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Aerobatic Pilot's Health
September 2003

Q. As an aerobatic pilot I experience repeated positive and negative Gs while practicing maneuvers. What are the short- and long-term effects on the vascular system (also lymphatic, hormonal, internal organs, etc.) What more can I do (other than my already strenuous diet/exercise/weight training routine) to ensure peak health over time?

A. There is surprisingly little research on your topic. Most of the training requirements emphasize cardiovascular health of pilots and you are attending to this with the training you describe. Regular medical exams should be done as well to look for cardiac risk factors such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol that might need treatment. The specific stresses on aerobatic pilots and their long-term effects have not been studied much from documents I have found. Here are some websites from which more information may be reviewed.



Medical articles available through a hospital or medical sachool library:

1: Hewson DJ, McNair PJ, Marshall RN. Aircraft control forces and EMG activity: comparison of novice and experienced pilots during simulated rolls, loops and turns. Aviat Space Environ Med. 2000 Aug;71(8):798-805. PMID: 10954356 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

2: Pucheu A, Chanton E, Lechat P, Muzergues G, Revellat F, Pucheu M. [Heart rate and rhythm during flight in civil pilots undergoing aerobatics. A Holter study] Arch Mal Coeur Vaiss. 1993 Nov;86(11):1589-95. French. PMID: 7516649 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

3: Voloshin VG, Bykova IuI, Kuznetsov VG, Lapshina NA. [Effect of acceleration on pilot-sportsmen during aerial performances] Kosm Biol Aviakosm Med. 1988 Sep-Oct;22(5):14-7. Russian. PMID: 3226102 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

4: Whinnery JE. +Gz-induced loss of consciousness in undergraduate pilot training. Aviat Space Environ Med. 1986 Oct;57(10 Pt 1):997-9. PMID: 3778399 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

5: Engen DD. 1985 Lindbergh lecture. Some personal perspectives on aviation progress. Aviat Space Environ Med. 1986 May;57(5):472-81. PMID: 3518693 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

6: Voloshin VG, Bykova IuI, Opryshko AV, Lapshina NA. [Characteristics of the G-loads in sports stunt flying] Kosm Biol Aviakosm Med. 1985 Nov-Dec;19(6):20-2. Russian. PMID: 4087854 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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