Effect of aeromedical training on anxiety levels of ab initio pilots


Ata N., Aytac B., Ertemir D., Cetinguc M., Yazgan E.

AIRCRAFT ENGINEERING AND AEROSPACE TECHNOLOGY, 2022 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.1108/aeat-10-2021-0298
  • Title of Journal : AIRCRAFT ENGINEERING AND AEROSPACE TECHNOLOGY
  • Keywords: Aeromedical training, Aviation medicine, Human factors, Arousal, CENTRIFUGE, TRAIT

Abstract

Purpose Aeromedical training is meant to train aircrew in combating physiological problems that they might face in flight. Given the importance of the training, there are limited studies in the literature investigating the anxiety levels during aeromedical training along with training outcomes. This study aims to assess the untrained participants' anxiety levels before and after aeromedical training, investigate the differences in anxiety levels across different physiological training devices and determine whether participants' anxiety levels affect their G tolerances. Design/methodology/approach This study was carried out on 61 healthy male subjects (n = 61) who had applied for initial aeromedical training. Anxiety surveys and visual analog scales were administered before and after the practical aeromedical training. In addition, blood pressure and heart rate measurements were carried out. Findings Participants had significantly higher anxiety levels before human centrifuge training (pre-Glab) than before the altitude chamber training (pre-hypobaric). Participants who experienced G-induced loss of consciousness (G-LOC) had slightly more anxiety reported than the non-G-LOC group. There was a significant decrease between pre-Glab and post-Glab (after the human centrifuge training) and between pre-hypobaric and post-hypobaric (after the altitude chamber training) anxiety levels. The incidence of G-LOC was lower in participants having higher pre-G-Lab blood pressure. However, the difference in anxiety levels between the G-LOC group and the non-G-LOC group was not statistically significant. Research limitations/implications In this study, state anxiety inventory was not performed after human centrifuge training as centrifuge training lasted for around 5 min only, and it is not advisable to repeat state anxiety inventory in such short periods. Blood pressure was not measured after G-Lab training because human centrifuge training is hard training and has an impact on blood pressure. Hence, it would have been difficult to distinguish whether the blood pressure change was due to anxiety or hard physical activity. These limitations, especially for the G-Lab, caused us to evaluate state anxiety only with VAS. It would be worthwhile to repeat similar studies with objective measurements before and after the training. Practical implications This information suggests that instructors who train the applicants on aerospace medicine be ready for the possible consequences of anxiety. Originality/value There are only a few centers in the world that include all the physiological training devices (practical aeromedical training laboratories) together. To the best of authors' knowledge, there are no studies in the literature investigating the differences in anxiety levels across various physiological training devices. The studies about the effect of anxiety levels on aeromedical training outcomes and anxiety levels before and after the training are scant.