JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas –
Airmen from the Headquarters Air Force Aircrew Task Force and contractors from the Airmen Accommodation Laboratory conducted an anthropometric study at the 433rd Airlift Wing at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland from Feb. 28 to March 4 to determine new height and stature measurements for career enlisted aviator positions on a C-5M Super Galaxy aircraft.
Currently, Air Force aviator applicants who are outside the required height range need special screening to ensure they can safely perform operational duties.
The study is intended to open doors for applicants who do not meet current height requirements, which were last researched in the early 1990s, according to Master Sgt. Christopher Lewis, 356th Airlift Squadron instructor flight engineer.
Lewis worked with the anthropometric study program associates as the 433rd Airlift Wing liaison to organize a C-5M for use and local volunteers to participate in the study.
Volunteers performed multiple aircrew duties during the study. These tasks included sitting in the pilot’s chair, pulling and replacing the nose landing gear pin, and opening emergency doors and exits.
“When carrying out tasks in the aircraft, the aircraft manual states what the crew must do, but sometimes it does not state who necessarily does that action,” Lewis said. “Hopefully with this new study, they can see if the Air Force needs to designate a certain type of individual who can press that button or pull that lever.”
During the anthropometric study, Sarah Hollis, AAL lead engineer, recorded body measurements and conducted 3D body scans of volunteers.
Hollis took more than 40 different measurements of the test participants, which are then aligned with the participant’s performance on the actual aircraft.
“Originally, the career enlisted aviator positions height standards used to be over 5 feet 4 inches, and those were just arbitrary standards that were put in place based on pilot data collected in the 1990s, but we have seen individuals who can perform the job who are under the height requirement,” Hollis said.
Hollis and her team compiled the information to find new requirements for the career enlisted aviator positions.
“This will open up more opportunities to the population and make sure all aircraft are accommodating for aircrew,” Hollis said.
Master Sgt. Jason Kornhauser, HAF/ACTF special projects manager for air operations, supported the initiative by identifying which aircraft have career enlisted aviators, contacting major command functional managers to coordinate visits and providing any other support or resources the study required.
According to Kornhauser, requirements for the old career enlisted aviator positions eliminated 70% of the female population and 60% of the Asian and Hispanic population.
“The anthropometric study falls in line with Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr.’s diversity and inclusion initiatives,” Kornhauser said. “This will open the aperture for more people to have the opportunity to fly.”
The anthropometric study aims to update the previous requirements suited for each aircraft that will not discriminate against applicants because of their height.
Master Sgt. Joseph Klipp-Lockhart, HAF/ACTF flight attendant specialty manager, helped Kornhauser coordinate the C-5M for use and arranged volunteers and transportation to and from the 433rd AW flight line.
“In order for us to be competitive, we learned over time the more diverse we are, the better we are,” Klipp-Lockhart said. “This means making sure we bring more women into the fold and different ethnicities, so we can be a more diverse and agile force.”