I want to start by saying this is my very first blog, so I am very excited to share my experience as a female pilot. You are probably wondering why this website is called Gmaneuver. I am interested in the physics behind flight, so I along with my sister took the initiative to create a website for female pilots and pilots in general. This is why I decided this first blog would be dedicated to explaining G force and its effects. G force is in simple terms the gravitational force on a specific planet. Have you ever heard someone who does aeronautics say “That’s a lot of G’s”? You guessed it. The G’s that they are referring to are the gravitational force that acts on the pilot and/or passengers of the aircraft. When you fly in an airplane (commercial planes) you only experience about 1.2 G’s which is not a lot at all. On the other hand, fighter jet pilots can pull as many as 9 G’s without harming themselves. When I learned about this I’m pretty sure I was amazed. I am going to divide this blog into two main parts.
The physics behind G force and
The actual effects of it on a pilot/passenger.
Let's get started!
The Physics behind G force may seem complicated, but is simpler than it seems. In physics G force is defined as something slightly different. It is the acceleration of an object in reference to the Earth’s gravity. If you are sitting on a chair as you are reading this, you are currently feeling about 1 G of force. This is the G force experienced by all humans on the surface of the Earth. Humans are relatively used to this 1 G environment. In a 1 G environment our heart is able to pump into organs such as the heart. The trouble of G’s comes in when we experience more G’s. This is when the force is so much that our blood cannot reach our heart, and we pass out. We will talk more about this in the next section. Back to Physics. The Main concept you need to know is acceleration. Acceleration is the change in velocity of an object. On the earth, any object that is dropped regardless of mass or weight, will fall towards the ground at the same velocity. This is because of the gravitational pull of the Earth. You may also be wondering why I am using a big G instead of a little g to annotate G force. Little g actually symbolizes the gravitational pull which in the Earth’s case is 9.81m/s^2. To put it all together G force is simply the acceleration of an object in a given direction with regards to the gravitational pull.
G force has many effects on the human body. I talked a little bit about how G force actually allows blood to reach our heart and other organs such as our brain. With too many G’s the blood cannot reach that high, and the momentary loss of oxygen to our brain leads to us passing out. IF you are interested in seeing this for yourself there are many videos online showing the tremendous effect of G force on our body. You can also always go try it yourself. Who knows it may become your new passion. There are of course instances that result in hundreds of G’s. The most common scenario would be a collision such as a car crash. For a few brief moments our bodies can feel an average of 150 G’s. However, if you are wearing the seatbelt correctly, you are lowering the G’s you experience to about 20 G’s. If you forget to wear your seatbelt, remember these statistics. A seatbelt may very well be your life line in these severe situations. Scientists have also discovered a suit called a g-suit or an anti-g suit which is a suit that pilots can wear to prevent from blacking out. The suit actually has inflatable bladders which push the blood upwards into the torso. These suits are constantly evolving to be most efficient. G suits may actually become the causal attire for all fighter jet pilots in the near future, to keep them safe. Next time you look into the sky, remember that nothing is impossible. You are as capable as anyone else to fly a plane. Don’t let go of your dreams and continue to do what you love.