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RECORDS ON ARGENTINE AIR FORCE A4B/C SYSTEM EJECTIONS

BETWEEN 1966 AND 1995 AND NATO'S ONE HUNDRED EJECTIONS

 

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By Mj. Dr. HORACIO HÜNICKEN

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Introduction
Injuries history
Study focus
Psychological disorders
Conclusions
Bibliography

INTRODUCTION

        Fighters'ejection from a plane in state of emergency may cause severe physical and psychological disorders.On the basis of records related to Argentine Airforce A 4 B/C planes between 1966 and 1995,some interesting conclusions may be derived so as to provide  fighter's better assistance in case they were forced  to ejection  in order to save their lives.

        Statistics show there is a high percent of success during these planes' ejections but there are also cases of injuries ranging from minor to severe ones due to system failures or human negligence .An early diagnosis on the possible injuries  may allow for a treatment and therefore a quicker recovery .

        Most likely the fighter's first aids will be provided  by a physician non-specialised in Aerospatial Medicine in the place where the pilot landed.Due to lack of knowledge in Aerospatial Medicine,the diagnoses are usually plenty of involuntary mistakes since the injured disorders are not habitual  for the local physician

        On the basis of 27 ejections during  the period of time herein referred, 48.1 % of the fighters were uninjured ,37% were injured,11.1% died due to different causes, finally 3.7% were lost.

        Among the types of disorders observed,there were lower limbs fractures,shoulder sprains,torn internal or external knee ligament,minor traumatic lesions,ankle twist,grazes,bruises,scalds , maculopathy and minor lack of adjustment to fighther aircrafts .

        Statistics from NATO on the basis of one hundred ejections were also studied : 47% fighters were uninjured ,11% died  and 42% suffered some kind of injury.Most ejections resulted in traumatic lesions (Backbone fractures among others) and among the ones which implied pathologies,the most seriously injured section was lumbar thoracic.Backbone fractures :15 ,other traumatic lesions:27)
 



 

FIGURE 1: Twenty Seven Argentine Air Force A4BC/ System Ejections.

 

 FIGURE 2.-Nato's Ejections


INJURIES  HISTORY

Fighters may suffer injuries at any stage during ejections .It is worth highlighting that this set of steps is followed at high speed ,under stressful psychological conditions and without formally following operation standards.

1968: The fighter suffered hand sclads and foot injuries. Not wearing gloves at the moment of manoeuvring caused severe scalds when the seat propellant  cartridge started ignition. The second injury was caused when both feet hit against the control board's edge at the moment of ejection.The boots protecting toe cap prevented the feet amputation and fractures.

1977: The fighter suffered lower limbs' fracture when falling on the ground  on a late evening ejection.

1978: DEAD.The fighter doubted at the moment of ejection.He ejected his seat at a low height and while the plane was falling off,the parachute was burnt down  by the fire  from the aircraft.This blow up was produced about 196.92 feet far from the fighter's parachute but the it ?parachute?is caught by the fire driven by a 30 knots wind.

1978: The fighter suffered minor injuries in his chin and right elbow.Before ejection,there was a cockpit's depressurization ;the pilot suffered hipoxia and disorders which reduced consciousness and alertness. Therefore it is highly important that fighters learn about hypoxia's symptoms by going through the Hipobaric Chamber so as to get used to them by means of exposure.

1981: The fighter suffered  Maculopathy. When the fighter ejected,he did not put the viser helmet´s cap down and the aero-dynamical airflow blew directly on his eyes  and caused this pathology (Central Corneal Serous Retinitis)

1982: Four ejections were studied in Southern Atlantic War.
 

1984: The fighter suffered lumbar traumatic lesions as a result of a wrong sitting position.

1987: The fighter suffered left shoulder luxation or dislocation caused by his inability to keep the protection beam down when both arms were moved away by the aerodynamic airflow.

1988: The fighter suffered torn left knee ligament when he fell down on the ground. The seat pan did not unfasten

1991: The fighter suffered torn right knee ligament.The fighter's ejection was delayed when the anti-G got stuck on one of the seat  edges.

1994: All the steps were followed but the fighter  could not eject,The seat did not eject and the plane landed on one of the Andes' slopes at 18,051 feet height (The fighter was uninjured)

1995:  The fighter died when he ejected at a low height  and his parachute did not open.
 


STUDY  FOCUS

On the basis of a historical record of ejections,it is observed that the fighter was rescued two hours later by a helicopter and he got medical assistance from a physician in a state hospital one hour later.The physician assessed the fighter's health state .The history records included anamnesis,cervicae X-rays helped to diagnose multiple traumatic lesions and he was prescribed pain killers.The fighter was immediately moved back to his base unit and his general condition was assessed by the base unit's physician.This test was carried out seven hours after the ejections on the basis of the physical and psychological examination form.The patient was under stress and he complained of painful epigastrium ;his electrocardiogram showed supraventricular arrhythmia.
The eye test diagnosed daltonism (the fighter did not identify colours properly). After all these tests he was prescribed rest and medicines(pain killers and Metachlopramide

The following day,the ECG was within normal parametres and the eye test showed that the fighter's chromatic sight had been corrected.

The Aerospatial Medicine National Institute (INMAE) followed the fighter's recovery process along the following four days and he was immediately sent to the Central Aernautics Hospital in order to get his torn knee ligament treated.
 
 


PSYCHOLOGICAL DISORDERS (This record is a South Atlantic War veteran )

Some fighters undergo some kind of minor lack of adjustment to flying conditions on a fighter aircraft.This kind of disorder might cause the fighter's inability to flying and therefore lead him develop aircraft's phobias.These symptoms do not always show up immediately after the ejection since there are records of some of them underlying up to  five years before the minor lack of adjustment is produced (The main symptom is CINETOSIS)
 


CONCLUSIONS
Once the injury records are analyzed,it is concluded that focusing on general phyisicians' training regarding the fighter's assistance at the moment of ejections in highly relevant.The steps to be followed are included in a form that the fighter carries in his flying clothing .This form  includes detailed information on the type of exams to be carried out, ECG, types of x-rays,sight test and usual blood-urine test as well.

All the tests show that the most frequent injuries are bone -related, therefore it is highly important to focus on lower and upper limbs exams as well as thorough backbone examinations,
The test form is an easy to handle one included with the fighter's clothing as part of his personal SAR.
 



 

EJECTED PILOT'S MEDICAL PROTOCOL

 

THIS STAGE SHOULD FOCUS ON DETECTING LIFE-RISK EVENTS.

-Full Name : _____________ Age________ Blood Group and Type :

-Ejection Date,Time and Place :_____________
-Test Time and Place :_______________
-ANAMNESIS :
(Setting)
-Physical Examination :General Description on injuries such as bruises,scalds
-Section and Size :

-HEAD        EYES         EARS        NOSE       NECK

-Cardiovascular System :ECG , beating rhythm :

-Respiratory System :

--Abdomen :

-Upper Limbs :

-Joints' Flexibility ,head,knees ,feet and knee syndrome (very frequent)

-Backbone:  deviation and degree of mobility on painful  limbs :

-COMPULSORY THORACIC AND LUMBAR  X-RAYS
-Neurological Tests :
-Supplementary Test :Blood-Urine Tests and X-rays needed
-Ophtalmological Examination :
-DIAGNOSIS :______________________________________

-TREATMENT .
In case the fighter is dead,all injuries as well as clothing must be described in detail

          Physician's Full Name :____________________________


 



 

 BIBLIOGRAPHY

  1. DELOY.AUFFERT.'Patogenias de las Lesiones en los Eyectados.'1981
  2. DELNAYES.AUFFERT.DONON.'Eyecciones en Aviones de Combate'.1983
  3. DELGADO,Rudolph.'Resúmenes de Eyecciones de la USAF'.1986.Publicación Flying Safety.
  4. HENRRY.J.Maniki.'Back and Neck Pain' 116/118.Edición 12da.Harrison 1995.
  5. HÜNICKEN.H.M.Eyecciones en Aviones de Combate Sistema A4B/C de la FAA''.1990.Publicación en Aeroespacio 1990.Eyección.
  6. PUFFER,James.'Lesiones Comunes en el Deporte .UCLA. Facultad de Medicina de Los Angeles'California(Conn Terapéutica).1988/1990
  7. NEIRA,Jorge y GONZALEZ,Angel.'Enfoque Inicial del Politraumatizado' 441/446 Del Manual de Terapia Intensiva de la Sociedad Argentina de Terapia Intensiva .1995.
  8. NAVARRO,Antonio.'Tratado de Semiología' 1948.UNC
  9. MIKAEL.M.H.'Neurologic Evaluation Disk Diase Radiology ' 168-177 .1988.
  10. LEIMAN Pat Hugo,MOIA,Patricia.'Síndrome de Desadaptación Secundario al Vuelo'.1989
  11. LEINMAN,Pat Hugo.'Errores de Pilotaje.Análisis de sus Componentes'1981
  12. LOVESIO,Carlos.'Politraumatizado'.Cap.18.Libro de Terapia Intensiva.1984.
  13. PÉREZ,Antonio.'Influencia en la Fatiga de Vuelo en la Seguridad de Vuelo'.1987

e-Mail: hunicken.horacio@usa.net