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High-G_training

High-G training

High-G training is done by aviators and astronauts who are subject to high levels of acceleration ('G'). It is designed to prevent a g-induced Loss Of Consciousness (abbreviated g-LOC), a situation when g-forces move the blood away from the brain to the extent that consciousness is lost. Incidents of acceleration-induced loss of consciousness have caused fatal accidents in aircraft capable of sustaining high-g for considerable periods.

The value of training has been well established during the decades since the 1970's and has been the subject of much research and literature, and training has contributed to extending pilots' G tolerance in the areas of both magnitude and duration. Certainly, this training has allowed pilots and crews to more safely exploit the capabilities of high performance aircraft. This training will become more important as new weapons systems are fielded with even higher performance capabilities.

Training includes Academic training on acceleration physiology and the Anti G Straining Maneuver (AGSM), and Centrifuge training.

Overview

As g-forces increases, visual effects include loss of colour vision (grey-out), followed by tunnel vision (where peripheral vision is lost, retaining only the centre vision). If g-forces increase further, complete loss of vision will occur, while consciousness remains. These effects are due to a reduction of blood flow to the eyes before blood flow to the brain is lost, because the extra pressure within the eye (intraocular pressure) counters the blood pressure. (The reverse effect is experienced in advanced aerobatic manoeuvres under negative g-forces, where excess blood moves towards the brain and eyes red out.)

The human body has different tolerances for g-forces depending on the acceleration direction. Humans can withstand a positive acceleration forward at a higher g-forces than they can withstand a positive acceleration upwards at the same g-forces. This is because when the body is moving up at such high speeds the blood rushes from the brain which causes loss of consciousness.

A further increase in g-forces will cause g-LOC where consciousness is lost. This is doubly dangerous because, on recovery as g is reduced, a period of several seconds of disorientation occurs, during which the aircraft can dive into the ground. Dreams are reported to follow G-LOC which are brief and vivid.

The g thresholds at which these effects occur depend on the training, age and fitness of the individual. An un-trained individual not used to the g-straining manoevre, can black out between 4 and 6 g, particularly if this is pulled suddenly. Roller coasters typically do not expose the occupants to much more than about 3 g. A hard slap on the face may impose hundreds of g-s locally but not produce any real damage: a constant 15 g-s for a minute, however, may be deadly. A trained, fit individual wearing a g suit and practising the straining manoeuvre, can, with some difficulty, sustain up to 9g without loss of consciousness.

The human body is considerably more able to survive g-forces that are perpendicular to the spine. In general when the g-force pushes the body backwards (colloquially known as 'eyeballs in') a much higher tolerance is shown than when g-force is pushing the body forwards ('eyeballs out') since blood vessels in the retina appear more sensitive to that direction.

Early experiments showed that untrained humans were able to tolerate 17 g eyeballs-in (compared to 12 g eyeballs-out) for several minutes without loss of consciousness or apparent long-term harm.

Assisted Positive Pressure Breathing

The design of the modern positive-pressure ventilators were mainly based on technical developments by the military during World War II to supply oxygen to fighter pilots in high altitude. Such ventilators replaced the iron lungs as safe endotracheal tubes with high volume/low pressure cuffs were developed.

Positive-pressure ventilators work by increasing the patient's airway pressure through an endotracheal or tracheostomy tube. The positive pressure allows air to flow into the airway until the ventilator breath is terminated. Subsequently, the airway pressure drops to zero, and the elastic recoil of the chest wall and lungs push the tidal volume -- the breath -- out through passive exhalation.

G-suits

A G-suit is worn by aviators and astronauts who are subject to high levels of acceleration ('G'). It is designed to prevent a black-out and g-LOC (g-induced Loss Of Consciousness), due to the blood pooling in the lower part of the body when under G, thus depriving the brain of blood.

Human Centrifuge training

Human Centrifuges are exceptionally large centrifuges that test the reactions and tolerance of pilots and astronauts to acceleration above those experienced in the Earth's gravity.

The US Air Force at Holloman Air Force Base, NM operates a human centrifuge. The centrifuge at Holloman AFB is operated by the aerospace physiology department for the purpose of training and evaluating prospective fighter pilots for high-g flight in Air Force fighter aircraft.

The use of large centrifuges to simulate a feeling of gravity has been proposed for future long-duration space missions. Exposure to this simulated gravity would prevent or reduce the bone decalcification and muscle atrophy that affect individuals exposed to long periods of freefall. An example of this can be seen in the film 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Man-rated centrifuges are made by AMST Systemtechnik in Austria (Austria Metall SystemTechnik), Latacoere in France, the Environmental Tectonics Corporation (EYC) and Wyle Laboratories in the USA.

External links

CentrifugeTraining on youtube

References

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