Low-Cost Pilot Training & Conditioning

Problem: Though flying real airplanes is the best pilot training and conditioning method, it is the most expensive, costing thousands of dollars per hour of flight time. Training in a flight simulator costs less, but lacks the high G forces needed to condition the pilots' body for actual flight. High G conditioning in a centrifuge also costs less than flying, but lacks the motion fidelity needed for high quality simulation to train beginning pilots. Environmental Tectonics Corporation (ETC) would like to modify their centrifuge to get high motion fidelity to simulate a flying airplane and fulfill this low cost training need.

Solution: Wright Technology Network (WTN) connected Environmental Tectonics with the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT) with a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement to develop an improved centrifuge.  AFIT has accurately modeled many dynamic systems for decades.  AFIT faculty and engineers built a mathematical dynamic model of the ETC centrifuge. AFIT also developed a fidelity equation to evaluate the difference between a centrifuge and an airplane as felt by a pilot. Using data on human perception of accelerations, the model, and fidelity equation, AFIT will write a centrifuge control program that gives the rider optimum flight fidelity.


  • Society benefits by conserving resources currently spent on training and conditioning pilots in real airplanes.
  • Environmental Tectonics will benefit by the use of these new designs in its aeromedical conditioning business as well as allowing expansion into flight simulator markets.
  • AFIT benefits by the development of these new designs for use in military flight training and conditioning.
  • AFIT also benefits by being fully reimbursed for the time spent on the project.
  • AFIT also benefits from learning experiences gained, and may further benefit from the licensing of inventions made under this agreement.

Current Status:

  • AFIT has built a mathematical model of the centrifuge and the pilot's experience of acceleration forces while flying an airplane.
  • AFIT has developed an equation of pilot perceived motion fidelity of a centrifuge to an airplane.
  • AFIT is working on a control program for the centrifuge to increase its rider-perceived fidelity to aircraft flight.
If you have any questions about this Cooperative Research and Development Agreement or are interested in getting more information about technology transfer and CRADA projects, please contact Jim Singer at Wright Technology Network (937) 253-0217 or CRADA@wtn.org

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