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USAARL presents at scientific meeting - Photo

William (Bill) Kidd, deputy to the USAACE commanding general, and Col. Geoff Crawford, director of the USAACE G-3 proponency office, tour the U.S. Army Aeromedical Research Laboratory on June 27. U.S. Army Photo by Catherine Davis

Kidd tours the U.S. Army Aeromedical Research Laboratory
Posted July 19th, 2017 Story & Photo by: Catherine Davis, USAARL Public Affairs Officer

William (Bill) Kidd, deputy to the U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence commanding general, and Col. Geoff Crawford, director of the USAACE G-3 proponency office, toured the U.S. Army Aeromedical Research Laboratory June 27.

The tour began with an overview of the Laboratory followed by more in-depth briefings about USAARL’s research and capabilities from subject matter experts in the fields of biomechanics, vision, acoustics, and aircrew health and performance. During the tour, Kidd and Crawford also stopped in to observe and learn more about the Gains in the Education of Mathematics and Science program.

Kidd assumed responsibility in May, and has since, been familiarizing himself with the many different organizations at Fort Rucker.

 


USAARL officer meets Prince Charles
Posted July 18th, 2017 Story & Photo by: Catherine Davis, USAARL Public Affairs Officer

A U.S. Army Aeromedical Research Laboratory exchange officer, Lt. Col. Dan Porter, Military Personnel Exchange Program participant stationed at the Army Air Corps Medical Centre, Middle Wallop, United Kingdom met Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, June 6.

Porter, along with serving soldiers, veterans, and their families, celebrated the 60th anniversary of the Army Air Corps at Salisbury Cathedral.

“I was shocked when Prince Charles walked over to speak to me and shake my hand,” said Porter.

Porter further explains that Prince Charles asked what Porter was doing in the United Kingdom. Porter explained that he was an exchange officer serving at Middle Wallop. The Prince of Wales then asked if Porter was enjoying his time in the United Kingdom. Porter responded with “My family and I are having a marvelous time in the UK, and it is an honor to be serving alongside our British Army allies.” Prince Charles wished Porter well before exiting the cathedral.

The MPEP, a Department of the Army program, was implemented through a memorandum of agreement between the United Kingdom and the United States in 1962 by the Foreign Science and Technology Center, a predecessor to the National Ground Intelligence Center. The program provides unique opportunities for British and American officers to strengthen alliances and build coalition partnerships.

 


USAARL presents at scientific meeting - Photo

Brigid Byrd, Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education participant, presented a poster titled “The Effects of Hypoxia on the Direct and Consensual Pupillary Light Reflex” during the 88th Annual Aerospace Medical Association scientific meeting in Denver, CO Apr. 29-May 4.

USAARL presents at scientific meeting
Posted May 31st, 2017 Story & Photo by: Catherine Davis, USAARL Public Affairs Officer

The U.S. Army Aeromedical Research Laboratory participated in the 88th Annual Aerospace Medical Association scientific meeting in Denver, CO Apr. 29-May 4.

USAARL researchers dominated the stage with thirteen presentations and two posters describing the Laboratory’s current research efforts in aerospace medicine.

“The annual AsMA meeting is the largest forum in the world for research in USAARL’s niche area of aerospace medicine, and the Laboratory made a very strong showing this year,” said Dr. John Crowley, USAARL science program director.

Similar to AsMA’s presentation goal, USAARL’s presentations aimed to enhance knowledge and understanding of the current challenges in aerospace medicine and provide recommendations for improving the health, safety, and performance of those involved in aviation and extreme environments.

While most of Laboratory’s AsMA attendees are senior scientists, USAARL leaders encourage young researchers to attend and experience this annual scientific meeting by presenting their research to conference attendees. Brigid Byrd, Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education participant, was among those young researchers who attended and presented at AsMA.

“My first conference experience at AsMA was very rewarding,” said Byrd. “I enjoyed the opportunity to interact with researchers from other professions and learn how their work is influencing the aerospace medical community.”

USAARL is a small research laboratory with a broad mission. Networking with colleagues with similar interests is essential in order to coordinate, collaborate, and make the most of limited funding.

“USAARL researchers and support staff work hard to support our mission,” said Crowley. “It’s great to see the impact of USAARL’s science program on the international aerospace community.”

 


USAARL simulates aircraft rapid decompression - Photo
Col. Richard Malish, USAARL commander, receives a demonstration of USAARL's new rapid decompression chamber. The chamber, designed by USAARL fabricators, simulates a rapid decrease in aircraft cabin pressure as the altitude increases from 8,000 to 45,000 feet.

USAARL simulates aircraft rapid decompression
Posted May 31st, 2017 Story & Photo by: Catherine Davis, USAARL Public Affairs Officer

The U.S. Army Aeromedical Research Laboratory’s Airworthiness Certification and Evaluation Division is the U.S. Army’s center of excellence for providing a joint test, evaluation, and certification program focused on carry-on medical equipment used by military health care providers during aeromedical evacuation transport of wounded Warfighters and Soldiers from the battlefield to more definitive healthcare.

As part of expanding USAARL’s airworthiness testing capability, the ACE Division can now test an in-flight emergency by simulating, in a static chamber, an abrupt change in cabin pressurization, or rapid decompression, from 8,000 to 45,000 feet. Rapid decompression is often caused by a sudden rupture in the aircraft fuselage, loss of a window, or cargo door separation.

“The decompression chamber was designed and developed by USAARL’s skilled engineers and machinists,” said David Jones, ACE Division chief. “This in-house effort will reduce test time and costs of future carry-on medical airworthiness certification programs.”

The new chamber is among several other in-house testing platforms including an altitude chamber, a blowing rain chamber (also developed by USAARL engineers and machinist), and climatic chambers.

Medical carry-on devices must pass rigorous airworthiness testing in accordance with the Joint En route Care Equipment Test Standard-Revision 1 to ensure that the equipment continues to perform to the manufacturer’s specifications while exposed to the harsh enroute care environments, promoting the safe interaction among the medical equipment, patients, aircrew, and the aircraft.

Since 2012, JECETS has become widely accepted and recognized as the joint service standard for testing medical carry-on items for use aboard U.S. Army rotary-wing helicopters and U.S. Air Force fixed-wing aircraft.

 


USAARL Hosts Military Standards Class - Photo

Col. Richard Malish, USAARL commander; Dr. George Ludwig, U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command principal assistant for research and technology; and Master Sgt. Natasha Turrell, USAARL senior medical laboratory non-commissioned officer, cut the ribbon to the new USAARL exhibit Dec. 6.

USAARL unveils military aeromedical exhibit
Posted Dec 6th, 2016 Story & Photo by: Catherine Davis, USAARL Public Affairs Officer

The U.S Army Aeromedical Research Laboratory unveiled its new Army aeromedical research exhibit Dec. 6. The exhibit focuses on USAARL’s research divisions and their missions, capabilities, competencies, and future directions.

The exhibit features USAARL’s contributions to aeromedical research beginning in the 1960s, when the Laboratory opened its doors, to the present day. Many of these contributions significantly impacted the lives of Service Members worldwide.

“It is my hope that when walking through this display, visitors to USAARL will learn about the meaningful contributions the Laboratory has made to the U.S. Army, and that the visitors get a sense of the impact USAARL will have on the Soldiers and aircrews in the future,” said Col. Richard Malish, USAARL commander. “The exhibit will both inform visitors about our current research efforts and inspire the next generation of medical advancement and life-saving innovation.”

USAARL’s scientists and engineers place at the forefront of their research mission the safety, health, and well-being of Service Members. By doing so, Lab personnel conduct relevant research that minimizes health hazards to Service Members and ultimately improves the effectiveness of operational military medicine.

 


USAARL Hosts Military Standards Class - Photo

USAARL Hosts Military Standards Class
Posted Nov 7th, 2016 Story & Photo by: Catherine Davis, USAARL Public Affairs Officer

The U.S. Army Aeromedical Research Laboratory’s Airworthiness Certification and Evaluation Division hosted a military standard “MIL-STD-810G: Test Method Standard for Environmental Engineering Considerations and Laboratory Tests” training class October 24-26.

Attendees included personnel from USAARL, the Aviation Engineering Directorate, and the Air Force Test Laboratory. The class provided in-depth training focused on using MIL-STD-810G environmental test procedures to further enhance the Joint Enroute Care Equipment Test Standard for airworthiness certification testing on medical items.

 


USAARL Awards Safety Essay Contest Winners
Posted September 28th, 2016 Story by: Catherine Davis, USAARL Public Affairs Officer

Students from across the Wiregrass were invited to participate in the 2016 safety essay contest hosted by the U.S. Army Aeromedical Research Laboratory, Fort Rucker, Ala.

The contest was open to any student age 8 to 18 years. Students age 8 to 12 years old wrote a one-page essay about “Safety at Home or at School,” and students age 13 to 18 years old wrote a two-page essay about “The Science of Safety.”

Judges from the Fort Rucker Elementary School and U.S. Army Combat Readiness Center chose a winner and runner-up from each category. Essays were scored on creativity, authenticity, grammar, and overall impression. The winner and runner-up in each category received a certificate and a gift card to Steve Spangler Science©.

The winners and runners-up were:
Corey Vaughn: winner, Safety at Home or at School
Hunter Savell: runner-up, Safety at Home or at School
Maya Harlow: winner, The Science of Safety
Isaiah Henderson: runner-up, The Science of Safety

In her essay, Harlow notes that “Safety is a science in and of itself. The roads are mapped out, the places stop signs are posted, and the speed limits enforced on the roadways are all carefully engineered so that we can quickly get from one place to another in the safest way possible.”

The contest aimed to increase safety awareness and prevention in parents and participants.

Vaughn’s safety at school essay instructs readers to stay safe in the science lab by listening to the teacher. He writes, “The teacher will tell you what to do and how to do it safely. If you aren’t paying attention to what the teacher is saying you can end up hurting someone or yourself by using the wrong chemical or doing the experiment the wrong way.”

“Safety is very important…and if you’re not being safe about things, you never know what’s going to happen,” said Savell. “You have to make the right decisions.”

Henderson simply wrote, “Be aware of the risks and hazards involved in any experiment. Be smart and be responsible when doing an experiment.”

“Safety promotion is one of the five core functions of the Army safety program, and awareness activities like these help keep safety and accident prevention in the forethought of target demographics and hopefully contribute to accident prevention,” said Tom Franz, USAARL safety officer. “We hope that this contest is the first of many.”

USAARL has received many safety awards such as the Director of Army Safety Risk Management Award, the Army Safety Excellence Streamer, and three Department of Army Accident Prevention Awards of Accomplishment in Safety.

Through research and development, USAARL supports military operations and modernization of solutions to enhance the medical readiness and performance challenges of Army aviators and ground forces.



USAARL Provides Education Outreach to Fort Rucker Children

USAARL Provides Education Outreach to Fort Rucker Children
Posted September 20th, 2016 Story by: Catherine Davis, USAARL Public Affairs Officer

Personnel from the U.S. Army Aeromedical Research Laboratory science, technology, engineering, and mathematics office taught hands-on science experiments to children at the Fort Rucker Child Development Center during summer 2016.

Dr. Lori St. Onge, STEM education coordinator, and Jessica Cumbee, STEM research education assistant coordinator, taught approximately 80 four- to six-year-olds about hydrophobic and hydrophilic materials, chemical reactions, and magnets.

The children experienced some of the same practices as real scientists, donning safety glasses and gloves before making hydrofoil boats, mixing table salt and white vinegar to cause a chemical reaction, and testing different objects to see if they were magnetic.

"Many students perceive STEM concepts as intimidating. Through early familiarization and engagement, we hope to create an excitement for and nurture students’ interest in STEM. By introducing STEM concepts through exploration and demonstration in unique, fun environments, students are not as intimidated and are more likely to ask questions and problem solve," said Cumbee.

USAARL’s involvement in STEM education outreach is a result of U.S. Executive Order 12821 – Improving Mathematics and Science Education in Support of the National Education Goals. The STEM programs offered at USAARL, the Gains in the Education of Mathematics and Science program and the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education program, support the advancement of STEM-related initiatives and disciplines to achieve National Education Goals.

In addition, USAARL is authorized by the Education Partnership Act, Title 10 U.S. Code 2194, to transfer excess defense laboratory equipment to educational nonprofit organizations. Transfer of excess equipment is intended to facilitate and nurture the study of science, art, and mathematics by students. USAARL has participated in eight equipment transfers in the past five years.

Photo by Catherine Davis, U.S. Army
Caption: Jessica Cumbee, science, technology, engineering, and mathematics research education assistant coordinator, teaches a group of Fort Rucker Child Development Center students how safely mixing table salt and white vinegar causes a chemical reaction, creating a solution to clean and brighten pennies.



NASA, USAARL Crash Helicopter to Improve Safety

USAARL Hosts Aerospace Medicine Meeting
Posted August 8, 2016 Story by: Catherine Davis, USAARL Public Affairs Officer

The U.S. Army Aeromedical Research Laboratory at Fort Rucker, Ala. hosted the third annual Aerospace Medicine Research Alignment and Collaboration working group July 13-14.

This 2016 meeting included personnel from the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, NASA, and Federal Aviation Administration who met to discuss past and current aerospace medicine research, programmatic research objectives, future research, and potential collaborations across the U.S. government.

“In these times of constrained budgets, it’s imperative for us to collaborate and view the research landscape across the other services, so we can identify opportunities to share information, reduce unnecessary duplication, and really get an assay of what’s going on across the U.S. and across the globe,” said Dr. David Stargel, Air Force Research Laboratory, 711th Human Performance Wing deputy chief scientist. “We find that as a group, we have a lot more resources available to us working together than we do individually. We do a lot of similar research, but each component has their own specific research that’s unique to their service. Even though we have unique research, there is a lot of commonality that we could share and build upon as we try and improve our capabilities.”

The 2014 and 2015 working group meetings included only the three military services and FAA. This year, NASA (Ames Research Center and Johnson Space Center) and the Navy Experimental Dive Unit were added to the invitee list in order to broaden the research scope, recognizing these active research programs.

Capt. Jay Sourbeer, Navy Experimental Dive Unit biomedical department head, said that this meeting was a good experience. The military diving community faces many of the same research challenges as the aviation community, such as sensory function, protection of the operator, safety, and navigation issues.

Dr. Richard Arnold, Naval Medical Research Unit Dayton aeromedical research directorate director, said he believes “this meeting will bring the five organizations doing aeromedical research much closer together and probably foster more collaborations, which [is] the purpose of the working group.”

“AMRAC provides a vital function for the military and taxpayer,” said Col. Rich Malish, USAARL commander. “The meeting ensures that the interagency and military aeromedical research enterprise has minimal overlap, remains focused on relevant issues, and is moving forward to synchronicity. USAARL is proud of our role in setting the agenda and establishing the forum for productive discussion. Even so, our work is just beginning and the forward-looking list of things to do is expansive.”

The two-day AMRAC agenda consisted of detailed briefings from each service or organization and a tour of USAARL’s biomechanical, visual, auditory, and aircrew health facilities and NUH-60FS Blackhawk flight simulator.

The 2017 AMRAC meeting will be hosted by NAMRU Dayton.

Photo Credits: Scott Childress, USAARL VI Specialist
Photo Caption: The U.S. Army Aeromedical Research Laboratory at Fort Rucker, Ala. hosted the third annual Aerospace Medicine Research Alignment and Collaboration working group July 13-14. Attendees included the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, NASA, and Federal Aviation Administration.




NASA, USAARL Crash Helicopter to Improve Safety

NASA, USAARL Crash Helicopter to Improve Safety
Posted June 3, 2015 Story by: Catherine Davis, USAARL Public Affairs Officer

Engineers and scientists from 14 government agencies recently crashed a former Marine CH-46 helicopter airframe at NASA Langley’s Landing and Impact Research Facility in Hampton, Va.

The U.S. Army Aeromedical Research Laboratory at Fort Rucker, Ala., the U.S. Navy, the Federal Aviation Administration, the German Aerospace Center, and the Australian Cooperative Research Center for Advanced Composite Structures collaborated with NASA on this Transport Rotorcraft Airframe Crash Testbed full-scale crash test, which is part of NASA’s Rotary Wing Project.

The purpose of the test was to collect data on composite structures and to answer questions aimed at occupant protection and injury mitigation during a helicopter crash.

The recent test was the second crash test in a series, and mimicked the first crash test that was completed in 2013. Like the first test, the helicopter was loaded with 15 crash-test dummies, lifted 30 feet into the air, and released – crashing into a bed of dirt at about 30 miles per hour. This time, however, the helicopter stopped and only slid a few feet, compared to the first test where the helicopter slid approximately 5 feet. The impact represents a severe, but survivable condition under both civilian and military standards.

The helicopter was instrumented inside and out with a total of 40 high-speed cameras, recording more than 500 images per second. These images will allow researchers to understand how the fuselage cracked or collapsed under crash loads.

USAARL’s support, funded by the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command, provided NASA with a reinforced legacy litter support system, a developmental litter system, and improved patient restraint systems for a comparative analysis to the legacy systems used in the 2013 crash test.

USAARLs overall intent is to ensure that litter occupants, attending flight medics, and aircrew are protected during aircraft crash events. Testing in a dynamic environment provides USAARL and the Army with critical data needed to understand the dynamic force transmission during crash events. Data from the accelerometers mounted onto the litter support systems are essential to define strength and performance requirements for future patient movement items,” said Joe McEntire, a USAARL research mechanical engineer leading the Army’s collaboration effort.

McEntire said that the data will be used to influence the design requirements of future aeromedical transport equipment and patient litters.

Preliminary observations indicate considerable useful data were collected during the crash, and the information will be analyzed over the next few months.

Photo Credits: Taken by; David Bowman, NASA Langley
Photo Caption: Former Marine CH-46 helicopter airframe before the crash test at NASA Langley’s Landing and Impact Research Facility in Hampton, Va.




USAARL Works to Make Medivac Missions Safer

USAARL Works to Make Medivac Missions Safer
Posted May 3, 2015 Story by: Catherine Davis, USAARL Public Affairs Officer

FORT RUCKER, Ala. --Medical evacuation operations are very complex and dangerous for evacuation helicopters, crewmembers, and patients. Medevac missions consist of retrieving the wounded from a dangerous environment and transporting them to medical triage or a medical treatment facility. In the event that a helicopter cannot land, medevac crewmembers are trained to send down a medic, who evaluates and packages the patient, and to use a rescue hoist device to lift the medic and patient into the aircraft.

One complication of medevac hoist operations is the uncontrolled spinning of the stretcher at the end of the hoist cable. This spinning can cause harm to the medic and patient.

Medical equipment, like hoist cables and stretchers, used aboard an aircraft must be tested and evaluated for aircraft compatibility to improve products or techniques that may reduce risk and increase efficiency of medevac missions.

Scientists and engineers of the U.S. Army Aeromedical Research Laboratory, Fort Rucker, Ala. Enroute Care and Airworthiness Division and Flight Systems Branch recently tested an anti-rotational device that when used on a hoist cable is intended to reduce the spinning of a load when lifted from the ground to the helicopter. The purpose of the test was to observe how the device interacted with the rescue basket and hoist system during helicopter transport over open terrain, an urban environment, and a ravine. USAARL also tested the tagline hoist that is currently used in many hoist missions and compared the performance of the tagline hoist to the performance of the anti-rotational device.

USAARL conducted the mock rescue hoist missions using an HH-60M Medevac helicopter, an Army medic trained in hoist operations, a rescue basket, and an anthropomorphic test device or crash test dummy that was wearing a standard rucksack. Each hoist configuration was tested at 40 feet over open terrain, at 80 feet over an urban terrain, and at 100 feet over a ravine. During each test scenario, ECAD assessed the safety, usability, and effectiveness of the anti-rotational device in comparison to the tagline hoist.

“USAARL develops, tests, and evaluates performance solutions within the military environment,” said David Jones, a USAARL test manager assigned to ECAD. “Testing equipment is one of the ways we contribute to preserving the health, safety, and performance of the Warfighter.”

After data collection is completed, analyses will be conducted to verify whether the anti-rotational device allows for a safer and more efficient hoist mission than standard hoist techniques. Results may be used to determine if the tagline currently used for hoist operations should be replaced with the anti-rotational device.

USAARL provides knowledge and expertise to plan and conduct studies to improve patient outcomes by addressing patient movement equipment and patient care capability gaps related to ground or rotary-wing transport. Specifically, the studies include research, development, tests, and evaluations to support the selection of medical devices used in air and ground ambulances, as well as to improve knowledge and treatment of injury and disease under the unique physical, mechanical, and physiological stresses of the patient movement environment.


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This Web site provides an introduction to the U.S. Army Aeromedical Research Laboratory (USAARL) and contains official Government information. Its use is intended for members of the general public, news media and Army Medical Department beneficiaries. Please address questions or concerns about this website to the USAARL Public Affairs Office via email or by telephone at 334-255-6883