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PostPosted: Sat Mar 21, 2015 6:59 pm 
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I proposed this thread's topic as a question for Tom in the monthly Fireside Chat. Here's the background on why I ask this question - it has to do with the 'break-off phenomena' of high altitude pilots and astronauts.

"At first they thought it was asthma.

The fighter squadron's 37-year-old commander suddenly started refusing to fly at high altitudes because of mysterious breathing problems. He also struggled to control feelings of wrath toward his coworkers, and that made him hyperventilate. It was only later that the commander would tell a Navy psychologist what really triggered him: That while flying at the edge of the troposphere, "a frightening feeling of detachment" set in. There, in the halo of thin silence surrounding the earth in 1956, he didn’t trust his own mind not to self-destruct.

The atmosphere gets threadbare above 45,000 feet. There are fewer nitrogen and oxygen molecules to populate the air, the colors start to deepen and change. Higher than that, at roughly 70,000 feet, some pilots and engineers say you can grasp the curvature of the earth.

Strange things have happened to the human mind at those heights. A year after the commander reported his symptoms, a Navy medical officer and a psychologist published a study on a dissociative anomaly pilots experienced while flying at high altitudes. Brant Clark and Captain Ashton Graybiel interviewed 137 Navy and Marine pilots who had come up with a term for it themselves. The "break-off" phenomenon, they called it.

Not many pilots wanted to tell shrinks about break-off. Talking about your feelings was the opposite of what you were supposed to do as a hyper-masculine alpha pilot, and some refused to share their experiences for fear of sounding "corny."

A few pilots were willing to take that risk. Of the pilots that did report breaking-off, most felt peaceful, others totally euphoric. And then there was the other group. More than a third of the break-off pilots freaked out."

When they refer to 'freaked out' they are referring to paranormal episodes such as OBEs where the pilot would be sitting on the wing looking at themselves flying in the cockpit. Other pilots might end up talking to dead relatives. In the case of astronaut Edgar Mitchell, he focused on a point on Earth and suddenly had a remote viewing of people walking around at that spot.

Notice that the article only refers to "interviewed 137 Navy and Marine pilots". There are a LOT more Air Force pilots that engage in high altitude flying, however I could find no reference to figures for the Air Force (or Astronauts) being interviewed. I consider that a curious omission.

If 1/3 of high altitude pilots/astronauts are having paranormal experiences, then does decreased gravity have the effect of loosing the focus on the PMR experience?


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 21, 2015 9:21 pm 
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This is very interesting , Terry. Some pilots have lost consciousness and had Near death experiences. There is research on these issues. People in high altitudes like the Himalayas have also had OBEs and Near death experiences with OBEs.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 21, 2015 11:01 pm 
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There is a rule set and that is what is kicking in with the lack of oxygen. The oxygen starvation just makes a larger constraint in how the pilot processes the data stream. It is very alarming for people who never think about the possibility of a larger reality to start getting another data stream. They have no context in which to put this new information.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 21, 2015 11:51 pm 
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This phenomena is not an oxygen starvation issue. The pilots (and astronauts) are in pressurised environments (usually a suit) and are breathing oxygen. This is something else...

Gravity decreases as you move away from the mass. Here's a quick blub on gravity and height - http://www.madsci.org/posts/archives/19 ... .Ph.r.html

My intuition is telling me that this is the part of the rule set we need to be looking at.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2015 3:36 am 
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Terry,

I'm confused about some things. Are you intending to place yourself in those conditions and want to know how to be prepared? Is this like the mathematician that came on the board and insisted that since Tom Campbell had a theory of everything, that he should be able to provided him with a mathematical proof for some abstruse mathematical theorem. Likewise MBT has no special application to every twist and turn of the PMR rule set. I have never felt those conditions to then have any direct knowledge, and while Tom might have 'been there' in the OOB state, that could provide no insight as you would not then feel this effect. Is not science working on this question? I see no answer from theory. Nor a real reason to care. People have been on the International Space Station in zero gravity for very extended periods. Various reactions are described, not the same reaction for everyone. So all in all, I don't get the question or its significance.

Ted


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2015 8:06 am 
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OK Terry, so it is not a lax of oxygen. But the body is still under a lot of abnormal stress which could cause a change in focus from just the PMR data stream to another data stream. It seems that that change of focus is what is freaking pilots out. They are used to only paying attention to the PMR data stream and blocking everything else out. I would guess that none of them pay much attention to their dreams either. It is a very linear look at reality. If they get confronted with something else in their normal life they just ignore it. In that confined space with such a tight focus, it is hard for them to ignore a partial data stream change. And having no idea of a larger reality they just have no context in which to filter that experience.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2015 11:52 am 
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Terry,

The "break-off" phenomena sounds similar to the "overview effect" as described by Edgar Mitchell and some other astronauts in Steve Volk's excellent book, Fringe-ology: How I Tried to Explain Away the Unexplainable-And Couldn't. The "overview effect" was described as a new awareness and sense of unity brought on by seeing a significant portion of the globe from orbit.

It seems doubtful to me that a gravitational field would have any effect on perception or consciousness. In fact there is a common misconception that the occupants of orbiting spacecraft exist in zero gravity. The weightless condition inside an orbiting spacecraft is a result of perpetual free-fall over the earth's horizon; it is not the result of an absence of gravitational force. In fact the gravitational force is what keeps the orbiting spacecraft from flying off into interplanetary space. While it is true that the gravitational force is diminished at the altitudes where orbiting spacecraft operate according to the inverse square law, the diminution of the gravitational force at the altitudes attainable by winged aircraft is all but negligible.

My guess would be that some pilots of high-altitude aircraft (as well as astronauts) may enter an altered state of consciousness brought on by the absence of familiar visual cues. Gazing out of the windows would reveal nothing that can be referenced to ordinary land-based visual perceptions. Sense of distance and scale would be lost. The only sounds would be those generated by the machinery of the craft and life support hardware. The overall experience would probably be similar to that of being in a sensory deprivation chamber.

~ Icarus


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2015 1:39 pm 
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Quote:
Terry,

I'm confused about some things. Are you intending to place yourself in those conditions and want to know how to be prepared? Is this like the mathematician that came on the board and insisted that since Tom Campbell had a theory of everything, that he should be able to provided him with a mathematical proof for some abstruse mathematical theorem. Likewise MBT has no special application to every twist and turn of the PMR rule set. I have never felt those conditions to then have any direct knowledge, and while Tom might have 'been there' in the OOB state, that could provide no insight as you would not then feel this effect. Is not science working on this question? I see no answer from theory. Nor a real reason to care. People have been on the International Space Station in zero gravity for very extended periods. Various reactions are described, not the same reaction for everyone. So all in all, I don't get the question or its significance.

Ted
Ted, I'm trying to connect some dots on another issue. I figure since Tom is a physicist that was/is involved in consciousness research he may already know the answer. I remember the story where he put his head inside a big magnetic field to see what happened (headache for two weeks as I recall).


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2015 1:46 pm 
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Pulling Gs: The Pilot's Body Sets the Limits
By Ensign Eric Page, U.S. Navy

In April 2007 Blue Angels pilot Lieutenant Commander Kevin Davis went down in his F/A-18 Hornet during a maneuver in an air show held over Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, South Carolina. He was killed in the crash, and the ensuing investigation led officials to conclude that Lieutenant Commander Davis had suffered a blackout due to a brief loss in “situational awareness” while pulling his aircraft into a particularly tight turn. In other words, it was not the aircraft, but Lieutenant Commander Davis’ physiological response, that probably led to his fatal crash. The greatest limiting factor in military combat aircraft is the pilot. Today’s planes fly faster, higher, and farther than ever before, yet the human body still has maximum force and endurance thresholds that cannot be increased. One of the body’s most critical deficiencies is its inability to tolerate high inertial forces, or G-forces. These are the acceleration or deceleration forces that the body experiences when its path of motion changes. Fortunately, the body is capable of adapting to G-forces—to a point.

The first documented air incident that was attributed to Gforces occurred in 1918, when the pilot of a Sopwith Triplane passed out in a tight turn. At the time these forces were not well understood, primarily because they had never before been experienced. Pilots such as Lieutenant Commander Davis face
far more extreme “G-loads” than those pioneering pilots. Commander William Earl Fannin, Class of 1945, Capstone Essay Contest The greater the aircraft’s maneuverability, the more the pilot needs to do to counteract the physiological effects of high inertial forces.

Witnesses reported seeing Davis’ jet appear to sink too low following a tight, high-speed turn and ultimately crash into the tree line. The 15 January 2008 Pensacola News Journal reported on the investigation of the event and cited the cause of the accident from the Judge Advocate General Manual Investigation report: “LCDR Davis’ failure to perform a proper anti-G straining maneuver resulted in him suffering possible physiological effects that contributed to his loss of situational awareness of his rate of descent and ultimately a controlled flight into the terrain.”

What does “anti-G straining maneuver” mean? In the plainest terms, it involves simply performing flexing exercises during a high-G episode to prevent blood from pooling in the legs and keep it moving to the brain.

G-forces refers to the force acting on an object that resists change to motion and is related to the normal pull of gravity on the body. Thus, 1 G equals the force one would feel on a constant trajectory without any change in speed; 2 Gs equals the feeling of double the force of gravity, and so on. Gs can be either positive or negative. Positive Gs are experienced when the change in motion relative to the body is upward, and negative Gs are experienced when the change in relative motion is downward.

While every aviator’s body is different, G-forces affect the same physiological systems in everyone, and therefore there are roughly defined limits to their tolerance. With the onset of a higher-than-normal G-force, a well documented chain of physiological events occurs in the body. If the load is experienced in the positive direction, one’s body feels like the force of gravity pulling down on it is increasing. This increased force pulls blood from the upper body and causes it to pool in the legs. The lack of blood and oxygen to the brain results in very serious physical consequences if the load is experienced for more than an instant. The First Sign The first indication of an unsafe G-load is known as a brown- or gray-out. In this case, the aviator’s vision loses its color capacity. If the force or duration of the G-load is increased, a loss of peripheral vision called tunnel vision occurs. If the loading or duration continues to increase, a blackout occurs.

In a blackout, the aviator remains conscious and has full control of his other functions, but completely loses his sight. This may have happened to Lieutenant Commander Davis before he crashed. The last stage of the human body’s reaction to G-forces is called gravity-induced loss of consciousness, or G-LOC. This stage occurs if the initial force or the total duration of the force is greater than that of the blackout stage. This is an extremely dangerous situation as it requires an average of 15 seconds to recover consciousness and also results in another 15 to 30 seconds of disorientation. To have a jet aircraft out of control for that length of time nearly always results in a crash.

By contrast to the positive, downward G-forces, an aviator can also experience negative Gs, in which the body feels gravity being reversed, or being pulled upward. During negative Gs, blood is forced into the head, causing a “red-out.” This increase in pressure can rupture capillaries in the eyes and face and can be extremely painful. The body can tolerate many more positive than negative Gs, with the average, unaided person experiencing G-LOC at 5 Gs. A trained pilot can withstand up to 9 Gs for a short period before G-LOC. However, regardless of training, a pilot will “red-out” after only 2.5-3 negative Gs. This disparity has a significant impact on how a plane is flown.

Flying Flat Is it easier to deal with G-forces while flying vertically or horizontally? Much of the data here has dealt with a G-load in the vertical plane, given that most aviators in a dogfight are required to change altitude rapidly. Human physiology, however, has the lowest tolerance to increased Gs in that
direction. G-forces that are experienced in the horizontal plane have relatively little effect on the body. This holds true up to loads of around 40 Gs (though this is substantially a greater G-load than any plane can handle, and would make the structural integrity the limiting factor— and render the experiment moot). The space shuttle exploits horizontal versus vertical Gloads. It orients astronauts in the prone position at takeoff, so that they can accelerate the vehicle to orbital velocity while remaining conscious. An earlier experimental effort to reduce the effects of vertical G-forces had less success.

In 1945 Northrop unveiled the XP-79B flying wing fighter aircraft, also known as the “Flying Ram,” which the pilot flew while prone. After a series of unsuccessful tests, it ended on the scrap heap. How to get around the risks of pulling Gs? Given that technology has and will continue to outpace the human body’s capacity to adapt, it’s unsurprising that physiology has turned out to be aviation’s greatest limiting factor. But there are some natural and artificial ways for military aviators to increase their vertical G-load tolerance.

A common natural technique is the Anti-G Straining Maneuver, which Lieutenant Commander Davis is thought not to have used prior to his crash. The current Navy variant is known as the “Hook” maneuver—an adaptation of the Air Force’s L-1 maneuver. The Navy version involves a three-second tensing of major muscle groups in the legs, arms and lower abdomen, combined with a 0.5-second period of quick short breaths. The current technique involves closing the glottis (the space between the vocal chords) during the strain. Students are taught to say the word “hook” or “hic” as they begin to strain to ensure a completely closed throat during the maneuver. The Hook gives the pilot a little over 1 G of tolerance.

The G-Suit, Then and Now The G-suit, in one form or another, has been around for a long time. The earliest contrivance consisted of a water-filled coverall invented by Dr. Wilbur Franks in 1939. A version of the Franks suit was first fielded by British aviators in World War II. The modern G-suit consists of a series of pneumatic bladders that inflate during high-G flight, in order to force blood from the legs to the brain. It’s capable of allowing aviators slightly more than 1 G of additional tolerance.

In addition to the suits, some aircraft have forced breathing systems to decrease the amount of effort necessary to fly at high-Gs for a prolonged period of time. Some flying techniques are designed to modify the G-load. Since negative vertical Gs are much less tolerable than positive vertical Gs, some maneuvers can be used, such as inverted flight, to transpose the negative Gs into positive ones. Since Gforces are experienced relative to the change in direction of motion, rolling the aircraft 180 degrees will give an inverse G feeling. This technique is used in the split-s maneuver, as opposed to a normal, turning descent. An upright, turning descent would not be able to be executed as dynamically as the split-s because of the negative Gs involved.

Ultimately, there is just so much an aviator can do to reduce the effects of Gforces in flight—maneuvers like inverted flight, to transpose negative Gs to positive ones, performing the Hook, or strapping into his G-suit. Barring a radical change in the ways planes are esigned, the most difficult stress that aviators will have to overcome will be either positive or negative Gs in the vertical plane. The current maximum force that a body can stand remains only about 9 positive and 3 negative Gs. No matter how much faster, higher, and farther the planes can fly, the pilot’s still only human.
http://www.usni.org/userfiles/file/%20S ... t%2008.pdf


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2015 2:43 pm 
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In conclusión: G forces are very difficult to manage, you have to be very well trained, be an expert and have an optimum functioning organism.

Many pilots get killed due to the effects of G forces.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2015 3:58 pm 
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I'm a former military aviator, I know about black-outs and red-outs - this phenomena is not related to pulling Gs.

I couldn't find any information about the effect of gravity on consciousness, but maybe Tom might know. It may be that the break-off phenomena has no connection to a decrease in the gravitational field.

It's also interesting that in trying to find further information, the initial Navy and Marine report from the 1950's seems to be the last time the phenomena was publically discussed.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2015 4:17 pm 
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It's also interesting that in trying to find further information, the initial Navy and Marine report from the 1950's seems to be the last time the phenomena was publically discussed.
I would say that it is not only interesting but that it is significant.
Attachment:
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I think that it is also significant that you can't readily find more information about things like the above.

To read any more, you will have to go to their site which is set up as one large graphic so you cannot copy any of the text. This was copied with the screen 'snipping tool'.

http://mysteriousuniverse.org/2012/04/s ... pocalypse/

Ted


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2015 5:00 pm 
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So, 6 cosmonauts share the same 'delusion' - good find Ted.

I only found one Air Force paper on it in 1965 and they were trying to characterise the phenomena in traditional psychiatric terms, ie: anxiety - LOL

No mention of paranormal episodes, just something that 'unstable' individuals were more prone to. Here's the link - http://archpsyc.jamanetwork.com/article ... eid=488890

There is a reference in the paper to keeping the aviator's mind busy as being an aid to preventing it, but they also mention that reducing altitude could alleviate it.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2015 5:40 pm 
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Terry, you obviously know more than all of us.

Could you tell us a little about your personal experience with black outs?

(I don t know what red-outs are)


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2015 6:25 pm 
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We had the information as part of our training. However, I was flying helicopters and the wing loading of a helicopter is generally not sufficient to bring on a black-out. I have had a few encounters with brown-outs where I started to loose my peripheral vision.

A red-out is where you pull negative Gs, like going over the top of a loop without inverting. Instead of a lack of oxygen, the blood rushes to your head. They are much easier to induce at lower G rates. That's why pilots roll into a 'split S' or 'wing-over' in order to keep positive Gs on their body.

The 1965 article incorporates much of the research from the original 1957 article, but the tone of it sounds like a 'limited hang-out' type of article. Yes, such a phenomena exists, but it is just an anxiety reaction by unstable individuals. You can imagine what a 'chilling effect' such an article would have in the ranks of the pilots. Keep your mouth shut about this or you may end up grounded. That would work better to keep a lid on discussion than a directive from authority not to discuss it.


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