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Another method of attaining the same result is by means of the diluting apparatus, which supplies directly to a mask over the face whatever proportions are desired for a mixture of air and nitrogen. All of these tests have been standardized and confirmed by the lowpressure tank, in which the air is rarefied to correspond to any given altitude. By a comparison of the percentage of oxygen to which the aviator succumbs when on the low-oxygen tests it is possible to determine precisely the altitude at which the aviator would fail were he in the 26 air.
When our Air Medical Service was established it was fortimate to have at hand a series of reports of the Air Medical Services of our Allies by medical officers who have attained distinction in the field of scientific research. Birley, Dreyer, Haldane, Flack, Douglas, and Priestly among the British Nepper, Josue, Lombaert, Guilbert, Garsaux among the French; Gradenigo and Herlitzka among the Italians, had been studying for years the physical deterioriations peculiar to flying which, even early in the war, so emphasized the military importance of this particular problem of the Air Service.
This is acclimatization, and this occurs in the man living on Pike's Peak, but not in the aviator who alternates constantly between high and low altitudes. The flier must undergo abrupt changes in atmospheric pressure and oxygen supply. Atmospheric pressure plays a very unimportant role; the whole problem resolves itself into a deprivation of the normal oxygen supply. The fact that there is "oxygen-want" at high altitudes suggested that any piece of apparatus that would permit the breathing of a reduced amount of oxygen could be used The Flack to test the ability of men to withstand high altitudes.