Air Force cites progress on F-22 oxygen mystery

June 15, 2012 • Business

FILE – In this April 30, 2012, file photo, an Air Force F-22 Raptor displays it’s weapons bays as it goes through maneuvers during a demonstration at Langley Air Force Base in Hampton, Va., Monday, April 30, 2012. Two members of Congress said Thursday, June 14, 2012, that new information provided by the Air Force shows an oxygen-deficit problem on F-22 fighter jets is worse than previously disclosed. (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Air Force believes it is getting much closer to pinpointing the reason why pilots of its prized F-22 stealth fighters sometimes suffer an oxygen deficit during flight, a senior general said Thursday.

The problem prompted the Air Force to ground the aircraft for a period in 2011, and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta last month ordered new flight restrictions after CBS’ “60 Minutes” program aired interviews with F-22 pilots who complained about the oxygen problem.

Maj. Gen. Charles Lyon, who is managing the Air Force’s effort to resolve the mysterious problem, said in an Associated Press interview that it is likely that the pilots’ symptoms are caused by previously unknown restrictions on their breathing.

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