U.S. Air Force Seeking Innovative Solutions for AFWERX Sky-High Relief Challenge to Support Female Aircrew

Last Call for Entries to Sky-High Relief Challenge

AFWERX Challenge Logo

AFWERX, the U.S. Air Force’s innovation catalyst, announces the Sky-High Relief Challenge, seeking innovation solutions to help the U.S. Air Force (USAF) develop a safe, reliable and effective system to provide female aircrew with the capability of bladder relief during flight. The government reserves the right to award prize challenges up to $1.5 million. The open call to companies, individuals, academic institutions, and researchers will accept solutions until Sept. 29, 2020, on the AFWERX Challenge website.

The Sky-High Relief Challenge will provide solutions that allow female aviators to hydrate adequately and relieve themselves during flight without interfering with operations or compromising flight safety. In partnership with USAF, AFWERX invites individuals and businesses from public and private sectors to submit their product, service or idea to help develop an improved inflight bladder relief system.

“This is an incredible opportunity for the USAF to partner with innovative industries and academia to identify, fund and launch new solutions that can be implemented immediately,” stated Mark Rowland, Innovation Actualizer of AFWERX. “Whether you design a comprehensive solution, component, material or develop an entirely novel bladder relief system, we welcome you to the AFWERX Challenge crowdsourcing process.”

Current mission profiles and air refueling abilities have led to longer flight times for aircrew who need to urinate multiple times during flight without removing restraint systems and flight equipment. As a result, many female aircrew resort to “tactical dehydration” to avoid the difficulties and potential dangers of having to relieve themselves in-flight. This challenge seeks to find innovative solutions that provide comfortable, form-fitting interface options and significantly improved bodily fluid processing and disposal capabilities.

An improved bladder relief system will enhance the overall quality of life for female aviators on and off the job by leading to fewer physical and mental health issues. During flights, dehydration negatively impacts pilots by lowering their G-tolerance by up to 50%. Dehydration can result in a variety of medical problems, including reduced physical and cognitive performance, decreased situational awareness, intense headaches, altered vision and possible G-induced Loss of Consciousness (GLOC).

The open call for solutions for the Sky-High Relief Challenge is still accepting solutions until Sept. 29 at 8:59 PM Pacific Time. Submissions will be made on afwerxchallenge.com and will need to answer all required submission fields to be accepted. Submissions will be officially reviewed by the evaluation team starting 30 September 2020. Communication to all successful and unsuccessful teams will be sent by 26 October 2020.


Media Contacts:

Tracy Skenandore 

Source: AFWERX