F22 Crashed In Alaska - It will likely be months before the Air Force identifies an exact cause for this week's crash of its most advanced stealth fighter, but one thing is certain: The loss will push the aircraft's already high accident rate even higher.
Even before Tuesday's crash in Alaska, the Air Force's stealthy fighter -- the F-22 Raptor -- had the highest accident rate of any fighter in that service branch's inventory. According to the latest statistics provided by the Air Force, which go through 2009, the F-22 since being fielded has suffered six Class A accidents -- accidents that result in more than $1 million in damage -- since entering the inventory.
The latest crash would be the seventh Class A accident.
More telling, however, is the rate for those mishaps. The F-22's five-year Class A mishap rate was six per 100,000 flying, based on a five-year average --higher than for any other fighter in the inventory. But that number is also somewhat misleading, since it is driven by the age of the fleet and the number of hours flown.
In the case of the F-22, which has only been in service since 2002, the number of hours flown was only about 70,000 total by the end of 2009, which limits the significance of a rate that is measured per 100,000 flying hours.
F22 Crashed In Alaska