JSTARS aids Air Force career enlisted aviator inclusion and diversity study

  • Published
  • By Senior Master Sgt. Roger Parsons
  • 116TH Air Control Wing

Team JSTARS participated in a recent Air Force anthropometric study aimed to provide more opportunities for female and minority career enlisted aviators across the Air Force.

 A team of anthropometric experts spent several days with E-8C Joint STARS aviators conducting body stature measurements to determine the minimum and maximum body size proportions that will fit within workstations aboard the aircraft.

 “With that data, we can figure out minimum and maximum body size proportions, not just stature, but also the arm length, leg length, sitting heights and other measurements that you wouldn’t normally measure,” said Ronald Richardson, an aerospace engineer with the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center. “We can find out the specific proportions that Airmen need to be to do their job correctly and keep everyone safe in the aircraft.”

 Previous physical guidelines required a height range of 64-77 inches based on a study of white male pilots in 1967. According to the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics, 43.5% of U.S. women—including 74% of African Americans, 72% of Latino Americans, and 61% of Asian Americans—age 20-29, have a stature of 64 inches or less, compared to only 3.7% of U.S. men.

 “Currently, approximately 68% of females and minorities in the Air Force are eliminated from career enlisted aviator career fields,” said Master Sgt. Jason Kornhauser, the career enlisted aviator’s special projects manager. “Doing this study, we are going to open the aperture so approximately 80% of those will be eligible to be flyers.”

 At an aircrew summit in 2020, U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff, Gen. Charles Q. Brown, Jr., shared a vision of inclusion and diversity which paved the way and provided funding for the current anthropometric study, according to Kornhauser.

 “From a JSTARS perspective, we have a number of career enlisted aviators on board the aircraft, so this study is trying to open the aperture so we can allow for a more diverse aircrew which is really important,” said Master Sgt. Christie Conn, project officer for the HQ Air Force anthropometric study with the 461st Air Control Wing. “Hopefully, they are able to get some good data points to reevaluate the standards so we can have more females and minorities flying as career enlisted aviators and use their talent pool as well to make us a stronger fighting force.”

 The 116th Air Control Wing, Georgia Air National Guard, along with the active-duty 461st Air Control Wing, and Army JSTARS, make up Team JSTARS which provides geographic combatant commanders around the world with on-call battle management, command and control, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance support, commonly referred to as C2ISR.