FEASIBILITY OF REDUCING THE INCIDENCE OF LOW BACK PAIN IN HELICOPTER PILOTS USING A CONTOURED AND VIBRATION-ATTENUATING CUSHION

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Air Force
Contract: N/A
Agency Tracking Number: 9101
Amount: $49,952.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 1988
Solicitation Year: N/A
Solicitation Topic Code: N/A
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
Simula Inc
10016 - S 51st St, Phoenix, AZ, 85044
DUNS: N/A
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 JOSEPH W COLTMAN
 (602) 893-7533
Business Contact
Phone: () -
Research Institution
N/A
Abstract
CHRONIC LOWER BACK PAIN IN HELICOPTER PILOTS IS A SIGNIFICANT PROBLEM. THE TASK OF CONTROLLING A HELICOPTER, WHETHER IT IS HOVERING OR MOVING STRATEGICALLY IN FLIGHT IS PHYSICALLY TAXING. PILOTS ARE SUBJECTED TO EXTREMELY UNCOMFORTABLE SEATING POSITIONS ASSOCIATED WITH CONTROLLING THE AIRCRAFT AND SEVERE HELICOPTER VIBRATIONS, CAUSING MANY PILOTS TO SUFFER FROM CHRONIC LOW BACK PAIN. THE INCIDENCE OF BACKACHE IN HELICOPTER PILOTS IS MORE SEVERE THAN IN PILOTS OF OTHER AIRCRAFT. THE HIGH INCIDENCE OF PILOT LOW BACK PAIN IS DIRECTLY RELATED TO DECREASED PERFORMANCE IN FLIGHT AND INCREASED HEALTH AND MEDICAL COSTS. THIS PROGRAM WILL IDENTIFY WAYS TO REDUCE OR ELIMINATE THE AILMENT BY DETERMINING THE EFFECT OF CUSHIONS, DESIGNED WITH ERGONOMIC CONTOURS AND FABRICATED WITH VIBRATIONABSORBING MATERIALS, ON THE INCIDENCE OF LOW BACK PAIN. IN EVALUATING THE PERFORMANCE OF THESE CUSHIONS, VIBRATION TRANSMISSIBILITY AND LOW BACK COMFORT WILL BE THE TWO CRITERIA EXAMINED. IN THE PROPOSED PHASE I EFFORT, SIMULA WILL EXAMINE THE CONTRIBUTING PROBLEMS (I.E. POSTURE AND VIBRATION) AND THEN EXAMINE CUSHION CONCEPTS WITH THE POTENTIAL OF REDUCING THE EFFECTS OF THESE FACTORS. IN PHASE II, THE SELECTED CUSHION(S) WILL BE INSTALLED IN A HELICOPTER FOR THE SOLE PURPOSE OF DETERMINING ITS EFFECT ON LOW BACK PAIN.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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