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HEAT issues in Military Cockpit

resqav8r

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Just wondering if anyone besides me thinks that flying in the heat of OEF & OIF is more demanding than normal. Many cockpits (fighters, transport, AH64, AH1) are climate controlled so no issue for those guys. However, those of us low level in H60 & OH58D contend with cockpit heat well above our core body temperature. Do you find that heat distracting and/or potentially hazardous? What do you do to deal with it (suck it up, doors off, etc.). I'd be courious, because I'm suspecting that some rookie mistakes made by senior pilots might be the result of the distraction caused by the extreme heat and dust. Any input is welcomed. thanks.
 

pkober

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We were issued, by our flight surgeon, a headband that you would soke in water and wrap around your head. You would shove it in a water bottle and throw it in your fridge before the mission. It looked funny wearing a soaking wet headband but the thing worked for about eight hours.

Try this website. www.virginiabusiness.com/magazine/yr1998/aug98/mybrednk.html

These are not the ones we used, our are black, but they are similar.

It think at one point my Navigator measured the cockpit temp at 150+. It didn't stop the missions, you just delt with it. I do believe that the heat combined with cronick (sp.) fatigue has caused some near accidents if not actual accident.

Good Luck

CLAMBAKE
 

sardaddy

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You are quite correct that heat plays a critical factor in fatigue and other physical factors in flight. The Army Safety Center and USAAVNC (or whatever that acronym is) have detailed studies on it. Contact them if you want more info.

As for your other comments: "Many cockpits (fighters, transport, AH64, AH1) are climate controlled so no issue for those guys. However, those of us low level in H60 & OH58D contend with cockpit heat well above our core body temperature."

That comment is not exactly correct. As a former AH-64 pilot I can assure you that heat is still a huge factor if not worse in the the AH-64 and AH-1. That climate control, when it is working properly barely compensates for the large amount of heat generated by having a cockpit surrounded by glass with no ventilation. It is still very hot. When the system is not working properly, or diverted to keep other systems cool it is worse than being in an aircraft that has windows available to the outside environment.

If you want to keep your temp down a little, try these tips. Get a bandana, or one of the kercheifs especially designed for this particular task and soak it in water, then roll it up and wrap it around your neck. You can also soak your skull cap and get it damp before flying. If feels funky but it does cool you down for a bit. But most of all remember to drink lots of water.

Good luck
 

Traderd

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resqav8r said:
Just wondering if anyone besides me thinks that flying in the heat of OEF & OIF is more demanding than normal. Many cockpits (fighters, transport, AH64, AH1) are climate controlled so no issue for those guys. However, those of us low level in H60 & OH58D contend with cockpit heat well above our core body temperature. Do you find that heat distracting and/or potentially hazardous? What do you do to deal with it (suck it up, doors off, etc.). I'd be courious, because I'm suspecting that some rookie mistakes made by senior pilots might be the result of the distraction caused by the extreme heat and dust. Any input is welcomed. thanks.

I feel that the heat has been a contributory factor in some of the pilot error mishaps. However, I was usually more comfortable in the 60 than an AH1, even though the snake had an ECU.

Problem was the Cobra just didn't have enough power to utilize the ECU in the take off, hover and landing phases of missions and as you might guess, when it comes to Cav and Attack ops, that is pretty much all there is. The problem then becomes compounded by the fact it is a closed cockpit with a lot of greenhouse. I'm not sure about the 64, but I think heat is less of an issue as they are rarely FMC and as such the crew spends most mission hours sitting in a tent. (just kidding - don't shoot). Of course the sand really adds to the misery and maintenance. Screws up everything; you, the bird and even the chow. Can't get away from that I would guess. At least not for the foreseeable future.

As a note, I am pretty sure the Aeromedical team down at Ft. Rucker conducted a lot of tests concernig this very issue during the 90's because I actually participated in a few for the Hawk. If I recall, we flew the simulator with a wire up our a$$ while they heated the thing up to sauna levels. Used googles and such. It sucked and was actaully quite a bit more severe that anything I recall experiencing in the real world. You might want to do a search and see if they published any results.

Good luck over there.
 

Traderd

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sardaddy said:
You are quite correct that heat plays a critical factor in fatigue and other physical factors in flight. The Army Safety Center and USAAVNC (or whatever that acronym is) have detailed studies on it. Contact them if you want more info.

As for your other comments: "Many cockpits (fighters, transport, AH64, AH1) are climate controlled so no issue for those guys. However, those of us low level in H60 & OH58D contend with cockpit heat well above our core body temperature."

That comment is not exactly correct. As a former AH-64 pilot I can assure you that heat is still a huge factor if not worse in the the AH-64 and AH-1. That climate control, when it is working properly barely compensates for the large amount of heat generated by having a cockpit surrounded by glass with no ventilation. It is still very hot. When the system is not working properly, or diverted to keep other systems cool it is worse than being in an aircraft that has windows available to the outside environment.

If you want to keep your temp down a little, try these tips. Get a bandana, or one of the kercheifs especially designed for this particular task and soak it in water, then roll it up and wrap it around your neck. You can also soak your skull cap and get it damp before flying. If feels funky but it does cool you down for a bit. But most of all remember to drink lots of water.

Good luck

Ah - the skull cap. Still have mine and still refuse to wash it!!

Interesting to hear that the 64 has the same kind of ECU limitations that the Cobra had. It is a bitch to have that sun using the canopy as a cooking glasss.

On a side note. When I retired, the Hawk required that pilot doors be installed prior to flight. I have seen several pictures from Iraq as well as NO where the aircraft is flying doors off. Looks like quite and improvement.
 

dtfl

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Do your helos have the reflective sun shades? Sounds funny...but it works. We made them put them up in the 130s and it helped. We also worked a deal with MX to pull a hatch or keep the cargo door cracked a few inches.
There were times I was so hot that sweat was pouring over me and it ddistracted me from my task at hand. We were in the Stans...one of the lower stans had a "bowl effect' were a dust layer sat at 16k and turned into a magnifying glass.
There were times I was so hot I took my flight suit and tied it around my waist. Put my flak vest back on and used my headset. Told my female CP she could do the same...IF she wanted. She didnt...and then when we got airborne Id get back into my gear.
We had radio problems in the heat as well as burns from the metal buckles on the shoulder straps. Showers were sometimes so hot they would burn...and CE took their sweet time taking care of that - we suggested camo netting over the bladders.....2 weeks later the females shower had it. We never got it. How hard is it to get a camo net?
Anyway....leadership needs to realize this IS a factor.

PS Anyone ever use that cooler device from the Sharper Image? A guy I know that has a lawn service says it works.
 

resqav8r

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heat revisited

Thanks very much for the input. I've had the good fortune of working the deep of night when it's cool and yet I still get pretty hot doing the job. Never had a 64 in extreme temps / alt like this (and I'm now in USAF). I really wanted to see if after 18 yrs of flying I'm turning soft. This whole issue of heat hit me flying the US border from SanDiego to Corpus the week of Emily. My Co was making real tiny subtle mistakes and I was slow to catch them. We saw our OAT pegged on several occasions, we only have a tiny vent window and the vent blower was more like ahair dryer or blow torch. It was miserable, so I brought a coolshirt (used in autoracing) with me to theater. I've used it prior to critical phases of flight and felt much better for it. However, it really made me wonder how it is in other aircraft and especially those folks flying in the day. Worse yet, has anyone heard how the guys in HMMVs are dealing?
 

AdlerDriver

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resqav8r said:
....... Many cockpits (fighters, transport, AH64, AH1) are climate controlled so no issue for those guys......

I've got news for you. A fighter cockpit is slightly climate controlled. If it's not cold enough to snow, a fighter pilot is probably going to get out of a cockpit drenched in sweat. Yanking around at high Gs is an athletic event and quickly overpowers the miniscule efforts of a small AC unit in a fighter. Add to that the effect of sitting in the sun under a greenhouse called a canopy and you'll find heat is quite an issue for fighter guys.
 

resqav8r

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Thanks, Adler ... I really had no idea (been RW all my life), just kinda figured that with the FAT at altitude that it wasn't much of an issue. It's good to know as a reference. One day I'll find out; when I collect the Eagle ride that's been promised to my crew ... hope it's a cool day.
 

Pistlpetet

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A friend of mine who use to fly 130s for the Marines solved this problem out at Twenty-Nine Palms some years ago. They were stuck doing a CAX, living in tents. To beat the heat and improve crew morale they flew the NAKED1 Departure, where the whole crew did a mission naked, except for dog tags, boots, and headset.

One of the crew leaked this info out, and as the AC he was called on the carpet. He was sweating it a bit for a while, but eventually got off with nothing.

Ah the good old days.....
 

sardaddy

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That's weird

"They were stuck doing a CAX, living in tents. To beat the heat and improve crew morale they flew the NAKED1 Departure, where the whole crew did a mission naked, except for dog tags, boots, and headset."

Army pilots normally live in tents during exercises as well as war but they don't feel the need to fly naked to "improve crew moral". Perhaps there is something more to why they wanted to fly naked. Because I know for a fact that my morale would not improve by watching a bunch of naked men. But hey that's just me.
 

Pistlpetet

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From what I gather it was a crazy traditional thing from long ago. A kinda badge of honor that they did it. I was told that the NATOPS regs do (or did) only say that you were required to wear dog tags, boots, and gloves, but no mention of the flight suit.

I know Army guys sleep in tents, but MC C-130 guys are rarely far from a BOQ or hotel during peacetime ops. Remember we are talking about Marines here..lol.
 

resqav8r

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extreme solution

Well, flying naked would allow evaporation ... the funny factor is debatable. We have our own organic 130 tankers and I certainly don't think they know anything about real heat in the cockpit. Uncomfortable maybe, but with A/C, facilities and a coffee maker ... how bad could it be. Heck our guys bake cookies waiting to pass gas to us as we sweat our bullocks off under the greenhouse. Anyone else have any real experience with real heat? I'm taking heat so distracting that it's tough to focus on the job, even tough you know the lack of focus could kill you. Now that’s hot.:eek:
 

dtfl

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ERJ 145 mech - that was the Sharper Image gadget I was talking about - a lawn guy I know got one and said it worked.
Some Pave Low guys I know that used to my Apache guys told me the AH 64 has an AC "eyeball" that fires at your balls...and one of them said "Because when your balls are cold......"
That work? :)
I guess this is the same principle, but with your neck. I dunno if the same hold true or not :)
 

hawg2hawk

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AdlerDriver said:
I've got news for you. A fighter cockpit is slightly climate controlled. If it's not cold enough to snow, a fighter pilot is probably going to get out of a cockpit drenched in sweat. Yanking around at high Gs is an athletic event and quickly overpowers the miniscule efforts of a small AC unit in a fighter. Add to that the effect of sitting in the sun under a greenhouse called a canopy and you'll find heat is quite an issue for fighter guys.

Well...yeah, but having flown both in hot-ass climates, there really is no comparison. I certainly remember having my helmet too hot to touch following trips across the pond, and taping charts across the top of the canopy to keep the sun from baking my nugget, but in a fighter you can stop or reduce the physical activity, whereas in a helo the heat is with you all the time and you absolutely can not get away from it. I have never felt so hot that I thought I was going to pass out in the A-10 (even in Kuwait), but I have in the OV-10 (no A/C, big magnifying glass canopy), and I have in the helicopter. Huge difference.
When I was going through the helo transition, several of the instructors had
these:

http://www.mistymate.com/personal-cooling.html


and they seemed to work well as long as the doors are on. Several guys mentioned freezing a camelbak and tucking it between their flight suit and their t-shirt when they did southern watch. Didn't last long, but at least it's something. Carrying frozen water bottles will give you cold water for a little while, at least.
 

AdlerDriver

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hawg2hawk said:
Well...yeah, but having flown both in hot-ass climates, there really is no comparison. I certainly remember having my helmet too hot to touch following trips across the pond, and taping charts across the top of the canopy to keep the sun from baking my nugget, but in a fighter you can stop or reduce the physical activity, whereas in a helo the heat is with you all the time and you absolutely can not get away from it. I have never felt so hot that I thought I was going to pass out in the A-10 (even in Kuwait), but I have in the OV-10 (no A/C, big magnifying glass canopy), and I have in the helicopter. Huge difference.
When I was going through the helo transition, several of the instructors had
these:

http://www.mistymate.com/personal-cooling.html


and they seemed to work well as long as the doors are on. Several guys mentioned freezing a camelbak and tucking it between their flight suit and their t-shirt when they did southern watch. Didn't last long, but at least it's something. Carrying frozen water bottles will give you cold water for a little while, at least.

Okay.... I'll take your word for it. My point was heat in fighter cockpits is a problem, not the "no issue" alleged by the thread starter. I guess heat in helos and OV-10s is a bigger problem. Whatever. Your problem is bigger than mine. I knew I flew fighters for a reason.:D
 

resqav8r

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RGR got it

RGR, got it ... anytime you put a human under glass in a sealed environment with the sun beaming down on him it'll be an issue no matter what the FAT or the ECU. After 22 yrs of service I'm on the doorstep of getting out, so I'm trying to determine if finding a solution for this is a worthy use of my time. Over the years I've tried all of these methods mention (except the sharperimage one ... didn't want the rath of my peers for looking like a ___). Ice vests, frozen camelbak, water soaked flightsuit, skull cap, etc. Guess I tried everything short of flying NUDE. The system I've used in autoracing so far works best but there are limfacs that'll require some engineering to make it work in our world. From what I've learned in this thread is that my market is much larger than just the Lift Helicopter community. I guess everyone will be seeing the product by years end. I'm testing versions of it here at OEF now ... anyone in the Southern RC that wants to try it let me know. When I pull chalks I will leave all prototypes behind with users. Next week I'll visit the SIPs & MTPs to find someone willing to try them and give me feedback. Everyone that has confirmed my hunches, it's appreciated. I've also since learned that this issue is huge for the guys driving in the theater. And the guys humpin' rucks in theater. All the other items out there are half assed stop gap measures. I hope what I'm working on will be a solution. Thanks again for sharing your thoughts on how heat affects us at work.
 

Kuma

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AdlerDriver said:
Okay.... I'll take your word for it. My point was heat in fighter cockpits is a problem, not the "no issue" alleged by the thread starter. I guess heat in helos and OV-10s is a bigger problem. Whatever. Your problem is bigger than mine. I knew I flew fighters for a reason.:D


Heat is a problem in every cockpit. Every community needs to work to help mitigate the physiological effects of conducting the mission. It seems that most of us are willing to help each other find solutions.

How do you protect yourself from heat? Maybe someone else can use the same techniques to help himself...this is not a Macho contest.
 
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