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Pentagon IG reviewing fatal Raptor crash

Feb. 9, 2012 - 10:32AM   |   Last Updated: Feb. 9, 2012 - 10:32AM  |  
Capt. Jeffrey Haney, who died in the November 2010 crash, joined the Air Force in 2003.
Capt. Jeffrey Haney, who died in the November 2010 crash, joined the Air Force in 2003. (Air Force)
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The Pentagon inspector general is investigating the Air Force's conclusions on a fatal F-22 crash, an unusual step for what are typically routine probes into aircraft accidents.

The IG sent a Jan. 25 letter to Air Force Secretary Michael Donley, saying the agency would investigate the Aircraft Investigation Board report into the November 2010 incident in Alaska, which killed Capt. Jeffrey Haney.

The http://www.airforcetimes.com/news/2011/12/air-force-f-22-crash-report-pilot-not-oxygen-system-blamed-121411w/">Air Force's investigation blamed Haney for the crash, saying that Haney didn't react quickly enough to activate the jet's emergency oxygen system or recover from a dive he entered into as he struggled to breathe. However, the report also confirms that a malfunction occurred in the Raptor's bleed air intakes, which caused an automatic shutdown of multiple aircraft functions that included the F-22's primary oxygen system.

In the letter to Donley, an IG official wrote that the agency will "focus on the adherence of the AIB to the procedures set forth in http://www.e-publishing.af.mil/shared/media/epubs/AFI51-503.pdf">Air Force Instruction (AFI) 51-503, ‘Aerospace Accident Investigations.'"

"Our assessment will also verify that AIB conclusions are supported by evidence of record consistent with standards of proof established by AFI 51-503," he wrote.

Defense Department IG spokeswoman Bridget Ann Serchak said in an email to media outlets that the DoD Inspector General "self-initiated" the investigation and that the office"does not comment on evaluations in progress."

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz denied Thursday that the DoD investigation was anything but routine, adding that the probe "is not specific to this weapons system, but simply to this inquiry, and naturally we will support that completely."

He said an Air Force Scientific Advisory Board investigation into theF-22's onboard oxygen system is near completion and its findings should be available soon.

"Through that effort we have not identified a specific engineering fault but a number of ways that we can ensure that adequate oxygen in very high performance airplanes that operate over a very extensive altitude [range] protects the operators and maintains their physiological capacity to rock and roll," Schwartz said at a forum hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a D.C. think tank

The investigation was first reported by InsideDefense.com.

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