What is the RAF Aircrew Conditioning Programme (ACP)?

What is the Aircrew Conditioning Programme?

The Royal Air Force (RAF) Aircrew Conditioning Programme (ACP) was designed to enhance pilot performance through reducing fatigue and strain injuries to the spine.

Why Was The ACP Introduced?

The ACP was introduced as there was a need for a valid preventative exercise protocol for the above group. For example, in 2006, it was reported by Wickes and Greeves (2006) that:

  • The prevalence of flight-related neck pain in all RAF aircrew was 66%; and
  • 70% of fast-jet aircrew reported flight-related neck pain.

What the Levels of ACP?

There are two levels of ACP:

  • Level 1:
    • Part of the elementary flying training programme.
    • Minimum standards to progress:
      • Neck strengthening: Level 1 Theraband – Competent; and Level 2 Head Harness – basic technique with low load.
      • Strength training: initial technique instruction.
      • Core strengthening: neutral posture in all positions.
      • Cardiovascular training: anaerobic based.
  • Level 2:
    • Part of the basic fast jet training and single/multi engine rotary training programmes. Also includes personnel at the operational level.
    • Minimum standards to progress:
      • Neck strengthening: Level 2 Head Harness – Competent; and Level 3 Head Harness – basic technique with low load.
      • Strength training: competent technique. Progression of weight with focus on strength power (fast jet) or strength endurance (rotary).
      • Core strengthening: static and dynamic rotation control in all positions.
      • Cardiovascular training: anaerobic based.

What are the Components of ACP?

  • Whole body flexibility and mobility.
  • Strengthening.
  • Cardiovascular fitness.
  • Neck strengthening.
  • Stability and motor control.

What is the ACP Aide-Memoire?

The ACP Aide-Memoire provides exercises and training programmes for personnel to follow to aid in achieving the aims of the ACP.

Reference

Slungaard, E., Green, N., Newham, D.J. & Harridge, S.D.R. (2016) Content Validity of the RAF Aircrew Conditioning Programme. Available from World Wide Web: http://www.safeeurope.co.uk/media/5660/08-sqn-ldr-ellen-slungaard-content-validity-of-the-raf-aircrew-conditioning-programme.pdf. [Accessed: 19 December, 2018].

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