Pilot trapped for 5h in cockpit of USAF's new $135m F-22A Raptor after canopy jams

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Pacific Historian
Jun 4, 2005
Orange County, CA
Raptor canopy stuck in down and locked position sawn open by fire crew after 5h

A fire crew had to cut open the canopy of a US Air Force Lockheed Martin F-22A Raptor fighter with chainsaws on 10 April to free the pilot, who had been trapped inside for 5h.

The canopy became stuck in the down and locked position and could not be opened manually after the pilot cycled the mechanism several times, following a pre-flight warning that the canopy was unlocked.

The cause of the malfunction has not been determined. The cost of replacing the canopy, which belongs to an aircraft from the 27th Fighter Squadron at Langley AFB, Virginia, is estimated at more than $180,000.

On 10 April 2006 at approximately 08:15, aircraft 03-041 had a Red Ball for a canopy unlock indication. Attempts to clear the problems by cycling the canopy failed. The final cycling of the canopy resulted in it being in the down and locked position. The canopy would not cycle up from this position, trapping the pilot in the cockpit. The aircraft subsequently ground aborted.

Stranded inside the Raptor's cockpit, the pilot had to be cut free. Langley AFB consulted Lockheed Martin and the F-22A system programme office to determine alternate methods to open the canopy and extract the pilot.


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My dad got "stuck" in the cockpit of a Lightning once when the hydraulic pressure fell and the canopy closed. New starters often panicked in this situation, but my dad knew exactly how to get out. However, he used it as an excuse to get a good read so pulled out a book and began to read. Until the Chief Tech saw it and told them to get him out, simply by pumping the hydraulic pressure to lift the canopy. You could actually do it from the inside and lift the canopy with your back while standing on the seat.
Vassili Zaitzev said:
canopy stuck for 5 hours, hope that doesn't happen when the F-22 is in combat.

you mean just in case the pilot wants to get out and stretch his legs? if he's in combat that's the least of his worries :rolleyes:
It could be a mess if the pilot wants to eject and the canopy does not want to pop off, though the ejection seat can go through the canopy the pilot can still get hurt during such a move.

if he has to punch out the canopy is blown off, not opened in the way in would be on the ground, explosive charges are higher up the food chain than locking mechanisms..........
I actually spoke with an OG member at Langley over this one, the mechanism that failed is a divorced system from the rest of the plane, meaning the plane was FMC, but while parked the canopy wouldn't open. The powers that be discussed ejecting which would blow the canopy, but the cost of replacing the pieces following an ejection would have been significantly more than just a canopy. In addition, the ejection seat is not designed to be used on the ground and there were some safety concerns that couldn't be mitigated.
I said if the pilot was in combat or in the air, I know that it is not safe or right in the mind to eject on the ground. A pilot have survived ejecting near the ground and was not badly hurt.


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