E-Ox Personal Emergency Oxygen System »

Aeromedix has developed a miniature aviation-grade personal oxygen system that slips easily into in your flight bag, briefcase or tote-bag, and provides up to 113 liters of breathing oxygen that you can have with you wherever you go. Active pilot and aviation medicine expert Dr. Brent Blue (president of Aeromedix) thinks this little $200 system is a terrific option for GA pilots who don't do enough high-altitude flying to justify spending $600 to $900 for a full-blown portable oxygen system. And in an emergency, it could be a lifesaver. NOTE: This is an update to Dr. Blue's previous article on the Breath of Life system. More

A Personal Experience with LASIK »

Much has been written, including previous articles here on AVweb, about LASIK surgery to correct vision deficiencies. Much of what you may have read involves what the surgery does, how it's performed and what the various considerations can be for pilots. However, few, if any, of those articles were written by a physician who had actually undergone the procedure. Until now. AVweb's aviation medicine editor, Dr. Brent Blue, recently went under the knife, err, laser, to have the procedure. Here's his report. More

Practical Use Of The Pilot Personality Profile »

As a pilot, you are a member of a unique group of people -- a group that is sometimes difficult to understand, at least for non-pilots. In some ways, pilots are the most consistent and even-keeled group anyone is likely to meet, which makes it all the more surprising when a pilot's behavior seems contradictory and inconsistent. What comprises a typical pilot's personality? What characteristics do they generally share? Industrial psychologist Robert Rose, Ph.D., answers these questions and more as he takes a look at why understanding your personality profile may help your personal and professional relationships work a lot more effectively. More

Pregnant Pilots And A Look At LASIK »

For about half of the population, pregnancy is a normal medical condition. Still, there are some considerations that women who are or plan to become pregnant may wish to consider, like hypoxia and late-term trip scheduling. Also, a recent article in the Federal Air Surgeon's Medical Bulletin may have confused some regarding the status of airmen who obtain monovision LASIK surgery. AVweb 's aviation medicine expert, Dr. Brent Blue, explains some considerations for pregnant pilots and clarifies the LASIK confusion. More

The Effects Of Fatigue On Performance And Safety »

Fatigue has been blamed in numerous aviation accidents over the years and is a continuing problem facing crews flying aircraft of all sizes. But how can a pilot recognize when he or she is too tired to fly? What roles do sleep cycles, dehydration, nutrition and illness play in identifying and responding to fatigue? AVweb contributor Mark Brandon Printup explores some of these accidents and what pilots can do to minimize fatigue's effects. More

Radiation Exposure Aloft -- Are You Being Nuked? »

Cockpit and cabin crewmembers who spend hundreds of hours a month at the Flight Levels are exposed to much higher levels of cosmic radiation than the general public -- so much so that the government now classifies aircrews as "radiation workers." The radiation risk increases dramatically with altitude, latitude, and the 11-year solar cycle (which is now approaching its peak). AVweb's aviation medicine expert Dr. Brent Blue discusses the risks involved, reviews the position of the FAA, airlines and pilot unions, and explains what individual crewmembers can do to monitor and control their exposure. More

To Die For »

The December 1997 SilkAir 185 crash in Indonesia and the October 1999 Egypt Air 990 crash in the U.S. have both focused attention on an aviation safety question that most of us would really rather not discuss: pilot suicide. Could psychological testing of pilots help prevent this sort of tragedy? Does cockpit crew size (three vs. two) make a difference? Does the FAA's policy of grounding pilots who take antidepressant medication help or hurt? AVweb's Ken Cubbin examines these and other facets of the problem. More

Rain In The Desert »

In both air carrier and general aviation operations, the low moisture content and quality of cabin air at cruise altitudes is often a source of concern among passengers. But controlling and minimizing moisture inside the airplane is critical both for health reasons and to minimize maintenance requirements. AVweb contributor Ken Cubbin explores the need for relatively dry air in airplane cabins and why it's critical to continued safe operations. More

The Age 60 Rule: How It Came To Be »

Fast-tracked into FAR Part 121 by the FAA's first administrator, General Elwood R. (Pete) Quesada, in a back-room deal with his old friend C. R. Smith, CEO of American Airlines, the FAA's Age 60 Rule has survived four decades of legal and political wrangling, and remains as controversial today as when enacted in 1960. Vincent Czaplyski traces the origins and history of the rule, describes various challenges it has faced over the years, and explains why medical and safety arguments offered to support it can be misleading. More

Vision Correction Surgery for Pilots »

Poor vision in otherwise healthy pilots is often perceived as a barrier to climbing the aviation employment ladder. Additionally, dealing with glasses and contact lenses on a daily basis can be a source of constant frustration. In recent years, new surgical procedures have been developed to correct some -- but not all -- conditions resulting in poor vision. One of the most popular is LASIK, which uses a laser to reshape the eye's cornea. But, the procedure is not without risks. AVweb's Kim Broadwell, M.D., discusses those risks and -- most importantly -- what impact the procedure might have on your flying. More