Incidence of United States Air Force Aircrew Fatigue in the Operational Setting.
AIR FORCE INST OF TECH WRIGHT-PATTERSONAFB OH
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Though subjective fatigue measures have been utilized in assessing aircrew fatigue, no studies to date have attempted to establish its overall incidence in the USAF flying community. The purpose of this study was to investigate the incidence of subjective fatigue in the USAF operational environment, looking specifically at those pilots and flight engineers that regularly fly long transport missions. The study group included all pilots and flight engineers belonging to the United States Air Force Reserves 68TH Airlift Squadron stationed at Kelly AFB, TX. This squadron has approximately 65 pilots and 70 flight engineers and utilizes the C-S Galaxy transport aircraft exclusively. Pre and postmission questionnaires were completed prior to and at mission completion respectively. Throughout the mission, the study subjects completed a mission log, which tracked type of activity, serial fatigue rating, and place of sleep. Subjective fatigue was rated starting at mission onset, every four hours throughout the mission and at mission completion, that is, at time of engine shut down. Fatigue was measured using the School of Aerospace Medicine SAM seven point fatigue scale. Despite the endorsement of the wing commander, full support of the wing safety officer, two separate briefings to the squadron at monthly safety briefings, and placement of questionnaire packets in over 135 individuals vertical files V-files or mail boxes, only six questionnaire packets were returned. Despite the lack of response, this study does serve as a pilot study, which together with lessons learned may prove useful in future studies of USAF aircrew fatigue in the operational setting.
- Stress Physiology