Category Archive: Aviation Medicine

Who failed in Crash of Flight IX-812?

The report on accident of Air India Express Flight IX-812 highlighted several factors which resulted in the tragic loss of 158 lives [1]. Limiting to the human factors alone, there were both physiological limitations of the crew and failure of crew resource management (CRM), besides organisational shortcomings.

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Tired eh! Physical Cost of AGSM

Fatigue is the cost of correctly performed Anti-G straining manoeuvre (AGSM) to fight against the +Gz forces during air combat. Being an isometric exercise, akin to a 50 or 100 m race or weight lifting, the muscles maintain sustained contraction during AGSM to generate energy anaerobically. Thus time “to fatigue” and of “fatigue recovery” determine …

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G-LOC Demystified

G-LOC has been implicated in various combat aircraft mishaps. Incidence of in-flight G-LOC in India is 11%, while it is 12 and 19% in USAF and RAF, respectively. Interestingly, G-LOC is more likely to occur in a trainee pilot, co-pilot or weapon system operator, who is caught unaware by the sudden onset of G or …

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G-LOC – The Enemy within!

G-LOC is G-induced loss of consciousness, defined as a “state of altered perception wherein one’s awareness of reality is absent as a result of sudden, critical reduction of cerebral circulation caused by increased G force”.

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Air Combat Manoeuvres and +Gz Forces

During air combat manoeuvres* or while practicing basic fighter manoeuvres**, the pilots are exposed to the commonest type of acceleration encountered in aviation – +Gz. Interestingly, the aircraft are capable of pulling higher Gs and sustain it longer than an unprotected human being can tolerate. The effects of +Gz on the circulatory system, and in turn the blood …

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There is LASER in my eye!

There is a spurt in the incidence of Laser devices aimed at aircraft during low level flying or while making an approach to land [1, 2]. Despite punitive actions against culprits, including sentence up to 10 years in Germany or 20 years in US, it shows no signs of abating [2, 3, 4]. Those shining …

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Pilot Incapacitation: Extent of the Problem.

The study by Evans et.al. highlighted a linear trend in incapacitation rates from the pilots in 20s to those in their 60s, with those in 60s accounting for 15% of incapacitation [4]. Both cardio- and cerebro-vascular conditions being responsible for 50% (18/36) of incapacitation events, including 2 of the 4 sudden deaths, endorse the present …

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Pilot Incapacitation: What is?

Common medical causes of in-flight incapacitation amongst airline pilots in U.K were cardiovascular (heart attacks, rhythm disturbances) and neurological (epileptic seizures) [10]. Another study in U.S. identified several causes of in-flight incapacitation. This included loss of consciousness; causes related to the gut viz., gallbladder stones, gastroenteritis or discomfort due to expansion of trapped intestinal gases; …

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Pilot Incapacitation: Debate on Assessment, 1% Rule etc.

Reuters reported on 15 February 2012 that the captain of a Czech Airlines plane collapsed and died in flight from Warsaw to Prague. The plane carrying 46 passengers made a safe landing with the co-pilot on controls [1]. In another case, a Qatar Airways captain passed away in October 2010 on a flight from Manila, …

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Hire Av Med Specialists – DGCA. Are the Airlines Listening?

Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) of India in an Advisory Circular to all Indian operators of scheduled air transport services has recommended that they employ the services of Aviation Medicine Specialist. This has come as a fresh impetus on part of DGCA to prod the Airlines to ensure “effective maintenance and monitoring of health …

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