PTU provides valuable training

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt JT May III
  • 92nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
The plane is losing cabin pressure rapidly, you're 30,000 feet in the air, and you notice you're in an emergency situation. This is one of many simulated scenarios that the Aerospace Physiological Training Unit prepares aircrew for during altitude chamber training. The primary purpose of the training is for students to determine what their hypoxia symptoms are, and ensure everyone knows the correct course of action during an in-flight emergency.

The mission of Aerospace Physiological Training is to familiarize the flyer with the physiological stresses and human performance factors of modern military aviation and prepare the flyer to successfully meet these challenges. The purpose is to enhance flight safety by reducing human performance errors.

"Our goal is to deliver first rate aerospace physiology training to the department of defense, allied nations aircrew, special operations forces and the FAA annually," said Lt. Col. Timothy Byrne, 92nd Aerospace Medicine Squadron aerospace physiology flight commander.

The PTU is composed of a twenty-one member shop, broken down into five sections. Those sections are administrative, maintenance, training, high altitude airdrop mission support and human performance training team.

The administrative section is responsible for scheduling students from a wide range of locations for training. They train different military branches as well as Federal Aviation Administration civilians. The students come from a variety of airframes and include high altitude parachutists.

The maintenance section ensures the altitude chamber and life support equipment is fully operational which is accomplished by a series of recurring inspections and maintenance actions. Most of the repairs are performed in-house.

The training section schedules instructors to teach and makes sure each chamber flight is fully manned. Each flight requires a minimum of seven to eight crew members. The training section schedules different team members to be evenly distributed for chamber flight positions.

High Altitude Airdrop Mission Support members are assigned to accompany aircrew on special assignment airlift missions. HAAMS missions can vary from jumpers parachuting from altitudes of 35,000 feet to munitions being drop. Members who are assigned to this team must monitor hypoxia and decompression sickness for aircrew and provide supplemental oxygen equipment.

Human Performance Training Team consists of an officer and an enlisted member whose purpose is to enhance duty performance for Team Fairchild. They evaluate areas of human performance and seek ways of improvement.

"We directly support high altitude airdrop missions, operating at the edge of the flight altitude envelope, delivering special operations forces and future weapons delivery systems. While conducting these missions, we operate as the tip of our Nation's Sword, as Sentry and Avenger! We will not falter, and we will not fail," said Colonel Byrne.