Female Air Force pilots offered bladder relief in the air
March 22, 2023

Female Air Force pilots may soon be able to relieve themselves during long missions in-flight without compromising their safety, thanks to a new technology currently being tested at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in North Carolina.

The technology, called Airus by Airion Health, offers a practical and safe way for female pilots to urinate during long flights, eliminating the need for them to remove their harnesses and use a bag collection system.

The Airus system is a significant improvement over previous methods, as it is designed specifically for women and offers a safe and efficient way to relieve themselves during long flights. The system consists of a cup liner that is docked to the body and worn under the pilot’s underwear. A pumping system then pulls the liquid away from the flight suit, eliminating the need for pilots to remove their harnesses.

This development addresses a long-standing issue for female Air Force pilots who have struggled with not having a practical or safe way to relieve themselves during training or missions. Traditional bladder relief methods have been designed with male physiology in mind, and often require pilots to unstrap from their gear and use a bag collection system, which can take nearly an hour and be unsafe in the case of a sudden in-flight emergency.

Holding in urine for extended periods of time can lead to health complications such as headaches, infections, and the weakening of bladder muscles. Some aviators have even resorted to “tactical dehydration,” where they don’t drink any liquids for hours before a flight. However, this can increase the risk of fatal errors and health issues, such as headaches and reduced ability to withstand high g-forces.

The testing of the Airus system comes at a time when the Air Force is working to improve the quality of life for women and pregnant service members through a series of policy changes and new initiatives. In recent years, the service has authorized longer hairstyles for women and is developing a maternity flight suit and wrap-style dress for pregnant airmen.

The development of the Airus system is another important step forward in this ongoing effort to improve the quality of life for female aviators and other personnel. By providing a safe, efficient, and practical way for women to relieve themselves during long flights, the system will help to ensure that female pilots and other personnel can perform their duties to the best of their abilities.

Airion Health Managing Member Cam Chidiac said, “We brought in a lot of female experts to really take a look at what this is and how to make a system for women from women versus being a male-driven design.” This approach has resulted in a system that is tailored to the unique needs of female aviators, offering a safe and practical solution to a longstanding problem.

As the testing of the Airus system continues, it is hoped that it will become standard equipment for female pilots in the Air Force, offering them greater comfort and safety during long missions.

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