Immersion Suit Usage Within the RAAF
ROYAL AUSTRALIAN AIR FORCE POINT COOK INST OF AVIATION MEDICINE
Pagination or Media Count:
Military aircrew flying over oceans or lakes are constantly at risk of ditching or ejecting into cold water. Immersion in sufficiently cold water for a sufficient time results in death through hypothermia. Apart from water temperature and time, other factors that influence survival in cold water include the insulation and water proofing of the victims garments, the activity and posture of the victim, the calmness of the water surface, and individual factors such as fitness and body fat. It is possible to improve the survival chances of immersed aircrew through the wearing of protective insulative garments that reduce the rate of heat loss to the surrounding water. Such immersion suits may be constantly worn during a flight or donned only during particularly risky phases of an overwater flight or once an emergency has been identified. These immersion suits are respectively known as either constant wear immersion suits CWIS or quick-don immersion suits QDIS. This paper discusses general aspects of immersion hypothermia and its prevention as well as immersion suit usage within the RAAF. A series of brief recommendations concerning the future use of immersion suits within the RAAF are made.
- Escape, Rescue and Survival