Aircrew Upper Extremity Reaches While Flying the UH-60 Flight Simulator: Risk of Airbag-Induced Injury
ARMY AEROMEDICAL RESEARCH LAB FORT RUCKER AL
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Inflatable restraints such as airbags are being designed for military helicopters. To investigate the potential for extremity injury during airbag deployment, 1-hour videotapes of 12 U.S. Army Black Hawk pilots flying a training simulator were reviewed. The flights were unmodified training sorties and consisted of instrument and visual flight over varying terrain. Every time the aviator appeared to move outside the resting flight position, the nature and destination of the movement were recorded. The total proportion of time spent reaching for various control consoles ranged from 1.8 percent to 5.2 percent. Copilots in instrument flight conditions spent the greatest proportion of their time reaching, and pilots in visual flight conditions spent the least. Despite limitation to this brief retrospective simulator study, these results will be useful in estimating the risk of extremity injuries related to helicopter airbag deployment.
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