Report blames pilot error in AK Air Force crash

December 16, 2011 - 4:20 PM

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A U.S. Air Force investigation team has blamed pilot error for a deadly F-22 Raptor crash last year in Alaska.

A report on the investigation said Capt. Jeffrey Haney failed to correct his diving aircraft because he was likely focused on restoring airflow to his oxygen mask.

That delayed his recognition of the aircraft's altitude and the corrective action necessary to right the jet, according to the report posted on the Judge Advocate General's Corps' website.

Haney did not eject and was killed upon impact in the November 2010 training mission about 100 miles north of Anchorage. Investigators found no evidence that Haney activated an emergency oxygen supply.

The nation's F-22 fighter jets were grounded for several months earlier this year over pilot complaints about lack of oxygen.

But the accident investigation board concluded hypoxia wasn't a factor in the Alaska crash and that Haney would have had adequate reserve blood oxygen supply after the onboard oxygen generation system failed.

Hypoxia is when the body does not receive enough oxygen.

The report states that Haney had an adequate oxygen supply until roughly the last minute of the flight.

Haney, who was assigned to the 525th Fighter Squadron, 3rd Wing at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, was considered one of the top pilots in the squadron by peers and supervisors. He had received a number of accolades and awards.

The report is not considered official until it is released by the commander of Pacific Air Forces, General Gary North. An agency spokesman, 1st Lt. Robert Howard, said it's unusual for a report to be released in the way it was.

He said the report remains under review by North to it ensure it complies with applicable laws and regulations.