Head positioning for high +Gz loads: An analysis of the techniques used by F/A-18 pilots

David G. Newman

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27 Citations (Scopus)


A study was undertaken among Royal Australian Air Force fighter pilots to determine whether, as an occupational group, they had developed any particular protective head positioning strategies in order to minimize their risk of sustaining a +Gz-induced neck injury during air combat maneuvering. There were 42 F/A-18 Hornet pilots who responded to an anonymous questionnaire which asked about head positioning strategies. Of these, 29 pilots reported using a protective strategy. Several pilots reported using several different techniques. The most popular strategy reported was positioning the head prior to the application of +Gz (13 respondents). Eleven pilots reported using aircraft structures to wedge or brace their heads against. The results of this study show that fighter pilots who are regularly exposed to high +Gz forces develop an individualized approach to protecting their cervical spines from +Gz-induced injury.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)732-735
Number of pages4
JournalAviation Space and Environmental Medicine
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 1997

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