This section highlights the F/A-22 pilot support systems,
which can mostly be found in the cockpit of the plane.
2.0 Pilot controls
2.1 Hands-On Throttle and
The F/A-22 features a side-stick controller (like an F-16)
and two throttles that are the aircraft's primary flight
controls. The GEC-built stick is located on the right
console and there is a swing-out, adjustable arm rest.
The stick is force sensitive and has a throw of only about
one-quarter of an inch. The throttles are located on the
left console. Both the stick and the throttles are high-use
controls during air combat.
To support pilot functional requirements, the grips include
buttons and switches (that are both shape and texture
coded) to control more than 60 different time-critical
functions. These buttons are used for controlling the
offensive (weapons targeting and release) and defensive
systems (although some, like chaff and flares, can operate
both automatically and manually) as well as display management.
2.2 Head-up display
The Head-Up Display (HUD) offers a wide field of view
(30 degrees horizontally by 25 degrees vertically) and
serves as a primary flight instrument for the pilot.
The F/A-22's HUD is approximately 4.5 inches tall and
uses standardized symbology developed by the Air Force
Instrument Flight Center. It does not present information
in color, but the tactical symbol set is the same that
is used on the F/A-22's head down displays (HDDs).
2.3 Integrated Control Panel
The Integrated Control Panel (ICP) is the primary means
for manual pilot data entry for communications, navigation,
and autopilot data. Located under the glareshield and
HUD in center top of the instrument panel, this keypad
entry system also has some double click functions, much
like a computer mouse for rapid pilot access/use.
2.4 LCD panels
There are six liquid crystal display (LCD) panels in the
cockpit. These present information in full color and are
fully readable in direct sunlight. LCDs offer lower weight
and less size than the cathode ray tube (CRT) displays
used in most current aircraft. The lower power requirements
also provide a reliability improvement over CRTs.
The two Up-Front Displays (UFDs) measure 3"x4"
in size and are located to the left and right of the ICP.
The UFDs are used to display Integrated Caution/Advisory/Warning
(ICAW) data, communications/navigation/identification
(CNI) data and serve as the Stand-by Flight instrumentation
Group and Fuel Quantity Indicator (SFG/FQI).
The Stand-by Flight Group is always in operation and,
although it is presented on an LCD display, it shows
the basic information (such as an artificial horizon)
the pilot needs to fly the aircraft. The SFG is tied
to the last source of power in the aircraft, so if everything
else fails, the pilot will still be able to fly the
The Primary Multi-Function Display (PMFD) is a 8"x8"
color display that is located in the middle of the instrument
panel, under the ICP. It is the pilot’s principal
display for aircraft navigation (including showing waypoints
and route of flight) and Situation Assessment (SA) or
a "God's-eye view" of the entire environment
around (above, below, both sides, front and back) the
Three Secondary Multi-Function Displays (SMFDs) are
all 6.25" x 6.25" and two of them are located
on either side of the PMFD on the instrument panel with
the third underneath the PMFD between the pilot's knees.
These are used for displaying tactical (both offensive
and defensive) information as well as non-tactical information
(such as checklists, subsystem status, engine thrust
output, and stores management).
3.0 Life support systems
With its advanced design, the HGU-86/P helmet that will
be used by F/A-22 pilots during EMD reduces the stresses
on a pilot's neck by 20 percent during high-speed ejection
compared to the current HGU-55/P helmets. The F/A-22 helmet
fits more securely as the result of an ear cup tensioning
device and is easily fitted to a pilot’s head.
The helmet provides improved passive noise protection
and incorporates an Active Noise Reduction (ANR) system
for superior pilot protection.
3.2 Pilot Life Support
It accommodates the largest range of pilots (the central
99 percent of the Air Force pilot population) of any tactical
aircraft. The rudder pedals are adjustable. The pilot
has 15-degree over-the-nose visibility and excellent over-the-side
and aft visibility as well. It is the first baseline "night
vision goggle" compatible cockpit, and it has designed-in
growth capability for helmet-mounted systems.
The F/A-22 life support system integrates all critical
components of clothing, protective gear, and aircraft
equipment necessary to sustain the pilot's life while
flying the aircraft. In the past, these components had
been designed and produced separately. The life support
system components include:
- An on-board oxygen generation system (OBOGS) that
supplies breathable air to the pilot.
- An integrated breathing regulator/anti-g valve (BRAG)
that controls flow and pressure to the mask and pressure
- A chemical/biological/cold-water immersion (CB/CWI)
- An upper body counterpressure garment and a lower
body anti-G garment acts a partial pressure suit at
- An air-cooling garment, which is also going to be
used by pilots on the Army's RAH-66 Comanche helicopter
provides thermal relief for the pilot.
Helmet and helmet-mounted systems including C/B goggles
and C/B hood; and the MBU-22/P breathing mask and hose
The separate components of the life-support system must
simultaneously meet pilot protection requirements established
by the Air Force in the areas of higher altitude flight,
acceleration, heat distress, cold water immersion, chemical
and biological environments, fire, noise, and high-speed/high-altitude
3.3 Pilot Suit
The suit is designed for wear by F/A-22 pilots who embark
upon missions that take them over cold bodies of water
or into chemical/biological warfare situations. In addition
to cold-water immersion protection, the suit provides
flame protection, chemical/biological-warfare protection
An unprecedented feature of the new suit is the adjustable
neck and wrist seals that can be loosened or tightened.
The rubberized seals on current suits are tight and
cause discomfort during missions.
A feature unique to the suit is the capability for the
pilot to adjust the temperature and flow of air to the
inside of the suit while in flight to achieve body cooling.
A cooling line in the suit distributes cool air over
the entire body, minimizing the loss of body fluid through
The life-support system includes inflatable mitts and
a hood that give added protection against cold water,
and gloves that insulate against chemical and biological
During cold water immersion tests, the body temperature
of test subjects wearing the garments fell no more than
a fraction of a degree after sitting in nearly 32-degree
Fahrenheit water for two hours.
While the suit has been designed for the F/A-22, it is compatible
with current Air Force and Navy life-support equipment.
It has potential use by U.S. military ground forces for
both cold-water exposure and chemical/biological environments.
4.0 Cockpit features
The F/A-22's canopy is approximately 140 inches long,
45 inches wide, 27 inches tall, and weighs approximately
360 pounds. It is a rotate/translate design, which means
that it comes down, slides forward, and locks in place
The F/A-22 canopy's transparency features the largest
piece of monolithic polycarbonate material being formed
today. It has no canopy bow and offers the pilot superior
optics (Zone 1 quality) throughout (not just in the area
near the HUD) and it offers the requisite stealth features.
The canopy is resistant to chemical/biological and environmental
agents, and has been successfully tested to withstand
the impact of a four-pound bird at 350 knots. It also
protects the pilot from lightning strikes.
The 3/4" polycarbonate transparency is actually
made of two 3/8" thick sheets that are heated and
fusion bonded (the sheets actually meld to become a
single-piece article) and then drape forged. The F-16's
canopy, for comparison, is made up of laminated sheets.
A laminated canopy generally offers better birdstrike
protection, and because of the lower altitude where
the F-16 operates, this is an advantage. However, lamination
also adds weight as well as reduced optics.
There is no chance of a post-ejection canopy-seat-pilot
collision as the canopy (with frame) weighs slightly
more on one side than the other. When the canopy is
jettisoned, the weight differential is enough to make
it slice nearly ninety degrees to the right as it clears
4.2 Ejection seat
|The F/A-22 version
ACES II has a center mounted ejection control and
includes several improvements over the previous
1. Addition of an active arm restraint system
to eliminate arm flail injuries during high speed
2. A stabilization parachute system, located behind
the pilot's head to provide increased seat stability
during high-speed ejections.
3. Improved timing of the various events during
en ejection (initiation, canopy jettison, and
seat catapult ignition).
4. A larger oxygen bottle for more breathing air
during high altitude ejections.