+Gz-induced neck injuries in Royal Australian Air Force fighter pilots

David G. Newman

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58 Citations (Scopus)


+Gz-induced neck injuries are a relatively common occurrence in pilots of high performance fighter aircraft. We surveyed 52 fighter pilots from the Royal Australian Air Force Base at Williamtown via an anonymous questionnaire in order to determine the prevalence and operational significance of these injuries. The pilots flew either the F/A-18 Hornet or the MB326H Macchi. Of the respondents, 44 reported having had a neck injury under +Gz. A higher rate was reported in pilots of the F/A-18. Most of these injuries were simple muscle sprains. There were 20 pilots who reported their neck injury as having interfered with mission completion. Only 12 pilots reported doing any regular neck strengthening exercises, while 33 pilots reported doing preflight neck stretches immediately prior to high +Gz exposure. There were 14 pilots who sought medical attention for their injury, with 9 being taken off flight status for an average of 2 weeks. Air combat maneuvering sorties and the 'check six' head position were identified as causal factors by most pilots. This study demonstrates the operational significance of these injuries, and highlights the need for more research into this important aerospace medicine issue.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)520-524
Number of pages5
JournalAviation Space and Environmental Medicine
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 1997

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