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Aviat Space Environ Med. 1994 Apr;65(4):323-6.

Postural control in pilots and candidates for flight training.

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Israel Air Force Aeromedical Center, Tel Hashomer.


Postural control may reflect the pilot's ability to deal successfully with the stresses of spatial orientation. In this study, we hypothesized that fighter pilots would have better performance on the "tetra-axiametric posture test" than would helicopter pilots (less rigorously selected) and candidates for flight training. We tested 28 fighter pilots, 23 helicopter pilots and 43 candidates by tetra-axiametric posturography. Fighter pilots were found on the level position to have significantly more compensatory anterior-posterior sway (moving anterior-posterior rather than laterally, p = 0.02) and required less movements to maintain balance (p = 0.02) than did candidates. Helicopter pilots had intermediate values. In stressed positions, fighter pilots demonstrated relatively more slow movements (p = 0.018) than did the candidates, which may be related to increased labyrinth control. In the stressed positions, helicopter pilots had postural profiles similar to the candidates. We conclude that there are significant differences in postural control as tested by tetraaxiametric posturography between fighter pilots, helicopter pilots, and candidates for flight training. This could be due to either innate ability, which could be used in the selection process, or to training. A prospective study is planned in order to determine if posturography can predict a candidate's ability to complete flight training.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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