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Fatigue Countermeasures in Support of CF CC130 Air Transport Operations; from the Operation to the Laboratory and Back to the Operation

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Technical rept.

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Deployment of troops in foreign theatres requires a massive airlift capability. The fatigue encountered in such operations can be severe enough to pose a flight safety hazard. The work reported here was done in support of CF air transport aircrews conducting re-supply missions to Bosnia. This work was carried out in 3 Phases. In Phase 1 aircrew sleep hygiene was assessed immediately prior to and throughout 10 missions to Bosnia. Aircrew psychomotor performance was also assessed during flight. The aircrews started the missions with an acute sleep debt because of having to report for duty at 0600 hrs. A fatigued-induced impact on psychomotor performance was found towards the end of the out-bound transatlantic leg. The aircrew experienced difficulty sleeping at an early circadian time approximately 1700 hrs body clock in the U.K. prior to flying into Bosnia. In Phase 2, we conducted a laboratory-based fatigue countermeasure study in which we determined that melatonin and zopiclone are effective facilitators of early circadian sleep, and caused no residual effects on aircrew performance after sleep on these medications. Based on the results of Phases 1 and 2, we were given permission to conduct Phase 3, an operational evaluation of the lab-proven countermeasures that involved 70 missions to Bosnia. The actigraphic data of Phase 3 indicated that relative to placebo, when aircrew were on melatonin they got to sleep quicker p.01, slept more p.02, had fewer awakenings after sleep onset p.004, and spent less time awake after sleep onset p.01. Again relative to placebo, when they were on zopiclone they got to sleep quicker p.003, slept more p.005, had fewer awakenings p.01 and less time awake after sleep onset p.05.

Subject Categories:

  • Stress Physiology
  • Pharmacology
  • Military Forces and Organizations

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