USAF conducts health assessments on F-35A Lightning II maintainers


Airmen at the US Air Force (USAF) completed advanced air quality and heat stress assessments on F-35A Lightning II fighter jet maintainers.

The assessments were carried out by members of Team Luke, Nellis and Wright-Patterson air force bases’ USAF School of Aerospace Medicine (USAFSAM).

USAFSAM Force Health Protection Branch Chief Major Jamie Kurzdorfer said: “Coming to Luke and monitoring the maintainers helps us drive future research.

“Being able to evaluate a combination of heat stress along with chemical monitoring gives us a good idea of how the two pair together for airmen working in these conditions.”

"The real-time data we collect from these samples is essential to our analysis."

As part of the evaluation conducted to ensure a healthy environment is available for airmen, an intricate system of tubes and scientific instruments were woven and clipped to the maintainer’s uniforms.

A wide variety of instruments were used to measure oxygen and carbon dioxide levels and core body temperatures of airmen assigned to the 61st and 62nd Fighter Squadrons.

The evaluation also involved measuring the amount of volatile compounds present in the air.

During the tests, participating airmen were instructed to perform the launch and recovery of an F-35A as normal as possible to get the most accurate assessment.

USAFSAM research biologist and field technician Laura Flory said: “The real-time data we collect from these samples is essential to our analysis.

“Having the ability to take into account all types of variables allows us to be more precise with our future health assessments.”


Image: Airman 1st Class Trevhonn Mincy (left) and Airman Robert Briones, 62nd Fighter Squadron F-35 Crew Chiefs, prepare to launch an F-35A Lightning II. Photo: courtesy of US Air Force.