Raptor Cough? Whistleblowers Pilots? Haven’t found the problem but continued flying? Pulse oximeter and a Carbon oxygen filter (that spew residue -now removed).
The power of Department of Defense Acquisition component wields a significant weapon; threat of embarrassing those that created and purchased what was acquired. In an environment where it may be difficult to acknowledge failure or mistakes and combined with competitive promotions there is much to be lost both internally and externally. That is why it is so significant when two officers step forward to say something publicly when they ultimately believe that their lives are at in jeopardy due to this specific undiscovered fault.
Obviously there is a significant focus on the protection of the human element within the air frame. This is one of the major benefits of unmanned aerial vehicles or drones is that there is no oxygen system required; the “pilot” remains on the ground. Drones are getting a significant amount of negative press but as the demand for higher and higher performance out of platforms progresses there will be little room for the fragile human element.
It takes a significant amount of moral courage to do something like this and there are always repercussions (direct or indirect) even with the protections afforded whistleblowers.
Update (15 May 2012): The SECDEF has instructed the Air Force to Take Further Steps on F-22.