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Raptor Crash

F-22 Raptor

CNN is reporting that a F-22A Raptor went down at approximately 10:30AM [no time zone specified] at Edwards AFB in California.

It would probably belong to the 411th or 412th Flight Test Squadron. No word on the pilot.

Essentially we know that taxpayers are out $150 million for an aircraft and may have lost one of our best pilots.

Update: As I feared from the delay in reporting the status of the pilot, the CNN report now says the the pilot did not make it: “Lockheed Martin said the test pilot, David Cooley, 49, of Palmdale, California, joined the company in 2003 and was a 21-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force.”

8 comments

1 Badtux { 03.25.09 at 6:55 pm }

Hopefully the pilot punched out early. Edwards is in the middle of the desert and there’s not the reluctance to punch out that a pilot will have over a populated area, where the inclination is to attempt to get the aircraft out of its situation or at least try to get it to over an unpopulated area before you let’er rip.

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2 Bryan { 03.25.09 at 7:45 pm }

It should be like they guys on our ranges, you dump data as you punch out. We let the Gulf have them down here, but they hit the desert out there. They are reporting an F-22A, but those squadrons don’t fly regular birds, they test mods. If there was any time, the pilot punched out.

This must be out in the middle of nothing, because they normally report pilot status a lot sooner. There hasn’t been an update since the initial report.

3 Steve Fortson { 03.25.09 at 8:25 pm }

The pilot was 49 year old David Cooley, a Lockheed Martin test pilot. He was a 21 year Air Force veteran that had flown with Lockheed since 2003. He didn’t survive the crash.

Thoughts and prayers to the family.

4 Bryan { 03.25.09 at 9:54 pm }

Thanks for the heads up, Steve. I was afraid that was the reason they didn’t report on the status of the pilot immediately – next-of-kin notification.

5 Kryten42 { 03.25.09 at 10:21 pm }

That’s a real shame. 🙁 Something must have gone seriously wrong very fast for a veteran like that not to survive.

Condolences to the family.

Rest in Peace.

6 Bryan { 03.25.09 at 11:56 pm }

They must have been doing early testing on a modification if they were using a Lockheed Martin pilot. They are already certifying Air Force pilots at Tyndall, which is just East of me.

You accept that it is a dangerous occupation, but it still comes as a shock when things go South.

7 Badtux { 03.26.09 at 12:41 am }

Bummer :-(.

I’m often buzzed by the F-18 jockeys from China Lake and various makes and models of jet fighters from Edwards AFB when I’m out in the desert in my Jeep. You’re just driving along, and suddenly “WHAM!” and it’s like, “wha? what just happened? Did all my tires just explode at once because one of them environmentalist nutcases put nail strips across the road again?!” Then you notice the jet fighter in front of you and realize that you just got buzzed by a fighter jock practicing taking out vehicles in the desert, and that if this were real, you’d be dead before you knew you were dead :-). (the WHAM is his sound catching up with him!).

Those guys (and occasional gal) have the best job in the world. Birds are envious of them. Alas, when you have a bird that high-strung things can go wrong *fast*, especially at the low altitudes and high speeds that pilots are training at over the desert… it’s a wonder that more pilots don’t end up splattered across the mountainsides, they drop in through one slot, and waggle out through another one after they’ve made their run “killing” everything on the road through the valley. Training and superb maintenance of their birds, that’s the ticket. But obviously that wasn’t enough in this case :-(.

8 Bryan { 03.26.09 at 12:56 am }

The problem with mods in aircraft that can pull the Gs of an F-22 is that if there’s a problem in the fly-by-wire you are toast. The last B-2 crash was because of a faulty sensor reading.

Special Ops is never over 1000 feet when in goes over my house. That’s not a lot of time to recover, even in aircraft that slow. You run out of flight space a lot faster in the F aircraft.

I hope they can recover the data recorders to find out what happened.