A recent news programme caught my eye when I realised it involved our great friends at the Farnborough Aviation Sciences Trust museum. It reminded me of the group of sadistic so-called doctors who populated the Institute of Aviation Medicine and tortured generations of unsuspecting and innocent RAF aircrew in machines such as the one the article featured, a centrifuge! This aforementioned device which resembles a vast witch’s ducking stool crossed with an iron maiden, first operated in 1955 but was decommissioned as recently as 2019 and has now received Grade 2 protection.


The Institute of Aviation Medicine


The Farnborough Centrifuge


The Cecil Hotel with it’s red and white ornate frontage


The august medical journal, the Lancet


Early versions of oxygen masks


An early mobile decompression chamber


Images under Creative Commons licence with thanks to the RAF, FAST museum, The Library of Congress, those images within the Public Domain and the National Museum of Health & Medicine.