Hasard Lee produced an excellent YouTube video to explain to experts and lay-persons alike the issue related to managing the simplest of tasks in a fighter cockpit, peeing. I have written extensively on Optimizing Human Performance in fighter jets. The two conversations have come together to help educate everyone on the problem we face as aviators and the solution found.
Solution to a problem that they didn’t know they had.
I lived in a world pushing amazing technologies and ideas long before anyone knew that they needed it. Elon Musk created Tesla long before there was a market for EV cars. Now we cannot imagine a future without it! In a much smaller sense, fighter pilots are finding the solution to the problem of in-flight bladder relief (peeing when flying) that they didn’t know they had).
Pushing in-flight bladder relief to fighter pilots who have a ‘primacy of operations’ with a product that is not contributing to flying the airplane or completing the mission is like pushing rope. Motherhood about hydration is just that…motherhood. When the enemy is shooting back, no one cares about hydration or bladder relief.
Change the Conversation
My thesis focused on Human Performance Optimization ‘changes the conversation’ about in-flight bladder relief. Optimizing Human Performance forces the discussion about physical, physiological and cognitive peak performance. Being hydrated is the first pillar and ‘low hanging fruit’ that can easily be accomplished. The fallout of hydrating is giving aviators the technology that previously was the detractor, namely how to pee. Skydrate makes it easy and foolproof unlike the previous 2 generations of the technology (AMXD and AMXDmax).
So bladder relief becomes essential not motherhood or a nuisance to wear as was always the case previously. For decades the aviation medical community were ‘pushing rope’ with a solution to a problem that no self-respecting, diehard fighter pilot would admit to. Remember, the focus of fighter pilots is to be the best killers and that dedication and passion is all-consuming with a mountain to climb where no one has ever reached the top. Distracting our education and focus worrying about drinking and peeing means that we are spending less time focused on how to kill the bad guys. Now we have changed that dynamic. I need to drink and eat to be at my peak when I encounter the enemy. I don’t have a timeline that allows for adding nuisance to the limited time to brief, dress, step and start up. But the necessity for peak performance has changed that.
China changed the exchange dynamic.
We have fought ‘attrition warfare’ since before WWII. We lose some; they lose some. Whoever is left flying at the end wins. F-35 wins 20:1. But against China we cannot afford to lose any jets. They outnumber us 4:1. We have to kill 4 of them for every 1 of us. This is not Ukraine or even a war against Russia. We cannot afford to lose 1 for every 4. Instead, we have to kill 4 and not lose anyone or we will not have enough fighters to continue the battle.
This is a whole new fight conducted 1000’s miles from home over water. Long duration transits, aerial refueling to the engagements and refueling back for the transit to land. This dynamic means every man and woman must be at their peak for each engagement. That means a new level of expectation for everyone and a completely new philosophy. And hydration / bladder relief becomes a ‘fait accompli’, an absolute, and part of the timeline to prepare for each combat mission.
Train Like You Fight; Fight Like You Train
The only way we can fight effectively is to practice to the level expected in combat during peacetime. You have to practice with the weapons and the tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs) ahead of time. You can’t just figure it out on Game day. That means we must use it all in peacetime so that we are familiar and comfortable with our equipment during combat. That in turn means issuing and using Skydrate during peacetime.
All these factors change the position of this gear in the marketplace and for the consumer. Fighter pilots will relate to soundbites about why this kit is now mission critical. No more pushing rope; the rope pulls now. We are focused on whatever it takes to keep fighter pilots alive in the most difficult threat environments ever and the smallest of contributors can make a huge difference in the performance of each human and collectively on our chances of victory.
Finally- size doesn’t matter