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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 89.djvu/594

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���Testing an Air-Fighter's Nerve

Is your pulse right ? Would you start at the crack of a pistol? How do you breathe? The answer spells your fitness to be an aviator

��Above, the ergograph, which ascertains the exact amount of fatigue in the arms and fingers after certain exercises

���At left, an indicator strapped to the fin- gers to determine sHght variations in the pulse-beats

���THE war -aviator must be so consti- tuted that the sudden menace of danger, of shells bursting about him, of machiiu--gun bullets raining upon him will find him calm and collected. He must face a crisis not only with deliberate calm, but with the ability to escape with a whole skin.

Polo-players, lion-tamers, big-game hunters proved to be the best aviators in the early days of the llying-machine, simply because they were so constituted that they were not appalled by danger. Indeed, they courted perils. Men of this rare type are hard to tnul. Besides, every man obsessed with the daredevil spirit does not necessarily constitute the ideal aviator. Even timid business men have their moments of reckless daring. What is wanted is the stuff of which Danii-I iioones and Shackletons are made.

Hut in ad<lilii>n to the daredc\il spirit, has the prospective aviator mus- cular anfl nervous endurance? After clutching for an hour the control-levers of a speedy monoplane, is his han<l firm, or does it ircnililc!' After witness- ing a terrible aici<lent, is Iiis lu-.irl-bcit.

��his "cardiac rhythm" undisturbed? Is his respiration still normal? Moreover, are his nervous and nuiscular systems so well balanced and so nicely correlated that his hands promptly obey every external command?

These important questions must be answered in his favor if he hopes to get a job as a war-llier with the French army. The French do not want daretlevils to drive their air-machines if they are daredevils and nothing more.

For the purpose of finding out just how favoral)ly every applicant can an- swer these difficult questions — and he can not answer them with his lips — the French war department employs an ingem'ous testing machine. Psx'chol- ogists ha\-e known and emjiKniHl what is called the d'Arsonval chronometer for many years. Hut it is unlikeK' that the (U'licate mechanism has ever been put to such an inliTesting task.

One part of it tests the pulse-beat. Another determines the tremor of the nerves. Still another registers the respi- ration. AnothiT ajjparatus discovers the ability, or the in.ibilits', of the .ipplicant lo wilhslaiid fatigue. .After he has

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