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Cockpit Anthropometric Accomodation and the JPATS Program (1)

Cockpit Anthropometric Accomodation and the JPATS Program (1)

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Published by: howellbd on Jul 09, 2012
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Gregory. F. ZehnerFitts Human Engineering DivisionCrew Systems DirectorateArmstrong LaboratoryWright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio 45433-7022
Currently, USAF pilot candidates must bebetween 64 and 77 inches in Stature, and between 34and 40 inches in Sitting Height. These criteriaprevent roughly 6% of male military population fromentering flight training. Approximately 55% of female military are excluded. Complicating this issueis the traditional practice of designing aircraft toaccommodate "5th through 95th percentile" malepilots. The intention of this practice is to reduce thecost and size of the cockpit (and, therefore, theaircraft). Individuals beyond the 5th and 95thpercentile limits frequently are forced to "stretch" alittle or "scrunch down" a little to be accommodated.For pilots representing these extreme body sizes,disaccommodation is most often the result of theirSitting Height, Sitting Eye Height, the length of thearms, and/or the length of the legs. If 5th percentilemale values for all of these critical bodymeasurements are used as design limits for an aircraftcockpit (as was done in nearly all existing USAFaircraft), 18% of military males and 81% of militaryfemales will fall outside the design limits on at leastone of these parameters.Due to the unique design philosophy adopted forthe Joint Primary Aircraft Training System (JPATS)program, the USAF may consider relaxing entrancerequirements in order to make flight training moreaccessible to women. However, to do so will placesome of these individuals at risk for mishap in aircraftother than the JPATS due to their inability to reachhand controls and rudder pedals, inadequate externalvision, and possibly control stick interference withtheir legs.This paper will discuss the JPATSanthropometry program, how the multivariate “cases”were derived, and the cockpit evaluation methodwhich was used to measure accommodation limits.
The Joint Primary Aircraft Training System(JPATS) will be the USAF's replacement for the T-37and the USN's replacement for the T-34. RaytheonAircraft Company (Beechcraft) was awarded thecontract for the Beech Mk II turboprop in February1996. One of the things that made this procurementunique was that, for the first time, anthropometricaccommodation was as important a selection criteriaas flying qualities -and more important than cost.At the outset, all contending aircraft wereintended to be off-the-shelf designs. This strategy isoften used to speed the procurement process and tosave money. Initially, the main goal of theanthropometry evaluation was to assure that thisprimary trainer would not be a body size bottle neck.AllUSAF pilots will have to fly this aircraft, and theAir Force did not want its design to limit the bodysizes of the pilot population.However, as the program progressed, high levelinterest in anthropometric accommodation increased.Eventually, the off-the-shelf philosophy, insofar asconcerned the crewstations, almost completelydisappeared. Nearly all of the proposed cockpits hadbeen radically altered to accommodate a much widerrange of body sizes than has ever been attempted in amilitary aircraft. In fact, the small pilots for whichthe aircraft was ultimately designed are far too smallto be allowed into USAF flight training by currentstandards.A great deal of effort was expended to determineand to influence what the body size designrequirements for this aircraft should be. Thefollowing sections describe the how and why of theJPATS anthropometry program.
The US Army Air Corps began restricting pilotbody sizes as early as 1936. The USAF hascontinuedthe practice. The purpose is to reduce costand improve performance by limiting the size of theaircraft crewstation (and, therefore, the aircraft). Inaccordance with AFI 48-123, "Medical Examinationand Standards," current USAF pilot candidates musthave a Sitting Height between 34 and 40 inches, andStature between 64 and 77 inches.Historically, the anthropometry of the pilotpopulation and design requirements for aircraft haveclosely paralleled each other. Previous practice wasto perform anthropometric surveys on the existingpilot population and to use summary statistics fromthose surveys as design requirements for aircraft. Onthe small end of the design range, 5th percentilevalues for critical body dimensions were used asminimum design points; on the large end, 95thpercentile values were used. Those members of thepopulation smaller than the minimum design valueswere expected to "stretch" in order to beaccommodated. Those larger than the maximumdesign values sometimes found themselves cramped alittle, and had to "scrunch" down to beaccommodated. Figures 1 through 5 show examplesof accommodation problems which are typicallyencountered due to this philosophy.
Figure 1.
Inadequate Overhead Clearance
Figure 2.
Inadequate Shin Clearance
Figure 3.
Minimal Over the Nose Vision
Figure 4.
Inadequate ElbowClearance
Figure 5.
Inability to Reach to Full-Forward SticThe 5th and 95th percentile values that many of our existing aircraft were designed to accommodatewere based on samples taken from a male pilotpopulation. Our estimates are that as much as 42% of the current female pilot population falls below themale pilot 5th percentile value for Sitting Eye Height(related directly to vision over the nose of theaircraft), and 60 percent are smaller for leg lengths(related to ability to operate the rudder pedals).While stretching may be possible on one of theseparameters, attempting to simultaneously stretch outthe legs to reach the rudders while also trying tostretch up to see out of the aircraft, is a very difficultfeat to perform while landing an aircraft.The initial specification for the JPATS programwas written to give the manufacturers a set of anthropometric dimensions which would not requirestretching by a small pilot and would assure adequatespace for large ones (Meindl, Zehner, and Hudson1993). This specification required manufacturer’sdesigns to accommodate a broader range of bodysizes than any aircraft existing inthe USAFinventory.Due to concerns that this level of accommodationcould not be met by an off-the-shelf aircraft,government teams were sent out to measure potentialcontending aircraft to see if any could accommodatethis wide range of body size variability. Many of these aircraft had difficulty accommodating thisrange. These assessments were completed before theRequest for Proposals was released. However, itappeared that the specification could be met withsome modification of the existing crewstations. Thisbeing the case, it was reasonable to specify that theJPATS aircraft should accommodate 99.5% of pilots(male and female) who were eligible to enter USAFundergraduate flight training as defined in AFI 48-123. It was also a "stated" goal (desired but notrequired) to accommodate individuals meeting themore generous body size entrance requirements of theUS Navy.
Bythe summer of 1993, USAF teams hadalready measured seven potential competitors for theJPATS contract. Classes on measuring techniqueshad been held for all interested manufacturers andhandbooks for examining anthropometricaccommodation had been sent to each. Thegovernment's intention was to thoroughly examine allcockpits to assure that essentially all USAF pilotswould be accommodated in the aircraft.That summer, due to a congressional desire toexpand the assignment of women in the military, aDoD working group was convened to examine theanthropometric specifications which were beingconsidered for the JPATS program. This workinggroup attempted to determine the effects of thosespecifications on accommodation of women in thecockpit.One of the main reasons this working group wasneeded was because a great deal of conflictinginformation had been circulating concerning theeffects of the JPATS specifications on the number of military females who would be eligible to fly theaircraft. Therefore, one of the first tasks of theworking group was to identify an appropriateanthropometric database that could be used by allinvolved, so that all anthropometric calculationswould be comparable. The decision was made to usethe 1988 US Army Anthropometric Survey (Gordon,et. al.), and cull from it a sample which representedthose females with the potential to become pilots if theanthropometricrestrictionstoenterflighttrainingwerenotinplace. The sample was based on thefollowing criteria.1. Age must be greater than 22 years since pilots inthe USAF and USN must be college graduates. (Thisalso assured that nearly all subjects had achieved theirfull adult body size.)2. Racial mix was constructed to match the UScollege-graduate population in 1992 -approximately86% White, 6% Black, 4% Hispanic, and 4% Asian.These data were retrieved from the US Department of Education.

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