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Aviat Space Environ Med. 2004 Jan;75(1):1-6.

Acceleration in other axes affects +Gz tolerance: dynamic centrifuge simulation of agile flight.

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Biodynamics and Acceleration Branch, Air Force Research Laboratory, Wright-Patterson AFB, OH 45433, USA.



Modern, thrust-vectored jet aircraft have the capability of developing multi-axis accelerations, especially during the performance of "supermaneuvers." These "agile" aircraft are capable of unconventional flight. The human consequences of this agile flight environment are unknown.


This multi-axis acceleration environment was studied on the Dynamic Environment Simulator gimbaled centrifuge. There were nine relaxed, unprotected subjects who were exposed to either lateral (+/- 1, +/- 2 Gy), transverse chest-to-back (+1, 2.5, or 4 Gx), or back-to-chest (-1 Gx) sustained acceleration. Positive C (+Gz) acceleration was then added beginning at 1.0 Gz by gradual onset (0.1 Gz x s(-1)) until the subjects lost nearly all of their vision. Baseline +Gz-only relaxed tolerances were measured before and after all combined Gy/Gz and Gx/Gz exposures. Heart rate, percent cerebral oxygen saturation, and cerebral blood volumes were collected during each exposure.


Adding moderate transverse (+Gx) acceleration significantly reduced +Gz tolerance. Relaxed, unprotected +Gz tolerance was reduced approximately 0.25 G when 1.0 or 2.5 Gx was added to the increasing +Gz exposure. Adding moderate lateral Gy significantly increased +Gz tolerance. Relaxed, unprotected +Gz tolerance was increased approximately 0.5 G when +2 Gy or -2 Gy was added to the -Gz exposure. The decrease in cerebral blood volume was significantly less when +Gz was added to -1 Gx compared with the addition of +Gz to +Gx.


Multi-axis sustained accelerations, such as those experienced during thrust-vectored aircraft maneuvers, can either enhance or reduce the +Gz tolerance of the pilot depending on the direction of the net gravitoinertial force. Gy acceleration in conjunction with Gz acceleration can enhance G tolerance. Gx acceleration in addition to Gz acceleration can reduce G tolerance.

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