HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah , Jan. 11, 2006 – A new earpiece is about to be implemented among Hill's F-16 pilots affording them better hearing protection and an improved mission focus.
The 4th Fighter Squadron's "Fighting Fuujins" will receive the new Attenuating Custom Communication Earpiece System this month. The earpiece was developed at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base by the Battle Space Acoustics Department. The Department is part of the Air Force Research Laboratory's Human Effectiveness Directorate.
"The new system should increase communication intelligibility for our pilots," said Capt. Eydin Hansen, Aerospace physiologist with the 75th Aerospace Medicine Squadron. "Currently the pilots are using foam earplugs and headsets with speakers that offer 8-12 decibels of protection, while sacrificing communication intelligibility."
Currently, pilots are having a hard time hearing tones, many associated with air traffic controllers and ground-based controllers.
The new earplug system costs less than $600 per person and is made from deep ear canal impressions from the pilots.
It has a speaker system giving the pilots something similar to that used with an iPod, ultimately providing better clarity while giving them 25 to 30 decibels of protection. This technology was initially designed for the ground crews and then adapted for the state-of-the-art F-22A Raptor.