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 T-38 Cockpit Accommodation:  Analytical Techniques

Hudson, Jeffrey A.
Sytronics, Inc.
Dayton, OH

Kennedy, Kenneth W., Ph.D.
Yellow Springs, OH

Zehner, Gregory F.
Air Force Research Laboratory
Wright-Patterson AFB, OH

Dixon, David A.
Dayton, OH



            "New training aircraft are being designed to accommodate 97% of the potential pilot population.  This will allow entrance to pilots with statures ranging from 4 10 to 6 5.  Given body sizes of these extremes, determining their accommodation in subsequent aircraft assignment is essential.  While the entire Air Force inventory is slated to be evaluated (and is in progress) the accommodation analysis for the first aircraft, the T-38, has been completed.  Subjects were placed in both fore and aft cockpits to evaluate the following:  1) ability to reach and operate controls, 2) vision over the nose, and 3) shin-panel, thigh-stick, and head-canopy clearance distances.  The results were used to generate regression models, using anthropometric measures, to predict the ability of cases in a potential pilot population to simultaneously assure adequate vision and reach to controls.  A series of regression models to predict reach, each with different combinations of anthropometric measures, were tested against one other.  A regression model using Span and Sitting Acromion Height proved to have the best combination of simplicity and predictive accuracy.  To determine accommodation for a case, an algorithm was designed that finds the lowest seat position possible that still allows adequate vision.  From this position the ability to operate rudders and reach other critical controls is determined.  Originally, the accommodation results were startling low for females (5%), and for males only about one half were accommodated (55.3%). The draft  requirements of, 1) Stick Positions - Full Forward and Left, - Full Forward, and 2) the reach to the Canopy Jettison T-handle were primarily responsible for this disaccommodation.  AETC, however, has since evaluated and removed them from the requirement list.  Without the extreme stick positions and reach to canopy jettison the accommodation increases to 69.4%  for females and to 94.1% for males in the front cockpit. 


  Detailed flow chart for Accommodation Algorithm:  1) adequate vision, 2) adequate reach to     rudders, 3) adequate reach to controls.

  Body diagram showing anthropometric measures used


  Control Requirement List and their Predictive Regression Equations (to determine Pass/Fail for each control)

  Minimum anthropometric measures for each control interface

  Gender specific accommodation percentages using a potential pilot population


            .  Regression:  T-38 Over the Nose Vision vs. Eye Height Sitting

  Regression:  T-38 Rudder Miss/Excess vs. ComboLeg (Buttock Knee Length + Knee Height Sitting)

  Span vs. Sitting Acromion Height (gender specific, showing accommodate disaccommodated cases of potential pilot population)" 

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