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Isometric Force Production in Experienced Fighter Pilots During +3 Gz Centrifuge Acceleration

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Guardiera S, Bock O, Pongratz H, Krause W. Isometric force production in experienced fighter pilots during +3Gz centrifuge acceleration. Aviat Space Environ Med 2007; 78:1072–4.

Introduction: Previously, we have shown that na├»ve subjects produce exaggerated isometric forces when exposed to increased acceleration (+Gz) for the first time. The present study investigates whether +Gz-experienced PA-200 Tornado pilots show similar deficits. Methods: Experiments were conducted in the stationary (+1 Gz) or rotating (+3 Gz) gondola of a human-rated centrifuge. With their dominant hand, seven pilots produced visually prescribed forces of specific direction and magnitude using an isometric joystick. In practice trials, subjects received continuous visual feedback about their performance, while in test trials they did not. Results: Peak forces during test trials were significantly higher in +3 Gz than in +1 Gz, although this increase of about 25% referring to the +1 Gz value was somewhat smaller in pilots than in nonpilot controls (increase of about 36%). Discussion: Since pilots’ responses were exaggerated in +3 Gz, it seems that frequent exposure to varying +Gz levels is not sufficient for a profound adaptation of force-producing mechanisms to +3 Gz. In consequence, pilots’ performance on isometric tasks could be compromised during flight maneuvers in +Gz.
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Keywords: aircraft; gravity; high G; hyper G; sensorimotor control

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: From the Department of Physiology and Anatomy, German Sport University Cologne, Cologne, Germany (S. Guardiera, O. Bock), and the Surgeon General, German Air Force, Germany (H. Pongratz, W. Krause).

Publication date: November 1, 2007

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