There are a number of things that may turn up on a blood test after several pilots start acting strangely. But one thing doctors were not expecting was to discover a high concentration of several impossible chemicals – including antifreeze in their bloodstream. Why are so many F-22 pilots turning up with this and other chemicals in their blood and what does it mean for the future of the F-22 program?
The discovery has a number of officials concerned even as F-22 systems worldwide are seeing an ongoing and quickly developing series of similar problems. After pilots started acting how one would expect an individual to act after a night of heavy drinking in massive numbers and all at the same time with no explanation, and investigation was immediately scrambled. What investigators and doctors discovered was that the pilots were somehow poisoned with several chemicals, including antifreeze.
The last thing they were expecting was a chemical of unknown origin to be invading the bloodstream of those in charge of some of the most deadly vehicles in the air, but the three month investigation was undeniably conclusive. Somehow these pilots were getting dosed with a chemical they were unaware of while in flight or shortly prior to flight and there was no way of tracing its origin. At least that’s how it looked at first.
Antifreeze has been known to be used dangerously in illicit moonshine stills, but one of the last places you would expect to see one of these would be the cockpit of an F-22 Raptor – nor any of its byproducts. But after ruling this possibility out, the investigation turned instead to the other chemical components discovered in the pilots’ bloodstream. In addition to antifreeze, it was discovered the pilots also had disturbingly high levels of propane and the fumes of combusted oil. So how did they get there?
The mystery deepened when it turned out that the problems were not being suffered by a single community, but quickly were spread to six of seven bases causing pilots to forget several things – including how to operate their on-board equipment. And while some are suggesting the on-board oxygen generation system may be to blame still others are suspicious of the whole matter.
Still, the bizarre event has caused the grounding of the entire $80 billion dollar fleet indefinitely. While the F-22 grounding has been due to several different issues, part of the reason these craft are never likely to see any combat is because of the series of mysterious problems that seem to follow them. Just like the space program, the F-22 was a symbol of the next step in technological achievement. The fact that these birds have been grounded has more than a few pilots trained in their use miffed and demanding answers.
But answers may not be very forthcoming. After the series of mysterious incidents involving the F-22 fleet, the program has been all but cancelled until further notice. Incredible as it may sound, an $80 billion program has been effectively ended because of mystery.