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Aerospace Medicine

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Thermal Stress in the Cockpit

Fighter aircraft are commonly home to locations with stable weather patterns and abundant airspace for training purposes.  Many times, these advantages for military flight operations also coincide with very high temperatures.  Additionally, military aircraft often deploy to either hot arid[...]

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JFK Jr Piper Saratoga Mishap

On 16 July 1999, the son of former President John F. Kennedy took off in his privately-owned Piper Saratoga from New Jersey bound for Martha’s Vineyard. Although he held a private pilot’s license without an instrument rating, he departed in[...]

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First Fatal Mishap in Powered Flight – Orville Wright & Lt Selfridge

Almost 5 years after the historic birth of controlled flight at Kitty Hawk, an updated version of the Wright Flyer was involved in the first fatal aircraft mishap in powered flight.  Many early pioneers in aviation, like Otto Lilienthal, had already[...]

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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[...]

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First American Physician in Space: Dr. Joseph P. Kerwin

Happy 82nd birthday to Dr. Joseph Peter Kerwin!! Dr Kerwin was the first American physician to be selected as an astronaut and sent to outer space by NASA. Born 19 February 1932, Dr Kerwin was selected as a scientist-astronaut by[...]

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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).[...]

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Trapped Gas – Air Expansion at Altitude

How many people have flown on a long commercial flight and landed at their destination only to find that a toiletry container had opened and spilled its contents all over their luggage? What causes this mysterious spilling of shampoos and[...]

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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[...]

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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.[...]

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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[...]

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