Quick response by aviation medicine key to IAF operations: Major

December 2nd, 2008 - 12:39 am ICT by IANS  

Bangalore, Dec 1 (IANS) To remain a lean and mean fighting machine, the Indian Air Force (IAF) needs a quick responsive process by aviation medicine, Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Fali Homi Major said Monday. “As availability of aircrew for the maximum possible time is vital for real-time operations, aviation medicine should be able to quickly detect fitness problems and provide treatment to put the crew back on the flight line,” Major said at a conference of the Indian Society of Aerospace Medicine (ISAM) here.

Since Defence Minister A.K. Antony and Major could not attend the inaugural session of the 48th annual conference on ‘Operational Space and Civil Aviation Medicine’ due to pressing engagements in New Delhi, the IAF chief’s special address was read out in absentia by Air Marshal P.P. Rajkumar at the Institute of Aviation Medicine (IAM).

Exhorting doctors and medical experts associated with aviation medicine to put in place a responsive process for health-related issues, the Air Chief said the tremendous progress made in modern medical science should be applied to make the aircrew resume duty at the earliest.

“Modern medicine should be harnessed to enhance human capability so that the combination of man and machine can transcend another level. We need to re-look at the present system whose rules and regulations are in the danger of becoming archaic as they apply to a different era of medical capability,” Major pointed out.

In view of the enhanced performance of modern aerial combat platforms placing greater demands on the human body and its interface with the machines, Major admitted the stresses on the aircrew increased manifold, as small, single seat combat aircraft were capable of traversing oceans and continents in a single hop of 12-hour flights.

The rigours of manned space travel, human performance in long duration missions, super manoeuverability, increasing cockpit workload, information management and night operations are the new challenges to be collectively overcome by the operational and medical fraternity.

“The IAF is in the midst of a transformation and poised to leap a generation ahead. All these developments throw up many aero-medical challenges requiring constructive solutions. Technology is pushing the boundaries of aerospace and medicine, bringing about breakthroughs on a regular basis,” Major noted.

The three-day annual conference showcases the scientific advancement of the country in the field of aerospace medicine. The deliberations focus on all aero-medical issues related to aviation medicine, with emphasis on space and civil aviation.

The 50-year-old IAM was set up in Bangalore as a hub of aerospace medicine activity. The institute is involved in the selection and evaluation of military and civil aircrew, aero-medical consultancy in aircraft design and life support systems, promotion of flight safety, aircraft accident investigation and aero-medical research.

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