Whistleblower Law Blog

Air Force Pilots Blow the Whistle on F-22 Fighter Jet Design Flaws that May Cause Pilots to Black Out

The Huffington Post reported earlier this month that two elite U.S. Air Force pilots, Major Jeremy Gordon and Captain Josh Wilson, are seeking protection under federal whistleblower law for revealing safety concerns with the F-22 Raptor and for refusing to fly the $400 million jets.  The two pilots risked their careers by appearing in uniform on the CBS news program “60 Minutes” to discuss the F-22 problem without permission from the Air Force. According to Gordon and Wilson, the F-22 jets have a faulty oxygen system which is causing numerous pilots to suffer from oxygen deprivation and black out.

In 2010, Captain Jeffrey Haney died after his F-22 crashed in Alaska. Although the crash was attributed to pilot error, evidence shows that Haney blacked out prior to crashing.  After this incident, more than a dozen other F-22 crashes prompted the Air Force to ground the jets in May 2011. Following an investigation, the Air Force found no “definitive cause” for the black outs and put the jets back in the air this last September.  As an interim corrective measure, the Air Force ordered a change to the charcoal filters in the F-22’s air filtration system.  However, following this update, several pilots, including Gordon, suffered from oxygen deprivation, and some coughed up black sputum.  Gordon and Wilson have stated that they disclosed their concerns to the press because despite knowing about this safety issue, the Air Force has been ordering pilots to continue flying the F-22 jets and is threatening pilots that refuse to fly with disciplinary action.

The Employment Law Group® law firm has an extensive nationwide whistleblower practice  representing employees who have been victims of retaliation, including members of the military and federal employees.


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