Dos and Don’ts: Aerial Medical Unit Looks for Answers Dos and Don’ts: Aerial Medical Unit Looks for Answers Dos and Don’ts: Aerial Medical Unit Looks for Answers Dos and Don’ts: Aerial Medical Unit Looks for Answers The Aerial Medical Unit stands by the aerial teams from the very beginning of the process: During classification stages, the actual Pilot Course and the operational flights. The unit is in charge of solving medical dilemmas- which medicine could be taken during a flight, what’s the appropriate altitude that pilots can reach, and can a woman aviate while pregnant?

Shir Golan | Translation: Loren Mashiah

Aerial Unit members spend long hours up in the sky and tend to ignore the fact that it’s not their natural environment. During flight they are exposed to extreme occurrences which have direct influence on their body. People of the Aerial Medical Unit are responsible of the pilot’s well being during the different missions.

In many countries around the world the aerial medical domain is a formal profession. In Israel, aerial medicine is a very exclusive and unique field which was developed behind the doors of the IAF’s Aerial Medical unit. Throughout the years, the unit has been training and qualifying IAF doctors in Physiology and other medical subjects.

“In military aviation, the pilots are exposed to extreme physiological situations that can influence the human body: G Force, losing conscious due to lack of oxygen (hypoxia), altitude sickness, or increase and decrease in pressures and vibrations”, explains Major Dr. Barak Gordon, Commander of the Aerial Medical clinic. “Our job is to know the medical problems inside and out; how they are caused, how they affect the pilots and how we can avoid them. What seems simple on land gets a whole different meaning up in the air. If you get pain that distracts you while maneuvering the aviation stick you are putting yourself, your team, the plane and the mission in great danger.”

Pregnant Pilots- Is it possible?
Aviated doctors face complex medical dilemmas every day. Until what age could a pilot aviate? When can an injured aerial team member get back into action? How does the changing strategic environment affect flights? “During the recent wars we understood that we’d have to fly differently because of diverse threats. The implication is that our pilots will have to fly in high altitudes and to get assistance from an oxygen mask. The Aerial Medical Unit should have found a different solution to flying in these heights”, says Commander of the Aerial Medical unit, Lieutenant Colonel Dr. Yuval.

“The world keeps on changing; we have to in sync ourselves to modern life. For example in the past the age of discharge from reserve duty for women was 25, nowadays, its stands on 31. We were asked to give a formal answer to the whole dilemma of flying while pregnant: staring with overall sizes, what aircraft their allowed to aviate on and how does G force affect
the embryo”.