US Air Force inaugurates pilot centrifuge at Wright-Patterson

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The US Air Force has officially opened its only human-rated centrifuge at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, in Ohio.

The equipment can create forces of up to 9g, to teach students’ the effects of G-forces on human physiology and to measure their ability to counteract the effects which induce loss of consciousness.

The US Air Force’s centrifuge at the Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico was shut down in Febuary 2011. While the new centrifuge was being built at Wright Patterson, training was conducted at a centrifuge operated by contractors at the Brooks City Air Force Base in Texas

According to local media reports, Wright-Patterson’s US$34 million centrifuge is being completed five years later than initially planned.

The opening ceremony for the new centrifuge was held on August 2, 2018 at the Air Force Research Laboratory’s 711th Human Performance Wing.

Speaking at the event, Brig. Gen. Mark Koeniger, 711th Human Performance Wing commander said, “A device such as this is needed now more than ever. With the extreme performance that is possible in our aircraft today, it is paramount that we provide the best training possible for these aircrew members. This centrifuge will do just that.”

Koeniger said the centrifuge is unique because all three cockpits in it can be linked with the control room to create a virtual battle space.

Air Force students will begin using this centrifuge for training from October. Around 1,200 students, including fighter pilots, aircrew members, flight surgeons and aerospace physiologists are expected to use the facility.

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Ben has worked all of his career as a journalist and now editor, covering almost all aspects of technology, engineering and industry. In the last 16 years he has written on subjects from nuclear submarines and autonomous cars to future design and manufacturing technologies and commercial aviation. Latterly editor of a leading engineering magazine, he brings an eye for a great story and lots of experience to the team.

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