As the U.S. Air Force's newest and priciest fighter, the F-22A Raptor is the most advanced aircraft in the sky—but that doesn't mean it always works. Last week, the Department of Defense issued a statement about a hapless pilot from the 27th Fighter Squadron who got during pre-flight checks at Langley AFB, Virginia. Stuck in a down and locked position, the aircraft's canopy was subjected to a myriad of "maintenance options" recommended by Lockheed Martin to extract the pilot—all of which failed. Five hours later, a fire crew saved the day with an admittedly low-tech solution: manually cutting the pilot free with a chainsaw, leaving over $180,000 of damage to the $134 million aircraft.
On its website, Lockheed Martin says "with the F-22, the era of U.S. air dominance—against all ground- and
air-based threats—had begun." Does that include the child locks on the canopy? —Andrew Nusca
A fire crew uses a chainsaw to cut into the Raptor's canopy.
The plane's canopy, before sawing, with pilot trapped inside.
The F-22 cockpit, after pilot extraction.
The Raptor, in happier times. Lockheed Martin