F-22 Raptor grounded by 20,000 bees



**F-22 Raptor grounded by 20,000 bees **

The US Air Force’s F-22 Raptor may be the most advanced fighter jet in the world but even with $143 million-worth of stealth and supersonic capabilities, it proved to be no match for one unlikely adversary — a huge swarm of honey bees. An F-22 aircraft from the 192nd Air Wing was temporarily grounded on June 11 after crew members at Joint Base Langley-Eustis in Virginia discovered nearly 20,000 bees hanging from the jet’s exhaust nozzle following flight operations.

“I was shocked like everyone else because it looked like a cloud of thousands of bees,” said Tech. Sgt. Jeffrey Baskin, 192nd Maintenance Squadron crew chief, in an Air Force press release.
Rather than try to clear the bees from the jet themselves, crew members realized that honey bees are at risk of extinction and contacted local beekeeper and retired US Navy veteran, Andy Westrich, who proclaimed the hive the largest he had ever seen after being escorted to the aircraft.
Westrich used vacuum hoses to wrangle the thousands of bees into several large buckets and safely relocate the colony.


The exhaust nozzle of a jet would seem like an ideal new home for a swarm of bees which outgrew its old hive. I feel sorry for the airmen who probably had to endure endless meetings and retraining due to this. :slight_smile:


I just found it interesting that a jet that already had tons of problems and cost overruns were now plagued by bees. What would happen if a squad had to scramble? Would the bees have to be removed first?


At least the airmen understood the need to protect the insects.

If a flight operation were required, however, I’d imagine they’d clear the bees from the airframe, and threatened species be doggoned. Nothing, after all, is less environmental than war.



I thought they always put covers on the exhaust nozzles on planes when they are not being used.

I do agree with the other poster though, if the F22 and F35 are any indication of where the US is in terms of secret or experimental aircraft, there is something wrong!


The -22 and the -35 are neither secret nor experimental.

Secret and experimental are not written up in press stories about bees.



They are not right now, but not long ago they were.


Experimental planes are supposed to have problems, but when insects can ground a plane that we count on to fly in battle, **that’s **bad.



I thought the purpose of some of these exercises was to get the bugs out. :smiley:

Side note: Given the behaviour of bees defending their hives, I’m surprised they didn’t go after an F-18… :whistle:


Maybe the bees aspired to loftier heights! Although, the F-22 is a stealth fighter. The bees were checking out the technology. :thumbsup:

(how many people are looking up what an F-18 name is?? How 'bout the F-18E/A?)

closed #11

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