We have a F-22 that crashed apparent due to the oxygen system failing
That does not seem to be in question
Do not doubt this in any way. The failure modes of this O2 system seem to be fairly insidious and if there isn't a warning fairly rapidly, the pilot could easily pass out and crash.
There have been various news articles about pilots afraid to fly the plane because of feeling hypoxia and there are also claims of ground crews effected.
Ok, the second bit is making my skeptical bullshit detector go off. How the hell would ground crews get hypoxia, on the ground in the normal atmosphere! That doesn't make a lot of sense.
I met an F-22 pilot this weekend and asked him about it. He said that it was basically two reserve pilots that reported it and the media blew the whole situation out of proportion. Stated that the F-22 is certified both for demonstration and operational status. He added that they are monitoring the system. This was out of uniform and informally.
On another forum, I posted what he told me. A number of people argued that he is basically stating the government line and should not be believed.
If there is one thing I know about military pilots, they ARE NOT known for stating the government line, especially out of uniform.
What I was wondering is if the hypoxia experienced by the two reserve pilots could have been psychological and not caused by the equipment? I do know about the weird cause in the hospital where a bunch of doctors and nurses became ill when that one woman died and one of the leading explanations is that it was psychological.
All this system does is essentially grab the N2 out of the air and leave the O2 behind. If we're supposing that the system is generating some sort of other gas such as CO (which can make you hypoxic) it would be detectable in the pilot's blood stream. Based on what I know of these systems, I don't think that they could do anything like that. If they fail, they would just deprive the pilot of sufficient oxygen.
Could the SYMPTOMS they experienced be psychosomatic? Certainly they could be. It's very hard to tell one way or the other.