Sunday, September 27, 2015

University of British Columbia study looks at wildfire pilot safety

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Hundreds of pilots put their lives on the line this summer battling the 6,669 wildfires sparked across the province. A new study in partnership with UBC is looking to make things safer for them in the future.

The study will look into pilot fatigue and workload when fighting a fire.

Chris McNeil with UBC’s Health and Exercise Sciences says right now, all the current research comes from commercial airlines, but that’s not good enough for wildfire pilots.

“The working conditions for them are clearly very different to someone flying a plane that is dropping retardant on a forest fire. Hand flying is the way they term it so they are continually doing loops and they are changing directions, all these things all the time.”

McNeil notes it’s not just the amount of time they spend in the air that is worrying, but the conditions. “The more stressful a situation, the harder it is mentally and then you add different tasks. The wind conditions are changing constantly, you have smoke that influence their vision. They are constantly getting feedback.”

The study will take another 18 months and will help develop a program to provide new levels of safety.

Hundreds of pilots put their lives on the line this summer battling BC wildfires. A new UBC study is looking to make things safer for them in the air.

Source:  http://www.news1130.com

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