Eli5 Why do fighter pilots turn up?

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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.