News>High-altitude chamber replaced by new mask for Iraqi air force
Brig. Gen. Anthony Rock makes minor flight corrections using the control stick during a demonstration of the Iraqi air force's first reduced oxygen breathing device March 14, 2011,in Baghdad. The ROBD2 is the second generation of a device invented and patented by the Navy designed to take the place of the altitude chamber for pilot refresher training. General Rock is the 321st Air Expeditionary Wing commander and Iraq Training and Advisory Mission-Air director. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Randy Redman)
Tech. Sgt. Pierre Nelson and Tech. Sgt. Jennifer Flecker tighten the straps on the face mask for Brig. Gen. Anthony Rock as part of a demonstration of the Iraqi Air Force's first Reduced Oxygen Breathing Device March 14, 2011, in Baghdad. Sergeants Nelson and Flecker are aerospace operational physiology technicians deployed to teach the Iraqi Airman to use the device, which is designed to take the place of the altitude chamber for pilot refresher training. General Rock is the 321st Air Expeditionary Wing commander and Iraq Training and Advisory Mission-Air director. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Randy Redman)
Tech. Sgt. Jennifer Flecker prepares Iraq's first reduced oxygen breathing device for a demonstration March 14, 2011, in Bagdhad. Sergeant Flecker is an aerospace operational physiology technician deployed to teach Iraqi airmen to use the device, which is designed to take the place of the altitude chamber for pilot refresher training. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Randy Redman)
by Tech. Sgt. Randy Redman
321st Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
3/17/2011 - BAGHDAD (AFNS) -- A team of aerospace physiologists from several Air Force installations are here to help the Iraqi air force install and train with its newest piece of training equipment.
The team held a demonstration March 14 to showcase how the device will assist in training, as well as save time and money in the years to come.
The reduced oxygen breathing device-second generation, or ROBD2, was invented and patented by Navy engineers.
According to the Naval Medical Research Center, the ROBD2 dilutes the oxygen present in air to concentrations below 21 percent by mixing the air with nitrogen. The purpose of this dilution is to simulate the reduced oxygen concentration available as one ascends in altitude.
The newly developed system is designed to take the place of the altitude chamber for refresher training according to Tech. Sgt. Jennifer Flecker, a 7th Aeromedical Squadron aerospace operational physiology technician.
"This machine reduces the risk of decompression sickness because it doesn't affect the entire body," Sergeant Flecker said. She added that all pilots and aircrew members will continue to go to an actual altitude chamber for initial training to fully understand what can happen to a pilot during an emergency.
The ROBD2 is unique from previous devices in that it uses sophisticated gas regulating devices known as mass flow controllers, she said. The ROBD2 also employs a gas-extraction device as an independent component of the system that can separate nitrogen gas from air for use in the device.
Currently, the Air Force, Navy and Army use the ROBD2 for refresher training in various configurations. The device here is connected to commercially available flight-simulator software and has multiple aircraft already loaded in the system, such as the T-6 Texan, C-130 Hercules and King Air 350. It is possible to download additional aircraft, such as the F-16 Fighting Falcon, if the need arises.
The U.S. Air Force was able to procure two devices for use by the Iraqi air force. The first device will remain here, while the second will be installed at Tikrit, Iraq, to aid with training there. Since neither pilots nor aircrew will have to travel for refresher training every five years, they estimate the TDY savings per member to be roughly $4,000.
Lt. Col. Brenda Cook, an Air Education and Training Command aerospace physiologist, and Tech. Sgt. Pierre Nelson, an Air Force Global Strike Command aerospace operational physiology technician, make up the rest of the team.
After seeing a recent demonstration, Brig. Gen. Anthony Rock, the 321st Air Expeditionary Wing commander and Iraq Training and Advisory Mission-Air director, said he expected the equipment would save money and lives.
"I am convinced this equipment will save lives," General Rock said. "That it will ensure a child will grow up with a father, and it will ensure that Iraqi aviation resources are used wisely."