Lockheed Martin's F-22 Raptor may have a design flaw that causes pilots to lose oxygen but, hey, it's a really fast plane!
That's one way to interpret the company's response to a Sunday 60 Minutes investigation by Lesley Stahl into the plane's faulty oxygen system that's causing pilots to become disoriented while at the controls. In an unprecedented move, two decorated Air Force pilots, Maj. Jeremy Gordon and Capt. Josh Wilson refused to fly the plane and put their careers on the line by airing their concerns on the CBS program last night.
On camera, Gordon and Wilson claimed that "a vast, silent majority" of Raptor pilots believe their lives are in danger because the lightning-fast jets make them black out or temporarily lose control—a hazard they say has caused Air Force doctors to say no one should be flying the $400 million jets. (Meanwhile, worried pilots are taking out extra life-insurance policies as the Air Force keeps the planes in the air and, the two men say.)
But on Sunday, Lockheed Martin launched a counter-messaging campaign on its Twitter feed, lauding the technological superiority of the plane and eschewing any talk of oxygen deprivation or hypoxia, as the condition is called among military health specialists.