Hypoxia is defined as a lack of oxygen throughout the body, which can be caused by several factors at any altitude. General aviation (GA) pilots may argue that most GA aircraft cannot attain the required altitudes where one might be more affected by hypoxia, but it is exactly that attitude that may makes pilots more susceptible to hypoxia. The impact of this hazardous attitude is even more apparent if one considers that out of the 590,038 certificated pilots in the USA, a little over 30% of them are GA pilots (FAA, 2015). The problem is that unlike airline pilots or military pilots, there are no specific requirements for GA pilots to receive flight physiology training that could cover hypoxia causes, recognition, and recovery. Furthermore, there is no existing mandate requiring GA pilots to report episodes of hypoxia to any safety or statistics agency, such as NASA. Without reports, records, or statistics on hypoxia, there is no way to observe trends through the years, which could help prevent other GA pilots from experiencing the same hazard. To obtain more information on GA pilots’ experiences with hypoxia, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association and Curt Lewis & Associates, a safety forum and recommendation service for the aviation industry, distributed an anonymous survey via electronic newsletter to collect hypoxia data. Questions within this survey asked about the pilot’s experience at the time, flight condition, and any previous flight physiology training he or she may have had. The information obtained was analyzed to create statistics that could show how often hypoxia occurs for GA pilots and how effective flight physiology training is for the GA population.
Holt, Timothy; Luedtke, Jacqueline; Perry, Jennah; Hight, Michelle; Schindler, Claire; and Ward, Pamela
"General Aviation Hypoxia and Reporting Statistics,"
Journal of Aviation Technology and Engineering:
2, Article 1.
Available at: https://doi.org/10.7771/2159-6670.1176