Thermal Stress and Human Responses Associated with Litter Position on the C-141 Starlifter and the C-17 Globemaster III


Name: Cindy LeMay

Rank: Maj, USAF

Organization: The Geneva Foundation

Performance Site: 59th Medical Wing, Lackland AFB, TX; 455th Aeromedical Evaucation Squadron, Wright Patterson AFB, OH; 514th & 714th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadrons, McGuire AFB, OH

Year Published: 2000

Abstract Status: Final


In 1999 there were over 2,500 acute and critically ill patients transported from outside the US in the USAF Aeromedical Evacuation system. The primary aircraft for this transport is the C-141B "Starlifter", which is a cargo aircraft that can be configured for aeromedical evacuation. Because it is a cargo aircraft temperature control is problematic. Many of the patients transported are highly sensitive to changes in the thermal environment because of their injury or illness. There are no studies regarding the thermal environment on the C-141 as it relates to aeromedical transport. Thus, no systematic recommendations for patient assessment or individualization of care through selective placement on the aircraft for these high-risk patients. The purpose of this study is to describe the thermal environment of ten different areas commonly used for patient care on the C-141 when configured for aeromedical evacuation. The specific aims are to determine if on a C-141B configured for aeromedical transport if there is a differences in the following variables based on the position of the litter or seat: (1) the thermal microenvironment, (2) human responses as indicated by skin temperature and auricular canal temperature and (3) the subjective reports of thermal comfort and thermal sensation. Using randomized assignment to one of ten areas on the C-141B aircraft configured for aeromedical evacuation (determined by litter or seat placement), the ambient environment as defined by ambient temperature (wet globe, dry globe temperatures), airflow velocity, and radiant heat exchange (black globe thermometer) will be studied. In addition, the human responses to the environment as defined by core temperature (auricular canal), skin temperature, and subjective reports of thermal sensation and thermal comfort will be assessed. A repeated measures analysis of variance will be used to analyze the differences in environmental and human responses based on position in the aircraft. Pearson's product moment coefficient will be used to test for relationship between the thermal environment and the human responses to the environment.


Final report is available on NTRL: