The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD) is leading the Navy’s first comprehensive study since 1964 to update aviator size requirements, improve aircrew gear and equipment, and expand access for prospective future aviators. This historical study will include women and minorities, making it the first aircrew study of its kind.
Lori Basham, NAWCAD’s principal investigator for the study, said, “We are excited to launch this historic study that will improve the readiness, protection, performance, and safety for our Navy’s aviation community. Updating our data to accurately characterize our aircrew will address the needs of a population that is drastically different than it was in the 1960s.”
NAWCAD seeks participation from more than 4,000 active-duty, enlisted, and commissioned aviators, flight officers, and aircrews. The research team will measure these service members nationwide when they tour the Navy’s most populous air bases from May 9 through December 2023. The study requires 32 simple body measurements that include various heights, lengths, breadths, and circumferences that are relevant to aircrew. Researchers will remove personal information to protect participant privacy.
The Navy’s last anthropometric study was conducted in 1964 and did not include women and minorities. This new study will provide crucial information to equip the Navy better to outfit and protect its aircrew, regardless of size or shape.
Traditional anthropometric studies are expensive, historically costing between $6 and 14 million dollars in industry settings, depending on the scope of effort. Today, NAWCAD can perform its study almost entirely in-house, costing the Navy less than $2 million, due to the command’s advanced 3D scanning hardware and expertise as well as supportive technology and subject matter experts through other services and industry partnerships.
The updated data will provide the Navy with insights to improve its aircrew gear and equipment to fit the diverse range of personnel who serve as aviators. The study aims to improve the comfort, functionality, and effectiveness of aircrew gear and access to aircrew positions for prospective future aviators.
“The ability to recruit and retain aviators is critically important to the future of our Navy,” Basham said. “This study will help ensure that everyone who wants to serve as an aircrew member has the opportunity to do so.”
The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division employs more than 17,000 military, civilian, and contract personnel. It operates test ranges, laboratories, and aircraft to support the test, evaluation, research, development, and sustainment of everything flown by the Navy and Marine Corps. Based in Patuxent River, Maryland, the command also has significant sites in St. Inigoes, Maryland, Lakehurst, New Jersey, and Orlando, Florida.
For more information on the study or for participation coordination, contact Lt. Jennifer Knapp at firstname.lastname@example.org. For study technical questions, contact Lori Brattin Basham at email@example.com.