Physiological and psychological effects of heat stress simulating cockpit conditions

S. A. Nunneley, P. J. Dowd, L. G. Myhre, R. F. Stribley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


It is generally accepted that physiologically tolerable heat stress can adversely affect human performance, but it is difficult to predict the impact of a specific environment. Experiments were designed to determine the effects of thermal conditions similar to those occurring in aircraft cockpits in warm climates, where both high air temperatures and radiant heat play important roles. Subjects (n=13) were exposed to heat for 2 h, had a 30-min break, then repeated the exposure. Conditions were T(db)=35°C and T(wb)=26°C, with or without use of infrared lamps which raised globe temperature to 47°C. Measurements included skin, rectal, and esophageal temperatures, heart rate, weight loss, and hematocrit. Subjective Fatigue Estimates (SFE) and Repetitive Psychometric Measures (RPM) were performed before, during, and after each heat stress. Both thermal conditions were physiologically compensable but induced marked subjective fatigue and altered the learning curve for some subtests of the RPM. Similar conditions in aircraft can be associated with impaired performance, particularly in new or emergency situations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)763-767
Number of pages5
JournalAviation Space and Environmental Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1978
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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