Published November 15, 2012
An F-22 jet crashed at Tyndall Air Force Base near Panama City, Fla., on Thursday, Fox News confirms.
The pilot ejected safely before the crash and is currently under medical supervision, according to statement released by the base. First responders are on the scene.
The incident forced Highway 98 to close temporarily.
There is no immediate indication of what caused the crash, but the incident is being investigated.
The Air Force has been trying to address problems with the $190 million aircraft for several years. In 2008, pilots began reporting a sharp increase in hypoxia-like problems, forcing the Air Force to finally acknowledge concerns about the F-22's oxygen supply system. Two years later, the oxygen system contributed to a fatal crash. Though pilot error ultimately was deemed to be the cause, the fleet was grounded for four months in 2011.
New restrictions were imposed in May, after two F-22 pilots went on the CBS program "60 Minutes" to express their continued misgivings. The Air Force has said the F-22 is safe to fly -- a dozen of the jets began a six-month deployment to Japan in July -- but flight restrictions that remain in place will keep it out of the high-altitude situations where pilots' breathing is under the most stress.
Internal documents and emails obtained by The Associated Press earlier this year show Air Force experts actually proposed a range of solutions by 2005, including adjustments to the flow of oxygen into pilot's masks. But that key recommendation was rejected by military officials reluctant to add costs to a program that was already well over budget.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.