Preventing G-induced loss of consciousness: 20 years of operational experience.Aviat Space Environ Med. 2004 Feb; 75(2):150-3.AS
Although anecdotal reports of G-induced loss of consciousness (G-LOC) in military aviation date back to before 1920, regular reporting did not begin until 1982. The effectiveness in the operational setting of G-LOC preventive measures, such as positive pressure breathing for G protection (PBG), has not been studied.
We use the term "crash" to represent an event where the aircraft was destroyed and "incident" to define those events where the crew reported a G-LOC episode and the aircraft was not damaged. Data on G-LOC crashes, incidents, and aircraft sorties (number of take-offs) were obtained from the USAF Safety Center database for FY 82-01.
During FY 82-01, there were 29 G-LOC crashes while those aircraft at risk of G-LOC crashes flew a total of 13,959,816 sorties. Poisson regression showed a non-significant decrease in crashes with an incidence rate ratio (IRR) of 0.096 (CI 0.89-1.03) (4% per yr). G-LOC crashes decreased from 4.4 per million flight sorties (PMFS) to 1.6 after the implementation of anti-G-LOC training programs beginning in 1985. However, G-LOC crashes remained unchanged after implementation of PBG in 1995. In contrast, incidents showed an IRR of 1.04 (CI 1.02-1.06) for G-LOC incidents, an estimated increase of 5% per yr.
The physical/mechanical limitations of PBG, risk homeostasis, and the possibility that G-LOC rates have reached their asymptotic minimum are all discussed as possible explanations for the failure of PBG to decrease G-LOC crashes.