Accession Number:

ADA339781

Title:

Head Injury Risk in U.S. Army Rotary-Wing Mishaps: Changes Since 1980

Descriptive Note:

Final rept.

Corporate Author:

ARMY AEROMEDICAL RESEARCH LAB FORT RUCKER AL

Report Date:

1998-01-01

Pagination or Media Count:

14.0

Abstract:

Over the past several decades, data have been collected on U.S. Army aircraft mishaps defining the environment within an aircraft during a mishap, injuries suffered by the occupants, and the cause or causes of the mishap, if known. An analysis of these data indicates 60 percent of the occupants are injured, one-third fatally, if the mishap concludes with the aircraft impacting the ground. More significantly, despite improvements in helicopter design, restraint systems, and personal protective equipment, 68 percent of all fatalities had at least one fatal injury to the head. After adjusting for differences in mishaps, including the aircraft series, and the occupants station within the aircraft, the authors concluded that an occupants injury risk in a helicopter mishap had decreased significantly between 1980-84 and 1990-94. One factor in this was a decline in the risk of head injury, which declined by 50 percent. Injury risks to the face and brain, critical anatomical regions of the head, also showed a significant decline. Risks of injury to the neck, torso, and upper extremities were not significantly different between the two time intervals. Although the authors could not identify causative factors with clear implications for preventive strategies, the proportion of new, crashworthy helicopters in the U.S. Army fleet have risen steadily since 1980, and a new flyers helmet with improved impact protection, the SPH-4B, was fielded by the U.S. Army in the 1990s.

Subject Categories:

  • Anatomy and Physiology

Distribution Statement:

APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE