s unclear what caused these precautionary landings, but the result of them have not incurred “unique flight restrictions” for the 12 F-22As deployed to Kadena, said 2nd Lt. Hope Cornin, a spokeswoman for the 18th Wing.
Two F-22s made precautionary landings on April 1, while another F-22 made a precautionary landing on April 3, Cornin said. No injuries were reported in any of these incidents.
The F-22 remains under a microscope as the fifth generation fighter continues to operate without the flight restrictions the Air Force had placed on the fleet because of complaints from pilots about a lack of oxygen in flight. The service worked for more than two years to figure out the problem and then come up with a solution.
Air Force leaders believe they have solved it by replacing the breathing regulator/anti-g (BRAG) valve, installing a new back-up oxygen system and changing the oxygen schedule for the F-22’s onboard oxygen generation system (OBOGS).
Plenty remain skeptical, but there have been no reported incidents since the Air Force lifted the flight restrictions to protect pilots.
Cornin pointed out that the F-22s involved with the precautionary landings never lost their flight status because of the problems experienced by the pilots.
F-22s with the 1st Fighter Wing, JointBase Langley-Eustis, Va., and the 192nd Fighter Wing, Va. Air National Guard, deployed to Japan in January and are scheduled to return to the U.S. this Spring, Cornin said.