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KLM-Panam Tenerife Disaster

The Boeing 747 was first introduced in 1970 by Panam Airlines. The 747 was the first aircraft to earn the moniker ‘Jumbo Jet’, which has now become synonymous with all large passenger aircraft.  Even after more than 3 decades, this incredible double-decker[...]

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Dietary Supplements in Aircrew

“Ok, I got this nailed- Vitamin M, dip, coffee, Jack & Coke.  That’s what makes a fighter pilot” ~ Anonymous Fighter Pilot Although this may be the typical formula that fighter pilots from decades past relied on for optimal performance, the[...]

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Incentive & Familiarization Flights in Military Fighter Jets

Many times large number of incentive and familiarization flights are offered to maintenance and operational support personnel during temporary duty (TDY) deployments.  Flight surgeons play a crucial role in this process educating and medically clearing potential candidates.  In this setting,[...]

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Cosmic Radiation

Galactic Cosmic Rays (GCR’s) are considered a threat to aviators, flight crews and frequent air travelers.  This risk to astronauts is even greater (possibly even lethal) and continues to pose a significant obstacle to long expeditions into outer space.  Cosmic radiation is comprised[...]

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Ebola Risk & Response for Airlines

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) maintains a webpage dedicated to providing updated recommendations to airlines on high-interest infectious diseases.  The current website offers guidance to airlines on the measles, flu, cholera, and Middle-East respiratory syndrome (MERS).  On August 11 2014,[...]

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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[...]

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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[...]

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United Airlines 173 – The Need for CRM

In late December 1978, a United Airlines commercial aircraft DC-8 carrying 181 passengers and 8 crew crashed outside Portland, Oregon.  8 passengers and 2 crew members died.  Although the crew did encounter a real malfunction of the aircraft, ultimately the National[...]

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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[...]

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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[...]

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