Little Rock Says Goodbye to Altitude Chamber

The altitude chamber at Little Rock AFB, Ark., will be decommissioned this month after 50 years in service, according to a Dec. 20 release. The roughly 20 airmen from the 19th Aerospace Medical Squadron at Little Rock, who operate and maintain the chamber, will instead use Reduced Oxygen Breathing Devices (RODB) attached to flight simulators to certify airmen who still require oxygen deprivation training. The new devices, which will cost between $40,000 and $60,000 per year to operate, infuse higher concentrations of nitrogen to induce the hypoxia in airmen, states the release. The devices are able to emulate nearly every aircraft used by the Air Force. “Although this means the end of a historical landmark at Little Rock Air Force Base, we look forward to the integration of new Air Force technology,” said TSgt. Daniel Zerbe, the 19th AMDS aerospace and operational physiology noncommissioned officer in charge. The old chamber cost about $2 million every year.