The Lockheed Martin F/A-22 fleet was returned to flight status on 6 January after a 17-day grounding following the first crash of a production aircraft (Flight International, 4-10 January).

US Air Force officials say a review of procedural and engineering data from the crash makes them "highly confident in the design, testing and development" of the stealth fighter. The air force also pointed out the aircraft has logged 7,000 flight hours and boasts an "overwhelmingly positive safety record when compared to previous aircraft development programmes".

The crash remains under 30-day investigation by an interim safety board, whose findings are not released. That review will be followed by a three-month investigation by an accident investigation board, which is charged with determining legal responsibility for the crash.


Source: Flight International