An individual’s tolerance to G-force (G-tolerance) depends on factors such as the degree of G-force and the duration of exposure. G-tolerance varies among individuals and can be improved by measures such as anti-G suits, anti-G straining maneuvers (AGSM), positive pressure breathing systems, and reclined seats. Furthermore, it is important that aviators understand those conditions that will make their body more susceptible to the effects of G forces. The bottom line is that G tolerance for each individual aviator may fluctuate from day to day, and this can lead to disastrous consequences in flight. Most civilian aircraft are not equipped to handle G-protective clothing—a “G suit.” However, there are other things that can be done to enhance aviator performance in the high-G environment:
- A well-rested, hydrated, and fit aviator will physically be able to withstand higher G forces. When an aviator is well hydrated, there is more circulating volume in the blood stream, and it is easier for the heart to keep the brain perfused with oxygenated blood.
- G tolerance is degraded as a result of alcohol, fatigue, and dehydration. With the “Big Three” above, the aviator may experience severe symptoms of G exposure at much less than the customary level. Lack of physical conditioning and a sedentary lifestyle can also degrade G tolerance and increase the aviator’s susceptibility. Also, once again, smoking and flying do not mix. Individuals who smoke have diminished performance at high altitude and high-G environments.
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