RAF Centre of Aviation Medicine


RAF Centre of Aviation Medicine
RAF Centre of Aviation Medicine.jpg
Active1 December 1998 (1998-12-01) – present
CountryUnited Kingdom United Kingdom
BranchEnsign of the Royal Air Force.svg Royal Air Force
RoleDefence medicine/scientific centre
Part ofRoyal Air Force Medical Services
Home station
Motto(s)Ut secure volent
(Latin for 'That they may fly free from care')[1]
AircraftBAE Systems Hawk T1

The RAF Centre of Aviation Medicine (RAF CAM) is a medical organisation run by the Royal Air Force and based at RAF Henlow in Bedfordshire. It is the main organisation conducting aviation medicine research in the UK.



The centre was formed on 1 December 1998 as a result of the merger of the School of Aviation Medicine based at Farnborough in Hampshire and the Aviation Medicine Training Centre based at RAF North Luffenham in Rutland.

The centre's predecessor was the RAF Institute of Aviation Medicine (RAF IAM), which closed in 1994.


The RAF Medical Board and RAF Institute of Health moved from RAF Halton in Buckinghamshire to the centre on 1 June 2000, becoming the Occupation and Environmental Medicine Wing.

It was formerly part of RAF Personnel and Training Command, becoming part of RAF Air Command in 2007.


The centre researches the medical effects of flying, such as hypoxia and the effects of G-force. Flying fast-jet aircraft puts the cardiovascular physiology of the human body under extreme physical stress. Without intervention, exposure to high G force would cause a pilot to lose consciousness through lack of blood to the brain, otherwise known as G-induced loss of consciousness or G-LOC. Eurofighter Typhoon pilots regularly experience 9G. Other dangers include rapid uncontrolled decompression from failure of cabin pressurisation, and the centre has four hypobaric chambers.

Airlines that do not have their own aviation medicine research establishments (e.g. British Airways) have contracted out work to the RAF's Centre.[citation needed]

Academic support

King's College London School of Medicine and Dentistry at Guy's Hospital has run a MSc programme in aviation medicine, which involves the RAF's Centre, specifically the practical experience of G-forces, decompression, whole-body vibration, and vestibular (balance sensory system) and visual disorientation.[2]

Training courses

The centre provides training for aircrew from the RAF and other organisations (via International Defence Training or Horizon Training) in subjects such as using night vision goggles[3] and dealing with hypoxia.[4]

It provides training for the on-board Critical Care Air Support Team (CCAST, similar to the Critical Care Air Transport Team of the USAF)


The centre's Aviation Medicine operates two BAE Systems Hawk T1 aircraft used for trials, which operate from MOD Boscombe Down in Wiltshire. These aircraft were also used by the previous organisation.

The new RAF High G Training and Test Facility at RAF College Cranwell was opened on 4 February 2019 and is used to provide high-G training.

See also


  1. ^ Pine, L.G. (1983). A dictionary of mottoes (1 ed.). London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. p. 244. ISBN 0-7100-9339-X.
  2. ^ Aviation Medicine MSc
  3. ^ Night vision goggles
  4. ^ International Defence Training courses

External links

  • Online catalogue
  • Aviation photography showing the two Hawk aircraft
  • Medical training support website
  • Bear Grylls learns about hypoxia during parachute training in 2005

News items

  • BBC's Inside Out visits the hypobaric chamber to test the effects of hypoxia
  • Price Edward tours the centre in October 2006
  • BBC Breakfast RAF pilots get new G-force training centre

Coordinates: 52°00′35″N 0°18′08″W / 52.0098°N 0.3021°W / 52.0098; -0.3021