Incidence of G-induced loss of consciousness and almost loss of consciousness in the royal air force

Ellen Slungaard*, Judith McLeod, Nicholas D.C. Green, Amit Kiran, Di J. Newham, Stephen D.R. Harridge

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

INTRODUCTION: Exposure to sustained +Gz acceleration with inadequate G protection can result in G-induced loss of consciousness (G-LOC) or almost loss of consciousness (A-LOC). The UK Royal Air Force (RAF) last conducted a survey of G-LOC within their military aircrew in 2005 with interventions subsequently introduced. The aim of this study was to repeat the 2005 survey in order to evaluate the impact of those interventions. 

METHODS: An anonymous questionnaire requesting details of G-LOC and A-LOC events was mailed to all RAF pilots (N = 1878) and weapons systems operators (WSOs) (N = 473), irrespective of aircraft currently flown. 

RESULTS: The questionnaire was returned by 809 aircrew (34.4% response rate). There were 120 (14.8%) aircrew who reported at least one episode of G-LOC and 260 (32.2%) reported at least one episode of A-LOC. The reported prevalence of G-LOC in the previous 2005 survey was 20.1% (N = 454). There was an increased reporting of G-LOC in the Hawk, Tucano, and Grob Tutor aircraft, with 5 G-LOC and 19 A-LOC events reported in the Grob Tutor compared to none in 2005. 

DISCUSSION: The prevalence of reported G-LOC has decreased in the surveyed populations, which may be due to the introduction of centrifuge training, but also may be influenced by patterns of G exposure and other factors. Scope for further reduction remains through correct execution of the anti-G straining maneuver (AGSM) with centrifuge training early in flying training and use of a structured conditioning program to increase the general strength of muscles involved in the AGSM.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)550-555
Number of pages6
JournalAerospace medicine and human performance
Volume88
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2017

Keywords

  • A-LOC
  • Acceleration
  • G-LOC
  • Survey

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