In the news recently, there have been a number of stories regarding the F-22 Raptor and the concerns of pilots and others regarding symptoms of hypoxia in flight. Yesterday, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta ordered the Air Force Tuesday to limit all F-22 flights to distances that would allow pilot to make an emergency landing at any given time. In addition, the time line for addition of backup oxygen to the aircraft has been moved up. The Secretary requested monthly updates on the efforts to local the root cause of the oxygen deficiency in the cockpit.
The symptoms of hypoxia vary between individuals. The initial symptoms can include a general dulling of the senses, clumsiness or drowsiness. Some compare the feeling to being slightly intoxicated.
Without suplemental oxygen or flying to lower altitudes, the symptoms then worsen. Pilots may suffer from any combination of the following symptoms:
- tingling in the skin
- racing heart
- changes in vision
- bluish tint to the lips.
Due to the effect on the brain, however, the pilot may be completely unaware that they are having any problems. The Reduced Oxygen Breathing Device is used to train pilots on the early symptoms of hypoxia in a simulated environment so that they may take preventative actions prior to becoming incapacitated.
Please click for more information on the symptoms of hypoxia, how the body becomes hypoxic at high altitude, and on how the Environics Reduced Oxygen Breathing Device is used to train pilots on the symptoms of hypoxia.