The Air Force is continuing disciplinary action against one of the Air Force pilots who refused to fly the F-22 Raptor stealth fighter because the pricey jet’s faulty oxygen system was steadily poisoning him. Capt. Josh Wilson, from the Virginia Air National Guard, has been granted whistleblower protection under federal law — a status the Air Force has publicly acknowledged. But that hasn’t stopped the flying branch from beginning a process that may very well threaten to end the pilot’s career.
Wilson and Maj. Jeremy Gordon, also a Raptor pilot with the Virginia Guard, stopped flying the $400-million-per-copy F-22 after they and dozens of other pilots reported in-flight symptoms consistent with oxygen deprivation, including confusion and blackouts. The Air Force temporarily grounded some or all of its roughly 180 Lockheed Martin-made Raptors twice last year so it could study the jet’s onboard oxygen generator.