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The Aircrew Health and Performance Division (AHPD) conducts applied research to study the effects of the military aviation environment on aircrew mental and physical health, flight performance, and mission success. AHPD also aims to improve knowledge and treatment of injury under the physical, mechanical, and physiological stresses of the military patient movement environment.

AHPD is working to allow Aviators to fly longer, solve the spatial disorientation problem, and develop new methods for measuring the impact of external factors such as fatigue, workload, and cognitive functioning on Aviators in manned and operators of unmanned systems. This research is also expanding beyond pilots to apply our expertise to the operators of unmanned aerial systems to tackle those unique challenges.

The division’s research encompasses aeromedical, psychological, behavioral, and neurocognitive effects on health, performance, safety, and effectiveness in the aviation operational environment. Examples include traumatic brain injury, disease, injury, fitness-for-duty, return-to-duty, motion sickness, pilot-machine teaming, spatial disorientation, altitude physiology, crew coordination, workload (sensory and cognitive), fatigue, and endurance (i.e., related to sleep deprivation, heat stress, and day/night cycle shifts). AHPD also performs medical technology performance evaluations to support the prevention of in-transit injury or compromise, and/or the treatment of injured or ill patients during evacuation, ensuring safe interaction among medical equipment, patients, crew, and air and ground ambulances.

AHPD research results in aeromedical recommendations to the U.S. Army Aeromedical Consultant Advisory Panel for improving aviation policy letters and provides to U.S. Army Combat Readiness Center aviation accident investigators safety recommendations for mishap mitigation strategies. Our research influences training policy and medical standards, and contributes to the design of new technologies used in the cockpit of Army airframes. Staff researchers offer recommendations for mitigating external occupational factors and hazards (e.g., novel medical devices, cockpit systems, and weapon systems) by providing expertise and assessment guidelines. AHPD researchers also provide evidence-based medical practice guidelines and knowledge and operational recommendations or standards to mitigate environmental and physical space challenges during pre- and inter-hospital transport.

Specific Research Platforms:

Fatigue Laboratory
Data collection vehicle
XSens Motion Capture System
Psychophysiological monitoring
SimMan 3G medical training manikins
Engagement Skills Trainer (EST) 2000
3-D Audio/Tactile Situational Awareness System

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