Sheppard Profile: Aerospace Physiology training

WICHITA FALLS - Before pilots-in-training ever take flight at Sheppard Air Force Base, they land in Aerospace Physiology class.

1st Lieutenant Austen Collie said, "Primarily, we teach the undergraduate pilot students here, we get them for their very first week of ENJJPT training or Euro-Nato Joint Jet Pilot training program and we teach them about all the physiology involved in flying and it can potentially, negatively impact their ability to fly." 

During the one-week training, future pilots get to experience how it will feel in the cockpit.

Aerospace Physiology Technician, Senior Airman Kristyn Widger added, "They have to know their symptoms before they could fly for hypoxia before they can fly in an aircraft." 

Students go through various steps, one of those consists of sitting in a chamber.  "We do have pilots and other aircrews that are claustrophobic that come in here so you do get those people that are a little bit more nervous and we just kind of walk them through those steps and how we can help them," airman Widger told us, and one part of the Aerospace Physiology training that airmen experience is the Barany chair.

Airman Widger continued to tell us, "If a pilot is new to training and they do experience spatial disorientation in flight then they can come back to the ground and the physiology part of it as well as with some assistance from flight med, we can spin them in the chair." 

Trainers spin students at full capacity until they are able to control their nausea. 

Lt. Collie finished by telling us, "Just really important that our pilots are able to recognize these symptoms and ultimately correct for it by just having an understanding of their physiology and how flying can negatively impact their ability to fly is really important in keeping our pilots safe." 

At 25 thousand feet high in altitude, it typically takes a pilot 3 to 5 minutes to regain full consciousness. Each aircraft is equipped with an emergency oxygen kit if that becomes necessary.

On next week's Sheppard Profile where you'll meet a former military training leader who inspired a current training leader who is inspiring the next generation of airmen.


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