Langley's F-22 pilot oxygen emergency during Red Flag caught on audio tape

The F-22 Raptor was among the players of the recent Red Flag 12-3 exercise at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada.

Belonging to the 27th FS from Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, the planes did not feature the famous Increment 3.1 that gives the stealthy fighters the capability to use air-to-surface weapons, and could only play the air-to-air role.

Youtube user “pdlgs”, a reader of this blog, has recorded some interesting radio comms of the exercise that he also uploaded on his YT channel for everyone to hear.

Among the several minutes of recorded pilot and controller chats, he has also caught an F-22 pilot using callsign “Rocket 04” experiencing an in-flight physiological incident during a mission: suffering hypoxia like symptoms, the pilot declares an emergency requesting immediate descent to FL180 (18,000 feet) to face the oxygen deprivation condition.

Click below to hear the formation leader, informing the Nellis Range controller of the emergency.

Pdlgs has also recorded very weak audio file about Rocket 4 leaving the airspace and being escorted home by Rocket 3.

Noteworthy, the Squadron attending the last Red Flag is a unit of the 1st Fighter Wing, and Maj. Jeremy Gordon and Capt. Josh Wilson, the two “whistleblowers” appearing on CBS 60 minutes to explain why they were “uncomfortable” flying the Raptor (before changing idea few days later) belong to the 192th FW of the Virginia ANG, an associate unit of the Air Force’s 1st FW at Langley.

Because of the mysterious problem that is still choking F-22 pilots without a known root cause, the Pentagon has restricted Air Force Raptors to fly near a “proximate landing location” in order to give pilots the possibility to land quickly if their planes’ On Board Oxygen Generating System (OBOGS) fail.

As done by “Rocket 04”.

Warbird Digest
About David Cenciotti 3633 Articles
David Cenciotti is a freelance journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written four books.