May 04, 2006

Airplanes and Chainsaws

On April 10, at Langley Air Force Base, an F-22 pilot, Capt. Brad Spears, was locked inside the cockpit of his [361 million dollar] aircraft for five hours. No one in the U.S. Air Force or from Lockheed Martin could figure out how to open the aircraft's canopy. At about 1:15 pm, chainsaw-wielding firefighters from the 1st Fighter Wing finally extracted Spears after they cut through the F-22's three-quarter inch-thick polycarbonate canopy.

Total damage to the airplane, according to sources inside the Pentagon: $1.28 million. Not only did the firefighters ruin the canopy, which cost $286,000, they also scuffed the coating on the airplane's skin which will cost about $1 million to replace.

The article is a bit unfair since you can't really blame the firefighters for ruining the canopy when the Lockeed engineers couldn't figure out how to open it. As for scratching the paint, well, they probably did it just to teach the engineers a lesson.

Posted by thom at May 4, 2006 12:10 AM
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