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  • Up in the Air: F-22s Back?
    Posted by Michael Bruno 7:46 PM on Sep 19, 2011

    AvWeek's congressional editor, Jen DiMascio, is reporting a USAF notification to lawmakers that the F-22 is expected to return to the skies this week.

    The Raptor fleet has been grounded since May 3 because pilots were showing symptoms of hypoxia. Despite the lifting of the flight ban, an Air Force Scientific Advisory Board investigating the problem still has not pinpointed a “single, definitive root cause” of the symptoms, according to a release provided to Congress, and "some" flight restrictions will remain "for a short period" as pilots regain proficiency.

    In July, AvWeek's Bill Sweetman provided an interesting update on the probe into the onboard oxygen-generation system (Obogs). Combined with the lack of exposure in the Libya conflict -- an idea once teased by no less than the Air Force chief of staff -- it doesn't make for the most auspicious year for the Raptor.

    With the annual Air Force Association show going on just outside the Beltway this week, it will be interesting to see what more gets said about the fighter's fate.

    UPDATE: AvWeek's Amy Butler, who's at AFA, just forwarded further confirmation from the Air Force:

    "We now have enough insight from recent studies and investigations that a return to flight is prudent and appropriate," says Gen. Norton Schwartz, chief of staff. "We're managing the risks with our aircrews, and we're continuing to study the F-22's oxygen systems and collect data to improve its performance."

    Tags: tacair, ar99, F-22, Raptor, afa11

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