Toxic Glue Causes Mysterious F-22 Pilot Syndrome, Says Expert

Illustration for article titled Toxic Glue Causes Mysterious F-22 Pilot Syndrome, Says Expert

There is still no official explanation for the ongoing hypoxia-like symptoms experienced by F-22 Raptor pilots. The USAF investigation concluded that they have no clue. Now, someone else claims to know the source of the problem, which has grounded the fleet repeatedly.

Pierre Sprey—father of the A-10 Warthog and mother of the F-16 Viper—says that the problem is the glues used to keep the fighter's stealth coating in place. Sprey says that the heat caused by the air friction at high speed—above Mach 1.6—may be causing the glues to emit toxic gases that affect the pilots. If true, this also explains why ground crews are having similar problems. They would be exposed to some of those toxic gasses after landing.

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The aircraft's high speed and maneuverability also causes continuous repairs on the F-22 stealth coating, which requires more glue applied through the airplane. It's a vicious circle, he says, which "increases the risk to the pilots."

The US Air Force claims that this is not true and no toxins have been found on the pilots' blood, life-support system or cockpit air samples. Sprey said that the military haven't really look into the glue problem because the USAF couldn't find the toxins in the pilots' blood.

He also claims that they don't really want to look into this problem because it would cause a huge problem for the Pentagon, requiring "major rebuild of the airplane." This would also affect the F-35 Lightning II, he says: "the F-22 and the F-35 are three-fourths of the Air Force budget, and that is what is at stake."

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The plot is thickening. [News Herald via Defense Tech]

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DISCUSSION

I think i heard somewhere that they added a filter in the oxygen line to pick up any contaminants in the air supply. I'm thinking that if the glue was toxic, that it would be picked up in those filters.

Additionally, aircraft oxygen is supplied from bleed air from the engine. That bleed air comes from the compressor section on the jet engine. The air that goes into a jet engine comes from the free stream flow. We know it comes from the free stream because there are channels in between the engine intake and the fuselage. These channels (shown in picture) divert the boundary layer from going into the engine. It's in this boundary layer that any of these 'toxic glue fumes' would be.

Lastly, How much glue must there be to be giving off fumes after thousands of hours of flight time. There's only a finite amount of glue holding on whatever it's holding. It has to run out at some point.