Development of an Advanced High Altitude Flight Suit 880998
ILC Dover, Inc. under contract to the United States Air Force Human Systems Division (AFSC) has developed a prototype laboratory test garment known as the “Advanced High Altitude Flight Suit” (AHAFS). The suit incorporates technologies first developed for NASA with the Apollo and Shuttle programs, but optimized in their present iteration for long term uninflated wear (as emergency decompression protection) in pressurized aircraft cockpits. The program has additionally attempted to achieve better mobility in the pressurized state by defining and systematically addressing a specified mobility envelope. Related construction techniques employ single and double axis “soft” joints, which can be engineered to permit full access to existing or contemplated cockpit designs. Proper balancing of wall tensions across these joints has resulted in lower suit loads, increased mobility, and established the feasibility of a higher suit operating pressure (5 psi). The AHAFS demonstrates that greater utility, comfort, and higher standards of decompression sickness protection can be attained by systematic attention to pressure suit joint design.