To keep pace with advancing aeronautical technologies, America needs the capability to dynamically simulate high agility flight on the ground. Ground simulation is a critical step in the process of air vehicle development. Superagile flight, fundamentally different from conventional high performance +Gz flying, will expose the pilot and vehicle subsystems to high rotation rates and high onset acceleration from any direction, i.e., rapidly changing +/-Gx,y,z. This environment will cause unusual physiological stress and potential orientation problems for the aircrew, as well as unique physical effects on mechanical and electronic equipment. Therefore, ground simulation is a particularly important capability for development of operational high agility air vehicles.
To generate a realistic perception of the high agility flight environment, man-in-the-loop simulation will require a very capable large radius centrifuge combined with the high fidelity crewstation, beyond-the-cockpit visual display, and closed-loop control features of a fixed-base flight simulator. Armstrong Laboratory of U.S. Air Force Systems Command is developing a facility concept for ground simulation of high agility flight, the Combined Acceleration Flight Simulator (CAFS). The CAFS concept is a track-centrifuge with an electromagnetic propulsion system and a crewstation which can rotate on any axis. CAFS will be a versatile national research and test asset which will enable development of a new class of superagile flight vehicles.