F-22s Make Precautionary Landings in Kadena

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.

About the Author

Michael Hoffman
Michael Hoffman is the executive editor at Tandem NSI and a contributor to Military.com. He can be reached at mhoffman@tandemnsi.com.
  • Ricky of Ohio.

    Can’t wait till they fix the bugs. But that is one bad arse looking plane right there.

    • Brad

      except those external fuel tanks, kinda ruins the point….best looking plane on earth though when there is nothing on the wings.

      • USS ENTERPRISE

        They’re just like earrings.

      • Noha307

        I don’t know, those EFT’s look kinda cool. If nothing else, at least we get to see a relatively rare configuration. I wish we would see more pictures of the F-22 with fully missile-loaded external hardpoints – it ain’t very stealthy, but there’s nothing like an animal showing its set of razor sharp teeth.

      • duderino

        the pods are for long-distance logistical relocation only, thats not a battle-ready configuration.

      • Justin

        I think the EFTs look neat, like said, it’s not battle ready, but it just has a mean look to it.

  • Tony C.

    The F-22A pushes the human body to the endurance limits in it’s flight regime. Could be the pilots are now seeing the results of the stress placed on them. The Air Force should enable the F-22A to make auotmated landings in the event that the pilot becomes incapacitated. Vectored thrust enables up to 9G turns and beyond.

  • jamesb

    Question Tony C….

    The Air Force flew Intel birds that flew TWICE as fast as these a/c for decades…And one classified a/c that was thought to fly THREE times faster….Why all the sudden all these problems?

    • Tony C.

      They flew in a striaght line, not in air combat maneuvers. The problem existed for older fighters, but they lost speed in the turns. The F-22A can maintain speed
      and increase the G force on teh pilots. I worked on the F-14A in the Navy, it could perform high G turns as well. The F-14A would ease up on the pilot as the turn progressed and there were still pilots with health issues as a result of sustained G force. Most Navy pilots were too old by age 35 to fly in a fighter as a result. The F-22A can sustain thrust in a turn and force the pilot to blackout conditions. The F-16C also stresses the pilots in the same manner for a shorter time. Since the F-22A pilots are experienced F-15C or F-16C pilots, they are generally older at the time they start flying the F-22A. The aircraft is a beast is what I hear.

      • Restore Palestine

        Now that’s just hyping the F-22 and high G turns. Human endurance under high G force doesn’t change with the F-22, nor has the plane ever engaged in actual combat. Whatever stress a pilot may experience inside the F-22, it’s no different from that inside the F-15s or F-16s.

        The F-22 is a beast purely because it can kill its pilot with the poorly designed OBOGS. The mental stress in flying this accident-prone expensive piece of joke is what the pilots dread. The Russians and the Chinese are laughing at the USAF.

        • USS ENTERPRISE

          They are laughing? So why are they developing planes to counter this aircraft? Yes the plane hasn’t been in actual combat. But it has flown in war games, such as Red Flag. A beast that kills its pilots. Should we bring up the early days of the Russian aviation industry?

        • kommando

          You have no idea what you’re talking about.

        • Josh
          • Restore your mother

            NO IM NOT

        • Free America

          You continuously show your ignorance. F-22 can turn faster and sustain the turn for longer than the F-16 and the F-15. This plane has not been needed in combat because all of our 4th generation planes can easily handle any current threats.

          • USS ENTERPRISE

            Yeah. I mean, the F-15 can handle the best of Iran and NK, and of course, the F-16 tags along as well. When Eagles fly, MiGs die, or something along the lines of that.

          • Restore Palestine

            where’s the meds loony?

          • Restore Palestine

            No, Free Assmoronica, the US canceled the F***-22 because it can’t afford it.

        • Your mother

          What did you just say??????

    • Benjamin

      Flying in a straight line is one thing and doing a 9+ G turn is totally another. It is a law of physics.

      • Restore Palestine

        No. The 9G limit for pilots was well established a long time ago.

        • USS ENTERPRISE

          You can pull more than 9gs, its just that it is often limited to never exceed 9 because there is a very little chance that you will survive anything past that; though getting through even a few seconds of 9G is more than enough.

          • tiger

            The airframe has limits as well. Push too hard, it will break.

          • USS ENTERPRISE

            Yeah, but the F-15 can take a 9G load, and its 20+ years old. So what will a new, modern F-22 air frame do at 9 or more Gs?

          • tiger

            You pull 9G’s with drop tanks. You will crack things……

          • USS ENTERPRISE

            You always drop the tanks before you do any crazy ACM.

          • retired462

            How about 40 yrs. old

          • USS ENTERPRISE

            The F-15E was brought about in the seventies?

          • Yes, it was first trotted out for the first Gulf War, while not yet
            fully operational.

          • That is the 1990’s.

          • blight_

            http://www.ejectionsite.com/stapp.htm

            Stapp, MD/PhD set the record for ~46G’s, but he didn’t fight air to air.

            Of course, this is in forward acceleration. The 9G limit is 9G’s on the vertical. For instance, if you had an ejection seat possessed by Satan and it shot you out at excess of 9G for too long, bad things would happen.

          • tiger

            Thank God, we invented the Crash test dummy. Brave, but a little nuts…

          • Bill

            Not to mention that Stapp was a “passenger” and not a pilot in his tests. Even when measuring forward acceleration, I’d be very surprised/impressed if someone could make and maintain any sort of logical thought progression under that sort of physical stress.

            Vertical acceleration can occasionally go over 9’Gs, but you risk tearing your pulmonary artery to shreds… like you said “Bad things”.

  • Jim

    they didn’t usually do loops in the SR-71

  • Jason

    Unfortunately this is the type of nonsense the F16 pilots had to deal with until they decided to fix the problem.

  • Tad

    ” However, none of the pilots complained of breathing problems that previous pilots had experienced in the fifth generation fighters, Air Force officials said.”

    Complain and your career is over. But hey, it’s your choice, we’re not forcing you to be quiet.

  • Lance

    Well no surprise after very close inspection they passed. But when things get back to normal is the real test.

  • Belesari

    You know they had problems with the Super Hornets oxygen system doing the same. Know how they fixed it?

    Oxygen tank on the front of the suit.

    • From what I understand there were electrical connection problems also addressed in the Superbug…

  • wkb2texans

    The Air Force isn’t covering up this issue nor are aircrew members under fear of punishment if they report any continuing breathing/oxygen issues. The Air Force and some of the best engineers in the business spent more than 2 years trying to isolate the oxygen deprivation issue before they finally came up with what everyone thinks is the fix. So far, it looks like it is working.

    Those who claim otherwise … or claim there is some kind of conspiracy or other attempt to cover things up are simply clueless.

  • USS ENTERPRISE

    What now? Honestly. Maybe another computer bug like at the international date line. I seriously hope that this isn’t an oxygen system problem. Call in the F-15!

    • blight_

      I get the feeling that if the F-22’s electronics had been refitted to the -15, the same thing would’ve happened.

      • USS ENTERPRISE

        Thats not what I meant. I was saying just call in some F-15s for right now; the current “hotspot” (NK) has an air force filled with aircraft almost designed to be taken down by the F-15.

  • tiger

    Is “Precautionary landing” a new PC term for Emergency?

    • Live

      PC term for In-Flight- Emergency…lets be PC on the PC term… :)

  • anthony

    Yes the SR-71 also called Habu,goes fast 3 + and does great jobs.
    But the F22 beats them all awsome look and readyto a dog fight..
    antony

    • USS ENTERPRISE

      A-12?

  • Howie

    If this has nothing to do with the OBOGS issue. Then why all these aborted flights, what is the bug.. don’t tell me, the big white elephant shoved inside the hangar again..

    I thought these jets was the newest units in the USAF fleet.

    • USS ENTERPRISE

      Technically, that honor is reserved for the few operational F-35s. And new doesn’t mean flawless. F-22 broke ground in a pretty difficult area of aircraft design, that is, stealth, so I wouldn’t be complaining to much.

  • chuck

    Anyone have any idea how this compares to the “precautionary landing” rate of other airframes?

    I gotta think that with pretty much all fighters the rule is that any anomaly during training, and you bring it right back to base. You can practice failure modes in the simulator.

  • Holly
  • Howie

    Well i do not know how this relate to other jets. If we go by F-16 and F-15, which are conciderable older but yet less complex i still think they come out better on service record. Given the few numbers of F-22 and all..

    • USS ENTERPRISE

      I am a huge fan of the F-15. But with all respect to “the king” of the skies, the F-22 is lightyears ahead. Simulated training flights at Elemendorf and Nellis show kill ratios even HIGHER than the F-15’s 104.5 victories. That is substantial. Now, actual, real, situations, yes, the F-15 and F-16 have a better record. But the day the F-22 charges into battle, it will be clear how far ahead it is in the US arsenal. Now, of course, that is saying something, since the F-15 and F-16 hold some of the highest kill ratios ever.

      • Stratege

        Both F-15 and F-16 get their ratios from air combats against obsolete (generation behind) or outnumbered enemy aircraft.

        • Stratege

          Not to mention that many of Eagle’s and Falcon’s victims were 60’s era strike aircraft (such as Su-22), not even fighter jets.

      • Howie

        Strictly talking about servicebility record. This is an important issue. If you are bogged down time with F-22 or any other jets, you are not going to kill anything.. so my point stays valid.

      • Epsilon

        Forget about F-15’s record, it is against 2nd and 3rd generation monkey models and few radarless MiG-29, and not single victory against state of the art aircrafts of its time. There is a reason they built F-22 and that’s not because F-15 is the best 4th gen fighter. It has losing record against Flankers in exercises. And don’t forget that it’s about a whole air force. Iraq or Serbia could have F-15s or even F-22s and they would still be crushed and overwhelmed with Tomahawks and higher number of fighters and AWACSes behind their backs.