Knowledge Discovery Processes Implemented in Evaluating Wearable Sensors in High Performance Jet Aircraft
INTRODUCTION Few studies have evaluated physiological responses to high acceleration forces during actual flight and to our knowledge no normative data has been acquired by technologies such as wearable biosensors during high performance jet aircraft operations. METHODS In-flight physiological data from an FDA cleared portable triaxial accelerometer and bio-sensor were observed from five active duty F-18 pilots of the Naval Flight Demonstration Squadron (Blue Angels). Of the five pilots, three were formation pilots who flew lower G profiles and two were solo pilots who flew higher G profiles. Physiological parameters monitored were heart rate, respiratory rate, temperature, caloric expenditure, and duration of exposure to levels of acceleration. RESULTS Evaluated were 25 practice demonstration flights; 9 flights were excluded secondary to incomplete or inaccurate physiological data. We observed no significant bradycardia during a total of 189 maneuvers which met inclusion criteria for push-pull events (PPE) or isolated -Gz exposures. Further analysis of 73 PPE revealed an overall significant rise in HR following the PPE, where mean heart rate was 106 (95% CI, 100:112) at the beginning of the push and 129 (95% CI, 123:135) following the pull. DISCUSSION A majority of the flights monitored provided reliable physiological data. Initial data suggests, contrary to currently held aeromedical doctrine, maneuvers such as the "push-pull" do not evoke vasovagal based bradycardic responses in aerobatic pilots. Possible explanations for these findings are sympathetic nervous system activation through adaptation and/or sustained isometric resistance from control inputs, both of which are areas of future research for our team.Rice GM, Snider D, Moore JL, Lavan JT, Folga R, VanBrunt TB. Evidence for -Gz adaptation observed with wearable biosensors during high performance jet flight. Aerosp Med Hum Perform. 2016; 87(12):996-1003.