Spinal X-ray screening of high performance fighter pilots

Aviat Space Environ Med. 1991 Dec;62(12):1171-3.


Neck pain and neck injury are common complaints among military aviators flying high performance (HPF) aircraft. Since all candidates for military flying training with the Royal Norwegian Air Force have to meet HPF medical standards, medical selection procedures include a radiological examination of the spine. Nine films of the vertebral column are made with emphasis put on cervical structures. Among 232 applicants, 527 deviations from normal conditions were described--anomalies, degenerative changes and deviations of posture--which average 2.27 diagnoses per spine X-rayed. Of the candidates, 80 were considered entirely within normal limits; 20 were rejected due to the roentgen findings; and five candidates were excluded on final evaluation, their radiological diagnoses contributing to the decision. Although most changes are slight, many significant conditions are demonstrated among young healthy individuals. Since the population is highly selected, the figures we present may be minimum numbers in a western industralized society.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aerospace Medicine
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Military Personnel*
  • Radiography
  • Spinal Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Spine / abnormalities
  • Spine / diagnostic imaging*