مقاله اصلی، نوشته W.J.Hennigan در لس آنجلس تایمز:
Some of the nation's top aviators are refusing to fly the radar-evading F-22 Raptor, a fighter with ongoing problems with the oxygen systems that have plagued the fleet for four years.At the risk of significant reprimand — or even discharge from the Air Force — fighter pilots are turning down the opportunity to climb into the cockpit of the F-22, the world's most expensive fighter jet.The Air Force did not reveal how many of its 200 F-22 pilots, who are stationed at seven military bases across the country, declined their assignment orders. But current and former Air Force officials say it's an extremely rare occurrence."It's shocking to me as a fighter pilot and former commander of Air Combat Command that a pilot would decline to get into that airplane," said retired four-star Gen. Richard E. Hawley, a former F-15 fighter pilot and air combat commander at Langley Air Force Base in Hampton, Va.He said he couldn't remember one specific incident in his 35-year career in which a fighter pilot declined his assignment.Concern about the safety of the F-22 has grown in recent months as reports about problems with its oxygen systems have offered no clear explanations why pilots are reporting hypoxia-like symptoms in the air. Hypoxia is a condition that can bring on nausea, headaches, fatigue or blackouts when the body is deprived of oxygen.The Air Force's handling of the investigation is being closely watched throughout the military and in Congress.The F-22, designed and built by Lockheed Martin Corp., is considered the most advanced fighter jet in the world. It entered service in 2005, and the Air Force is set to receive the last of its order of 188 planes later this month.The plane can reach supersonic speeds without using afterburners, enabling it to fly faster and farther. It's also packed with cutting-edge radar and sensors, enabling a pilot to identify, track and shoot an enemy aircraft before that craft can detect the F-22. The Air Force says the aircraft is essential to maintain air dominance around the world.According to the Air Force, each of the sleek, diamond-winged aircraft costs $143 million.
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Monday, April 30, 2012. Air Force Gen. Mike Hostage, commander of Air Combat Command, said Monday that the F-22 Raptor is vital to the Air Force and that the service continues to search what is causing hypoxia like symptoms in some pilots.