It’s very important for a fighter pilot to have confidence in his kit:
After an extensive investigation and grounding, the Air Force doesn’t know why some F-22 pilots have suffered symptoms similar to oxygen deprivation while flying the fighter (including one last week) and has returned the full fleet to service. During the more than four months that the aircraft was grounded the Air Force failed to find a common thread that linked at least 12 reported incidents in which pilots reported hypoxia-like symptoms while flying the jet. According to Air Force Chief of Staff General Norton Schwartz, the oxygen system was not the cause of a fatal crash during a November 2010 nighttime training mission. Prior reports published by the Air Force Times have stated that tests performed on Raptor pilots have found toxins in the pilots’ blood. And reports previously published by the Air Force Times, and an Air Force accident report, suggest that not everyone is convinced the jet’s oxygen system is trouble-free.
One gets the sense that the Raptor bubbas aren’t quite there yet.