F-22 Raptor Pulls High Gs, Looks Cool Doing It

At first glance, it would seem only the capabilities of the human body limit the number of Gs a military aircraft can pull. And that's not far from the truth.
F-22 Raptor over Alaska base during exercise 13 photos
Photo: USAF/Airman 1st Class Patrick Sullivan
F-22 Raptor over Alaska base during exerciseF-22 Raptor and the American flagF-22 Raptor taking off from Alaska baseF-22 Raptor taking off from HawaiiF-22 Raptor taking offF-22 Raptor over Nellis Air Force BaseF-22 RaptorF-22 RaptorF-22 RaptorF-22 RaptorF-22 RaptorF-22 Raptor
First, what is a G? Simply put, that would be the gravitational force that causes the perception of mass. Even simpler, it's the weight a person feels pressing down on them during acceleration. Because airplanes operate in three dimensions, in their case we’re not talking about linear one only, as pilots experience negative, right and left, positive, and transverse acceleration as well.

We humans can comfortably withstand a meager 1 G (9.8 meter/second squared), which is the standard gravitational force at the surface of the planet we call home. Even here on the ground though, certain environments, like say fast-moving cars, can produce more than that – Formula 1 pilots, for instance, are known to experience up to 6 Gs when cornering at high speeds.

Up in the air, the force is almost always (as in during each maneuver) higher than 1. A well-trained and properly equipped pilot can withstand, and still be able to function, as much as nine Gs.

As far as aircraft are concerned, nobody really knows what’s the limit. It’s generally agreed some of these flying metal birds can pull up to 15 Gs and don’t break apart, but given how literally no one reached that, it’s hard to say what’s the limit.

The F-22 you see in the main photo of this piece is performing a banking right turn, while apparently climbing, that more than surely puts a lot of pressure on both the machine and the human in control of it. Despite this, it manages to look like this is something it regularly does (and for all intents and purposes, that’s true), and doesn’t lose its head over it.

The plane, going straight in our Photo of the Day section, is deployed with the 3rd Wing and is seen here over Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Alaska, while taking part in the Polar Force 22-4 exercise at the end of March.
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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