From the Warren Tribune Chronicle, Warren, Ohio:
In April 2008, some pilots flying the Air Force's vaunted F-22 Raptor began reporting trouble breathing while in the air. More than four years later, the Pentagon still hasn't solved the problem, apparently a serious one involving equipment. . . .
A few pilots actually have refused to fly the F-22, because of the oxygen system failure.
The F-22, at more than $400 million each when fully equipped, is among the most advanced weapons in the U.S. arsenal. It is a stealth craft, made to invade enemy airspace without being detected. Given the shift in tactics used by the armed forces, it is critical the Air Force be able to deploy F-22s whenever and wherever they are needed.
Yet earlier this year, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta ordered no F-22 be sent on a mission outside a "proximate distance" from a base - in case pilots suffer oxygen deprivation. . . .
Some members of Congress, both Democrat and Republican, want answers about the F-22. They should insist on assurances pilots are not being jeopardized - and national defense is not being hampered. Then, they should demand to know why it took so long for the Air Force to address what clearly is a serious problem.
* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.