As exciting as flying a fighter jet sounds, it is equally challenging. A potential pilot must go through a rigorous training regime before getting the nod to officially take off. Arguably, the most difficult part of the routine is the High-g training which involves participants spending time inside a human centrifuge.
This particular training prepares the up-and-coming aviators to sustain the strong force of gravity (g) at high altitudes. Moreover, even astronauts go through a similar test to gauge their readiness for space travel.
While experiencing the human centrifuge is definitely brain-scrambling, looking at how the process works can give you an idea of its dizzy effects too. So, here’s a video that shows glimpses of the high-g training.
Why is high-g training necessary?
As an aircraft ascends to the skies, the pilot undergoes a gradual increase in gravitational force. This stronger gravity can get up to 9 times as powerful as experienced on the surface (9g). In those circumstances, blood can rush down a pilot’s body, preventing the brain from getting enough blood supply to work optimally. This can lead to temporary loss of vision and even unconsciousness aka gravity-induced Loss Of Consciousness (g-LOC).
The aforementioned effects can be extremely risky for a pilot while airborne and have even caused plane accidents before. This is where high-g training plays a big role as it simulates adverse gravitational conditions to test the “g tolerance” of potential pilots.
How does the human centrifuge work?
The high-g training occurs in a well-monitored and safe environment. It involves putting a person in a large centrifuge that spins to simulate the effects of high gravity. For simulating 2g, the centrifuge works at 15 revolutions per minute, and for higher g-levels such as 20g, it would logically go up to 150 revolutions per minute.
Besides prepping pilots for taking flight, the human centrifuge is also used for letting students test out 9g conditions. It also helps the researchers learn more about what effects exposure to increased gravity has on the human body.
Although the training is obnoxiously dizzying, it’s super important to get pilots accustomed to high-altitude conditions. By the way, would you like to try the human centrifuge test? Tell us in the comments.
Also, make sure to check out SpinLaunch, an intriguing technology that uses centrifugal force to shoot rockets into space.