AVM5001 - Aviation physiology - 2019

6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Postgraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.


Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Organisational Unit

School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine

Chief examiner(s)

A. Prof David Newman


Dr Sanjiv Sharma

Unit guides


Alfred Hospital

  • First semester 2019 (Online)


Available to Postgraduate students only


Ensuring the health of both pilots and passengers is an ongoing challenge given the growth in world aviation, the technological improvements to modern aircraft and the increase in flight times.

To meet this challenge, a deep understanding of the physiological effects and human performance limitations associated with the aviation environment, and the countermeasures used to protect pilots and passengers, is crucial.

In this unit students will explore the physiological challenges involved in human exposure to the modern flight environment, using case-based teaching, videos and online discussion.

Topics will include: the nature of the modern flight environment and principles of flight, the operational challenges of exposure to altitude, pressure, gravitational forces, motion, noise, vibration and thermal stress, the adverse effects on the various physiological systems of the body, and the countermeasures developed to protect humans from these adverse effects.


Upon successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  1. Describe the modern flight environment and the principles of flight.
  2. Critically evaluate the physiological challenges faced by humans when flying
  3. Identify the performance limitations of the special senses when operating in the modern flight environment
  4. Explain the human physiological limitations associated with operation of high performance aircraft
  5. Critically evaluate the countermeasures used to protect aircraft occupants from physiological challenges during flight


  • Critical reflections (1800 words - 10 x 180 words) (30%)
  • Infographics (360 words, plus graphics) (2 x 15%)
  • Report (2400 words) (40%) (Hurdle)

Workload requirements

6 hours of teacher-directed learning activities per week, and 6 hours of self-directed study per week, plus 2 on-campus Block Days.

See also Unit timetable information