How High Temperature Increase Thermal Stress of a Pilot?

Jet pilots are exposed to many stresses when in the cockpit seat from things like hypoxia or cabin pressure when they take flight. With each risk, manufacturers and engineers have constructed solutions to combat these risks and mitigate discomfort caused by them. Thermal stress in the cockpit is one of the most predominant issues. While the aircraft does have an environmental control system, temperatures, especially in tropical areas can still rise inside the cockpit, and have been recorded to exceed 113 F.

Such high temperatures, coupled with humidity and the aerodynamic heating of the aircraft's external surfaces can result in physical strain and mental degradation to the point that pilots can begin to lose focus. Similarly, low temperatures can also affect the pilot, especially during low speed flights and high altitudes. Rapidly decreasing temperatures can make the pilot experience mild to severe cold stress.

One such study conducted by Janardhana Shetty, Craig P Lawson, and Amir Z Shahneh of Cranfield University has determined that there may be a way to better control temperatures. In this study, scientists have reiterated that the cockpit thermal balance is influenced largely by heat sources dominated by the speed of the aircraft, ambient temperature, altitudes, and the structural geometry of the cockpit. The solution for this they proposed is to maintain cockpit pressure and temperature for the entirety of the flight. In a case study, they saw that the right temperature was achieved as long as the right amount of pressurized air was being pulled from the engine compressor.


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