Fighter Jet News

F-22 Raptor News

F-22 flameout during SDB flight testing

October 1, 2007 (by Asif Shamim) - Flight International reported on an incident during one of the flight tests of the latest GBU-39 Small Diameter Bombs (SDB) which nearly resulted in a potential crash of an F-22.

F-22A Block 10 Raptor no. 91-4008 drops a small diameter bomb from its weapons bay during a test mission September 5th, 2007.

The Boeing GBU-39 SDB began separation tests on the F-22 in early September as previously reported by F-16.Net. The trials began after more than a year of sometimes difficult work to integrate the weapon in the weapons bay and carry out airborne captive carry tests, Maj. Jack Fischer, a USAF test pilot, told the Society of Experimental Test Pilots' annual convention.

Flight tests so far have produced a few in-flight problems, including one particular event that "could have been very bad", Fischer said.

The incident in question resulted in an F-22 suffering a brief flameout on both engines while performing a 360 degree negative-G roll with eight of the SDBs in its weapons bay. The flameout was due to incorrect trim level setting of the aircraft before it entered the given manoeuvre.

The pilot was not aware of the loss of power as the engines relighted immediately. However telemetry transmitted back to the ground station monitoring the test gave away the problem as there was a momentary power loss recorded in the signal. This information was only discovered in the post analysis of the flight data.

The control staff lost contact "with the aircraft pointed down toward the water at a very low altitude", said Capt Harris Hall, a programme official. "For a time, we thought the aircraft was lost."

As power to the engines was restored immediately the pilot was able to remain in control of the F-22 and recovered the jet back to Edwards AFB, California, without incident.