The effects of+ Gz force on the bone mineral density of fighter pilots

Document Type

Journal Article


Aerospace Medical Association


Faculty of Computing, Health and Science


School of Biomedical and Sports Science




Naumann, F. L., Bennell, K. L., & Wark, J. D. (2001). The effects of+ Gz force on the bone mineral density of fighter pilots. Aviation, space, and environmental medicine, 72(3), 177-181. Available here


HYPOTHESIS: Bone is a metabolically active tissue which responds to high strain loading. The purpose of this study was to examine the bone response to high +Gz force loading generated during high performance flying. METHODS: The bone response to +Gz force loading was monitored in 10 high performance RAAF pilots and 10 gender-, age-, height-, weight-matched control subjects. The pilots were stationed at the RAAF base at Pearce, Western Australia, all completing the 1-yr flight training course. The pilots flew the Pilatus PC-9 aircraft, routinely sustaining between 2.0 and 6.0 +Gz. Bone mineral density (BMD) and bone mineral content (BMC) were measured at baseline and 12 mo, using the Hologic QDR 2000+ bone densitometer. RESULTS: After controlling for change in total body weight and fat mass, the pilots experienced a significant increase in BMD and BMC for thoracic spine, pelvis, and total body, in the magnitude of 11.0%, 4.9%, and 3.7%, respectively. However, no significant changes in bone mineral were observed in the pilots lumbar spine, arms or legs. The control group experienced a significant decrease in pelvic BMC, with no other bone mineral changes observed at any site. CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest that site specific BMD is increased in response to high +Gz forces generated during high performance flying in a PC-9.