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Selected Factors Affecting Aircrew Performance during Sustained Operations
ARMY AEROMEDICAL RESEARCH LAB FORT RUCKER AL
Six recent graduates of initial rotary wing training flew a UH-1H helicopter for up to 4 hours while wearing each of three clothing ensembles. Each aviator wore the standard flight suit, the US chemical defense CD9 ensemble, and the United Kingdom UK CD ensemble in hot weather mean WBGT 29C . Skin temperatures chest, thigh, upper arm, and calf, rectal temperature, heart rate, and preflight and postflight body weights were recorded. Cognitive testing was conducted preflight, postflight, and on non-flight days. Aviator performance measures were also obtained during flight. Well acclimatized aviators were able to fly at least 2 hours without serious physiological impairment. Three of the six aviators terminated flight for medical reasons heart rates 140 bpm or nausea while wearing the US ensemble. In this study the susceptible subjects tended to be older and heavier. Heart rate was judged to be the most sensitive indicator of heat stress. Cognitive testing and flight performance data obtained during this exercise did not demonstrate changes as a function of the type of flight ensemble worn during the test, nor did flight performance serve as a predictor of heat stress. Further investigations are required to verify the validity of these measures as indicators of heat loading in the operational setting.
This article is from 'Sustained Intensive Air Operations: Physiological and Performance Aspects', AD-A139 324, p20-1--20-17.
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