The Aerial Medical Unit
The Aerial Medical Unit Just as parents sometimes “ground” their children and forbid them from leaving the house, the IAF takes care of its pilots and makes sure that only the ones that are fit for flight can take off. The Aerial Medical Unit attempted to find out: What are the main reasons for grounding pilots?
Michal Weissbrod and Itay Itamar
The IAF focuses tremendous effort in order to train its pilots: three difficult years of ground training, challenging flights and academics. Three years of instability that concludes in one emotional moment in front of the nation’s president, Commander of the IAF and family and friends – receiving the flight wings.
After all that hard work, it’s unsurprising that the Aerial Medical Unit does everything it can to keep the pilots safe and well and not give up on any of the flight crew members.
“We really tailor our services to every person”, explains Major Alon Grossman, Commander of the Aerial Clinic. “We go out of our way, literally, so people can get back into the cockpit. Even people that have experienced heart or chamber murmurs, we make every effort to help them come back, perhaps with limitations. But first and foremost, we’re challenged with the security of the people and the mission”.
In the past years, the Aerial Medical Unit has been conducting research in order to try and find what the Force’s main reasons are for grounding: What causes pilots to stop flying?
“At the end of the day, we discovered that the main reason in the IAF for grounding is leisurely activity”, reveals Major Grossman. “Not illness, not car or aerial accidents, but leisurely activities-the vast majority of which are sports like basketball and skiing”.
The research, which included people who have been grounded for longer than six weeks, showed that sport injuries cause air crew members long absences from flights. The most common cause aside from leisure injuries was car accidents, only then followed by illness.