Work starts on pilot facility

Programme partners at the "Ground Breaking Ceremony" held at RAFC Cranwell. EMN-170117-110811001
Programme partners at the "Ground Breaking Ceremony" held at RAFC Cranwell. EMN-170117-110811001

A ground-breaking ceremony has been held for a new pilot training facility at Royal Air Force Cranwell College (RAFC).

Project partners behind the work attended a ceremony marking a milestone in the project’s history.

Partners behind the new High G-force Centrifuge pilot training facility met at RAFC Cranwell last Wednesday, January 11.

Representatives from Thales, Royal Air Force, DE&S, Royal Navy and AMST attended.

The new High G-force facility is a major development for the Royal Air Force.

An interactive cockpit matched to the student’s aircraft makes up a major component of the project.

High G training is useful for aviators and astronauts who are subject to high levels of acceleration.

This will allow for a wide range of training scenarios to enable the pilot to be fully immersed into the high G-force environment.

A contract was awarded to Thales, who have partnered with Austria Metal System Technik (AMST), Galliford Try and Defence, Equipment and Support (DE&S) to complete the project.

Thales specialise and work in areas including defence, aerospace, airlines security and safety.

The company has a long and well established history of simulation-based training.

Senior responsible officer for the Royal Air Force, Air Commodore Dave Lee said: “RAF Air Command Headquarters are delighted with the progress of the project and commend the hard work of the DE&S Project Team, our industry partners, RAF headquarters staff, and staff at both the RAF Centre of Aviation Medicine and RAF College Cranwell.

“This project stands as an exemplar of collaborative working, and the strength of the relationships and the unity of the partnering achieved have ensured that we are well underway to making this world-class training capacity a reality for the UK’s future fast jet pilots.”

Work on the main building is beginning, and staff expect that the High G-force Centrifuge pilot training facility will be completed, and operational by October 2018.

Royal Air Force and Royal Navy Fast Jet pilots will be able to take part in state of the art G-force tolerance training.

The wider Defence community will also be able to utilise the project, with a centrifuge test and evaluation facility.

Training in the facility will give pilots a feel for what they can expect when flying in real life.

Training is designed to help prevent pilots loosing consciousness while in flight.