The Air Force will become the first military department to abolish the widely unpopular “tape test” from annual physical fitness examinations for pilots and Space Force members.
“We trust that our Airmen understand the standard of good physical health practices and we are all finding innovative ways to stay fit,” Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Brown announced on Monday. “We also trust that leaders will take the appropriate steps to keep their Airmen safe while making every effort to provide fitness options during the pandemic.”
According to Brown, the Air Force is also considering “alternative strength and cardio components” to accurately assess fitness.
“We believe these potential test structure changes will impact Airmen in a positive way and help with a holistic approach to health and fitness standards,” he said.
The waist tape measurement, alongside weight and height, is used to calculate body fat percentage, but some of the airmen complain that the method does not reflect the accurate muscle to fat ratio, as body types vary widely and that index can depend even on the time of the day. Meanwhile “unacceptable” results may harm pilots’ careers, due to the strict body standards required by the USAF.
Apart from tape measurement, fitness assessments include a 1.5-mile run, one minute of push-ups and one minute of sit-ups.