Eli5 Why do fighter pilots turn up?


Even when they need to turn down, they roll the plane and pull back on the stick? Will negative Gs hurt the pilot?

In: 3

Short answer, yes.

Negative Gs are blood rushing to your head. Imagine just hanging upside down– then imagine that force like 4+ times greater in a high-speed turn. Positive Gs are much more bearable for anyone, and add that a G-suit is optimized for handling positive Gs, it lets a highly-trained pilot pull about 9 safely.

It’s also not just the pilot that wants positive G’s. The airframe and engine are designed to be more tolerant of positive G-forces as well. The negative G limit is usually lower, and may come with a time limit as well.

As for why, there’s a couple of reasons.

* Having the airframe significantly outperform the pilot isn’t of much practical benefit.
* Reducing the negative G limit can help with lightening the airframe, which leads to overall better performance.
* It’s a lot simpler to design the engine lubrication and other liquid systems to have a nominal drainage direction – which is where the time limit comes in. Negative G can be tolerated for a short duration before bad things happen.

In addition to what over people said: You can’t see “down”, your legs and the plane are in the way.