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John Paul Stapp

  • Became a research officer in the Aeromedical Laboratory of Wright Field, Ohio in 1946 where he studied problems of escaping from aircraft at high altitudes.
  • Provided the effectiveness of a liquid oxygen breathing system and established preventative measures for high altitude bends and dehydration.
  • Set out to find why some Air Force men died and others survived seemingly equally violent crashes. At Muroc AFB, California, he personally made 26 rocket-powered sled runs to test human reactions to high rates of acceleration (35 times that of gravity) and deceleration.
  • At Holloman AFB, New Mexico, he attained a ground speed record at 636 mph in 1953 in a higher powered rocket sled, slamming to a stop in 1.25 seconds.
  • Proved that an ejection seat could be used safely at supersonic speeds.
  • Invited representatives of the military and auto industry to review his research on the necessity of seat belts in 1954.
  • Became a consultant to the Surgeon General of the United States and NASA after retiring from the military in 1970.

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