Improving Flight One Breath at a Time


>>You know we’ve got to
come with a better system, a better way to make sure that these pilots are getting
the oxygen and the protection that they need to go fly.>>If you’re low on oxygen,
basically sometimes get euphoric or you’ll get sleepy or
you’ll kind of pass out. And obviously if you have to fly the airplane
that’s not a good scenario.>>The Navy and the Air Force
has been experiencing problems with oxygen levels and content,
and pilots blacking out.>>You know you have
aircraft data. You have some, you
don’t have a lot. But what you don’t have
is any instrumentation on the pilot and
their breathing. And so what we were really
focused on was really trying to identify the root
cause in the pilot. Remember, physiological episodes
happen in people not aircraft. So if you don’t have
the pilot instrumented, then you’re really
not going to be able to help resolve the problems.>>Crew assignments,
I’ll be in the jet, you guy will be in
the control room. Jack will be talking
on the radio.>>I’ll be on the radio.>>The use of this project is
going to go for a long time. Because it’s going to
establish a fundamental data set on how pilots breathe in
a tactical environment. [ Inaudible ]>>High performance type
aircraft like fighter jets, over the years they’ve become
more and more advanced. They can fly with higher
g’s, they fly faster, they fly at higher
angles of attack. With all of those increases,
physiological effects on pilots has increased
dramatically.>>Every pilot is
going to be different on how they react to something. Cause they want to kind of
baseline what you’re like before and what you’re like after.>>So how do we gather the data? How does it go through
this process from the aircraft all
the way through to arrive at the analyst’s desk? And what do they do with it?>>And one of the first things
we have to do is we have to look and see what kind of
flight they’re doing. If they’re doing a Navy
configuration flight or an Air Force configuration
flight.>>We’ll take spirometry,
which is basically looking at lung capacity at the time. We do that like an
hour before the flight, just right after we
strap into the cockpit. And then when we come back we’ll
do that again in the cockpit, and then after we’ve been
out for about an hour.>>The red 97 is
monitoring their pulse, their oxygen saturation
in their blood. Its also monitoring how
fast they’re breathing.>>And that should be it.>>Pilot wears a VigilOX
system made by Cobham. With the VigilOX system, it
measures a lot of key parameters that are used for important for understanding what
the pilot is breathing in and breathing out.>>Put this side in first.>>In order to capture
all the data that we want, the pilots are flying
different profiles. Some are just high-altitude
flights, where you’re flying
40 to 50,000 feet. Other ones are more
aerobatic, that’s where they’re up there doing spins
and turns and dives.>>And then, and we
correlate that type of flight and how it changes you know,
kind of your lung capacity or those kinds of things. So that’s what the
scientists are looking for.>>We embarked on this with
the idea that we have a lot of complex test methods
that we’re developing. And at the end of this, one of
our goals originally is we want to be able to develop test
methods that are useful to the Air Force and to
the Navy in the sense that they can be used in a
repeatable, consistent way that provide really
quality data. That then we can compare our
results with the Navy’s results, and the Air Force’s results.>>So I think this
will help make sure that the designs we have are
set for what the pilot needs. Cause if we don’t really know
what the pilot needs very well, we can’t design to that. And previous systems I think
just had a lot of margin to be able to accept
different needs from a pilot. But now that we’ve gotten you
know, closer to designing those to basically just what
they need, we really need to know what the pilots actually
need in order to be safe.


4 Responses

  1. KnightsWithoutATable

    January 22, 2020 10:34 pm

    It will be interesting to see what combat data from these sensors will show when compared to the controls that NASA has gathered.

  2. soccerguy2433

    January 23, 2020 12:15 am

    Is this being used for the T-6 Texan 2? Big rash of these happened a few years ago at JSUPT. Are we measuring you new first assignment IPs? Or just seasoned NASA pilots?


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