June 28, 2016
The Free Flight Physiology Project Team in Karakorum, Pakistan is using Hexoskin to monitor their vitals when they fly over the countryside. Dr Matt Wilkes and this team from the Centre for Altitude, Space and Extreme Environment Medicine from the Institute of Sport Exercise & Heath (London, UK) are getting their gear ready for the Red Bull paragliding team later this year, but also to conduct serious research on physiology in altitude. They also took amazing pictures and video of their experience!
Here's more information about their project:
Paragliding is an air sport that has developed over the last 40 years into one of the most widely practiced forms of free flight. There are an estimated 127,000 active paraglider pilots worldwide.
Flights of over 100km across country are regularly made, using dynamic (soaring) lift and thermal updrafts, with the current open distance record standing at 514km. Paraglider pilots have flown from the summit of Everest, ascended in thermals to over 7,000m and gained as much as 4,526m of altitude in a single flight. (...)
Successful flying requires good physical coordination but is also cognitively demanding, for example: reading the landscape for thermal triggers and calculate glide angles, while remaining sufficiently spatially aware to pilot a craft though an invisible three-dimensional air mass, often containing other gliders in close proximity; in cold, hypoxic, ever-changing and sometimes intimidating conditions. (...)
Paragliding has become much safer over time but remains a high-risk pursuit. Most accidents are secondary to errors of piloting or judgement, rather than equipment failure. When accidents do occur, the consequences are often severe or fatal. Understanding the physiological demands on placed on pilots is therefore key to establishing systems to prevent injury or loss of life."