Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 91.djvu/727

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Testing the Fighting Aviator

��Applicants for the aviation corps are converted into human gyroscopes in a special revolving chair in order to test their sense of equilibrium

��By Dr. William F. -Patten,

Captain, M. R. C, U. S. A., in charge of Physical Examining Unit, Aviation Service, Episcopal Eye, Ear, Nose and Throat Hospital, Washington, D. C.

FROM a military standpoint, a flight through the air brings into play the greatest anatomical, physiological and psychological functions of man. The guid- ing of an airplane is not the work of a weakling, a child, or a fool, but of a man in the most superlative sense. Hence it is that the experts of the Surgeon General's 'office have fixed the medical standards which must be met by applicants, standard- ized the methods of examination, and seen to it that only the physically fit are accepted.

The men who wish to become flyers are tested by physical examining units, of which there are now some twenty in the United States. Each unit comprises a group of volunteer specialists. Experts on internal medicine examine the appli- cant physically; eye specialists test his vision; laryngolo- gists determine whether there is any defect of the ear, nose and throat.

The examination for the determina- tion of the blood pressure and the ex- amination of the heart, lungs, blood vessels, bones, joints, muscles, skin and nervous system are exceedingly rigorous. The man who flies at a height of ten thousand, fifteen thousand , even twenty thousand feet (heights at

which even skilled balloonists experience difficulty in maintaining physical poise) can be no weakling.

����Every Applicant Must Be a Perfect Specimen The blood pressure is determined and the heart, lungs, blood vessels, bones, joints, muscles, skin and nervous system are carefully examined with the finest instruments. Flying cannot be the sport of weaklings

��The Aviator Must Be a Physically Perfect Man

But even if he is sound of heart and sound of lung, he may still be rejected. His acuteness of vision must be exceptional. Hence the eye ex- pert makes a thor- ough examination to determine if the eye movements are nor- mal and if stereo- scopic vision is be- yond question. The pupil of the eye must react normally to light and distance. The color sense must be perfect. Every test is conducted painstakingly with the most modern ap- paratus. Thus, the color sense is tested with what is known as the Jennings' self- recording equip- ment. A chart on which confusion colors appear on a perforated card- board is exhibited to the applicant. One perforation corresponds with each color and shade. Some shade of red or green is shown, and the applicant is asked to name


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