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Tarnak Farm – Reckless Pilots, Speed, or Fog of War?

On 17 April 2002, as the Afghanistan conflict was escalating, a friendly-fire incident swept the headlines. An American F-16 being flown by an Air National Guard pilot mistook Canadians training in a live fire drill for Taliban insurgents and dropped a 500-pound laser guided bomb (LGB) directly on target. The result[...Click Below to Read More]

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Stimulants & Sleep Aids in Military Aviation

Chemical stimulants and sleeping aids have a long history of use in improving performance in military personnel.  The first pharmacologic stimulant, Amphetamine, became available by prescription in 1937.  It was used in WWII by the Japanese and Germans of the Axis Powers and the British on the Allied side.  The American military[...Click Below to Read More]

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Ejection Seat Safety & Reliability Improvement Program

Legislators of the Armed Services Committee recently published comments on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2015. This federal law is passed every year and specifies the budget and expenditures of the Department of Defense. The 2014 law authorized a spending of $607 billion. It should be[...Click Below to Read More]

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Combat Stress Response & Tactical Breathing

I recently finished the book, On Combat: The Psychology and Physiology of Deadly Conflict in War and in Peace, by former Army Ranger turned psychologist, Lt Col (ret.) Dave Grossman.  Although I have some concerns on how rigorous the science is behind most of the books precepts, the general concepts[...Click Below to Read More]

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Combating Fighter Pilot Fatigue

Pilot fatigue is a constant threat to all aircrew. There are particular risk factors for those flying high-performance fighter platforms. Flying high-G sorties is physically exhausting. This is an tiring business and even well-rested pilots will find themselves fatigued from the physical and mental demands of combat flight operations. In order[...Click Below to Read More]

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Be a Better G-Monster: The Anti-G Straining Maneuver (AGSM)

This installment will review the effect of G’s on the human body, the Anti-G Straining Maneuver (AGSM) and how you as the modern fighter pilot can decrease the likelihood of being the victim of a G-LOC (G-induced loss of consciousness). With the introduction of the new full-coverage G-suit, we expect[...Click Below to Read More]

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Aeromedical Standards & Fitness for Flight

Aerospace Medicine is essentially a branch of occupational medicine. Unlike traditional medical disciplines where a patient in a normal environment experiences abnormal diseases and pathology, occupational medicine often provides medical services to patients of normal health and physiology in an abnormal environment. There are a variety of industries in which workers[...Click Below to Read More]

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Hypoxia in Aviation

Before becoming a flight doc, I often felt skeptical as the flight attendant showcased what appeared to be a yellow Dixie cup connected to an empty IV bag prior to takeoff on commercial airliners. This darting glance wavered as my attention faded. Then, it was back to a few precious final minutes[...Click Below to Read More]

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Decompression Illness in Aviation

Before English chemist, William Henry, took his own life in 1836, he discovered a simple physics law to explain how gas behaves in solution. This gas law, now appropriately known as Henry’s Law, together with Boyle’s Law, form the basis of the pathophysiology and treatment for Decompression Illness. Henry’s Law[...Click Below to Read More]

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Pulling G’s – The Effects of G-Forces on the Human Body

“After dinner, the weather being warm, we went into the garden and drank thea, under the shade of some apple trees…he told me, he was just in the same situation, as when formerly, the notion of gravitation came into his mind. It was occasion’d by the fall of an apple,[...Click Below to Read More]

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