This film by Willard Pictures Inc., U.S. Navy Flight Surgeon, was made in 1951. This picture centers around naval flight surgeons; detailing the training requirements and what daily duties may be. It opens with the view of Corsair airplanes landing on an aircraft carrier. We watch as another plane crashes due to pilot error (:58) and are asked what the surgeon could have done to inhibit the crash. The US Navy’s slogan is to “keep as many men at as many guns for as many days as possible” (1:09) and here is where our surgeon comes in. Their job will be different in that they must become experts on the effects of flying on pilots. The film guides us to the beginning of the road at the Aviation School at Pensacola (1:58). The school being a US Naval base near Pensacola and Warrington, Florida and the primary training base for Marine Corps as well as Coast Guard. At school, students must learn to adapt their trade to the special circumstances of flight in which the lungs, circulatory system, vision and heart will behave differently at high altitudes and accelerations (2:18). Much of the equipment used is depicted such as the diluter demand oxygen regulator (2:35) which is designed to deliver undiluted oxygen under positive pressure. Before the students are able to graduate; in addition to the practical and theoretical knowledge learned, they will also have to fly. This will give them the well rounded approach necessary to understand what pilots will face daily. Then (3:54) the students will receive their wings, a symbolic pin received upon graduation. From school, we are shown the directions the graduate may take. At the time planes were just surpassing the speed of sound (4:45) and the study of acceleration may be one of those directions. They may be assigned to a lighter than air station or to test equipment, run experiments perhaps with a centrifuge (5:11). While in use the centrifuge tests the reaction and tolerance of pilots at greater accelerations than experienced on land. They could take part in improvements upon equipment such as the immersion suit (6:00) which safeguards the wearer from hypothermia in frigid waters. Graduates may also take part in various other studies including confidential assignments (6:10). Next we are directed to the Marine Corps Air Station in Cherry Point, NC (6:26); it’s slogan reading “Home of the Second Marine Air Wing”. The film follows one example graduate, Dr. Sewell, as he is first introduced to his squadron (7:19). He will live and work among these men very closely. His first and foremost duty will be the medical care of his men; issuing check ups (7:28) and caring for injuries (7:43). He will also break down and explain techniques and tools for health and efficiency such as the solar still (8:00) which is used for making water drinkable in any situation using heat and evaporation.The film explains the necessity of both the men and their equipment working efficiently, as one is null without the other. This will have Dr. Sewell checking and rechecking equipment such as the pressure breathing oxygen mask (8:55). An example of the Dr. and one of the squadron men debating it’s importance is shown. Dr. Sewell explains while the pilot claims it is uncomfortable to wear under 1200 feet, after only two hours without, he will experience reduced supply of oxygen causing impaired vision and judgement as well as fatigue (9:39)- all detrimental in flight. Surgeons will be designated regular care of dependents and an example case is given of chickenpox (10:45-11:45), which had no vaccine at the time. Another patient exhibits symptoms of angioneurotic edema (14:07); the swelling of the lower level of skin due to stress. Doctors must familiarize with the medical as well as mental and emotional states of pilots. An example is shown of a doctor making a judgement call to ground an expecting father (16:43) as it may distract him in flight. As we near the end, this group is assigned carrier duty on the USS Princeton (17:52) floating in Korean waters. Another piece of equipment shown is the g suit; still in use today and prevents blackouts due to pooling of the blood in the lower half of the body at great accelerations. In the end we are reminded the greatest test will be combat. Through his training the doctor will become a better judge of flight proficiency as he will witness each launch and recovery. Aerial bombing (22:22) leads to the final credit screen reading “Sea Power for Security” with the year of creation 1951 (22:54).
This film is part of the Periscope Film LLC archive, one of the largest historic military, transportation, and aviation stock footage collections in the USA. Entirely film backed, this material is available for licensing in 24p HD, 2k and 4k. For more information visit http://www.PeriscopeFilm.com