G-Force, Jerk, and Passing Out In A Centrifuge
Thanks to the Starrship team for arranging this! I’m also over on their channel, flying with the Blades: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iWY3-1gOrxk • At the Royal Air Force training centrifuge in Farnbrough, pilots learn how to avoid G-LOC: g-induced loss of consciousness. Let’s talk about g-force, about jerk, and about how to keep circulation flowing to your brain.
* Isn’t 3.6g a really low g-tolerance? *
Yep. Turns out I would not qualify to be a fighter pilot. The average range for g-tolerance is 4-6; no-one was expecting me to pass out. The centrifuge team do not deliberately try to G-LOC people! To be fair, though, I’d done a few earlier runs with only minor effects.
* What g was the RAF person at the start pulling? *
That’s Marcus, from the Starrship team, and he was successfully pulling 6.5g with the help of g-trousers: they plug into a compressed air source in the plane (and in the centrifuge) and act as a lower-body tourniquet to keep the blood up top. They are very effective.
* Why did you shake and shudder when regaining consciousness? *
Those are called “myoclonic convulsions”, which is a fancy medical term for “muscle jerks”, and they’re a common side effect of recovering from G-LOC.
* What did it feel like? *
I’ll answer this in more detail in a video over on the Matt and Tom channel soon, but in short: I don’t remember it. I was doing the breathing maneuver, then everything was wobbly, then we were stopped!
* Is this a sponsored video? *
No: the RAF and Starrship had no editorial control over this, and no money changed hands. Obviously, though, they gave me a spin in the centrifuge, and I’m collaborating with them over on their channel too!
The RAF Centre of Aviation Medicine, the Starrship team, and the folks at Qinetiq.
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