Wed, Apr 26, 2006
Firefighters Eventually Had To Cut Him Out
An alert News-Spy forwarded along an official Department of
Defense report concerning a stuck canopy on one of the Air Force's
new F-22A Raptor fighters, that resulted in a few tense moments as
ground crews worked to figure out how to get the pilot out of the
According to Air Force documents, the incident occured
on the morning of April 10, and involved Raptor 03-041. During
preflight checks, a "Red Ball" warning for a canopy unlock
indication displayed, and the pilot's attempts to clear the
problems by cycling the canopy failed.
After cycling of the canopy for the final time, it remained in
the down and locked position -- trapping the pilot in the cockpit.
The pilot subsequently aborted his preflight check, and called for
ground crews to help him figure out what had happened.
The 27th Aircraft Maintenance Unit consulted with Lockheed
Martin and the F-22A System Program Office to see if there was any
alternate way to open the canopy and free the pilot -- but alas,
those options failed.
Eventually, fire department personnel were called to the scene
to cut the canopy glass and free the pilot. At approximately 1315
-- almost five hours after the ordeal began -- the pilot was freed
from the plane.
Crews are now troubleshooting the plane, to determine what
caused the latch failure.
According to the report, the cost of a replacement canopy is
over $182,000 -- nevermind the added cost to repair the subsequent
damage to the aircraft's radar-absorbent skin, caused by the cut
canopy glass on the plane's fuselage.
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