Camberley & District Probus Club

Centrifuge & Farnborough Air Sciences Trust, 24th January 2023

Article: Alan Boyd

Photos: Alan Boyd & Stephen Bishop

Probably the best Medical/Engineering visit we have ever made. The Centrifuge Tour started with a knowledgable and authoritative exposition of the effect of different levels of G forces on the body, the research undertaken by the RAF Institute of Aviation Medicine in the centrifuge and means of counteracting effects of G by body suits, both partial and whole. The lecturer had herself been involved in many of the experiments.

Then close examination, in small parties led by experienced users, of the centrifuge itself, the gondolas, the motor, the power and electrical control room, observation room and control room. We were blown away by the engineering – the building itself was impressive – 27 foot deep concrete floor to dampen any vibrations, and 2 feet thick walls. Equally impressive was the equipment to get the 40 tons of motor, centrifuge and gondolas rotating – accelerating smoothly, decelerating smoothly and controlling the rate of G whilst rotating – all achieved with 1950s technology – a magnificent achievement.

Finally, videos showed how all the equipment combined together to complete experiments. Very proud – firstly, to see British achievements, secondly that it is all being preserved and thirdly, that it is now recognised by an Engineering Heritage Award.

Finally – the icing on the cake –a Souvenir Booklet to a professional standard illustrating everything we had heard and seen, and much, much more. A brilliant visit, but very cold in the unheated rooms.

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