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Captain Jeff Haney was one of the Air Force’s best pilots; so when he crashed his F-22 Raptor into the Alaskan countryside in November 2010 it was difficult to believe he was at fault.At least it was difficult for everyone except the Air Force, which placed blame squarely on Haney’s shoulders in a December 2011 investigation.
A review of the case this week by the Department of defence (DOD) inspector general, however, came to a different conclusion. The DOD found insufficient evidence that Haney was at fault and recommended that his case be reviewed.
It’s looking more and more like the crash was due to technical problems with the problem-plagued F-22.
At 6:17 p.m. on November 16, 2010 Capt. Jeffrey Haney departed Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson near Anchorage, Alaska
Capt. Haney had been out with two other F-22s on an opposed surface attack tactics (SAT) training mission — a mock bombing run
The evening was dark, cold, and clear with unlimited visibility and 74 per cent moon illumination over snow-covered terrain
The tactical portion of the flight was completed without incident and the jets were on a nice steady cruise back to base
At 7:39 p.m. the lead F-22 pilot saw through his intra-flight data link that Capt. Haney's position was 131 degrees at 38,400 feet
The intra-flight data link allows all the pilots within a flight group to monitor each other's status without breaking radio silence
Moments later the lead pilot called on Haney to rejoin the formation and he climbed right to get back into the group
At 7:42, a C BLEED HOT caution advisory flashed through the Raptor's monitoring systems, saying the craft had detected an oxygen leak and would shut off oxygen
30 seconds later Haney was in a 240 degree roll, that brought him upside down, nose down, tilted to the ground
After a lengthy investigation the Air Force found that Capt. Haney's oxygen system shut off, forcing him into hypoxia. Deprived of oxygen Jeff Haney could have passed out, and shot into seizure, or a coma, before he hit the ground.
The Pentagon paid $77.4 billion for 180 F-22s, and though they were cleared for combat in 2005, the US military has yet to use a single Raptor in battle
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