Evaluation of the Helicopter Emergency Breathing Apparatus on Egress Performance

Emergency helicopter landing at sea is dangerous. Specialized training, known as helicopter underwater escape training (HUET), prepares occupants to quickly exit the helicopter, which often inverts and sinks. In most jurisdictions, helicopter occupants are equipped with a helicopter underwater egress breathing apparatus (HUEBA) to provide sufficient air for escape. HUET trainees report that the HUEBA is easy to use, but it is well known that learners are often overconfident in their judgement of learning. To better understand how the HUEBA affects HUET sequence performance, the authors investigated whether using the HUEBA influences the sequence movement time and number of errors. Twelve participants (7 men and 5 women, mean age 25.33 9.57 SD) with no prior experience with HUET performed consecutive trials of the HUET sequence, 5 with the HUEBA and 5 without the HUEBA. Video of each trial recorded the total movement time and enabled movement time analyses of each component of the sequence: crossing arms, tucking the head, pushing the window, inserting the regulator, and releasing the seatbelt. These recordings were also used to score performance errors according to a checklist. Analyses revealed that using a HUEBA increased the total movement time and time to release the seatbelt by 0.36 and 0.39 s, respectively, in comparison to without the HUEBA. This study illustrates that using the HUEBA during the HUET sequence increases total movement time and time to release the seatbelt. However, this difference is marginal and unlikely to have practical significance during underwater escape.


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  • Accession Number: 01759996
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Nov 30 2020 11:32AM