To be able to fly a Gripen fighter, new pilots first need to physically prepare themselves to withstand high Gs while at the same time getting fully skilled in cockpit operations.
Gripen’s Dynamic Flight Simulator (DFS) in Linköping, Sweden, is the first 4th generation ground based system that can pull Gs and allow pilots to train under real in-flight conditions. G training is important for fighter pilots as high levels of acceleration can lead to g-induced loss of consciousness due to reduction of blood flow to the brain. Consequently, the Gripen simulator provides an ideal environment for pilots to be Gripen-ready.
According to a Poder Aéreo news report, the DFS is a full scale replica of the Gripen cockpit mounted on a centrifuge arm. It was acquired when Sweden developed Gripen and needed a simulator that could pull 9G almost instantly, and sustain it for long periods of time.
After flying for some time, pilots instinctively stiffen their legs and abdominal muscles. The G-suit helps them do this effectively. Pilots are also trained for anti-G breathing -- short breaths with tense muscles. Some pilots learn to withstand Gs real fast, others take longer, and about 1% fail. Therefore, DFS is also an effective medium to test pilots for their resistance. In order to pass, they must withstand flying at 9Gs for 15 seconds, the report says.
Besides 9G training, flying in a Gripen simulator gives pilots a grasp of the kind of information they can get from the display screen in the cockpit. In addition, trainee pilots can practice air-to-air and air-to ground missions. Short take-off and landing is also something that needs to be practiced in a Gripen simulator first.
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