May 26, 2006 (by Jeff Hollenbeck) - Published reports indicate that screws which had loosened and backed out of their mounting holes were to blame for a stuck canopy on an F-22A Raptor on 10 April 2006, trapping the pilot in the cockpit for five hours.
Debris littered the cockpit of F-22 Raptor 03-041 after maintenance personnel were forced to cut the canopy to free the trapped pilot. [USAF photo]
While the chances of another canopy sticking in the closed position on an F-22 are considered remote, contractors are planning on retrofitting longer screws as a preventive measure sometime in the future.
Fire and rescue crews were forced to extract the stuck pilot by cutting the canopy with a rotary saw after all other remedies had failed. Initial replacement estimates for the canopy were quoted at $182,000, but it now appears that it will only cost approximately $83,000.