The geometry of high angle of attack maneuvers and the implications for Gy-induced neck injuries

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Newman, David G.
Ostler, David
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2011
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Introduction: Modern super agile fighter aircraft have significantly expanded maneuverability envelopes, often involving very high angles of attack (AOA) in the post-stall region. One such maneuver is the high AOA velocity vector roll. The geometry of this flight maneuver is such that during the roll there is a significant lateral G load imposed on the unrestrained head-neck complex of the pilot. Methods: A mathematical analysis of the geometric relationship determining the magnitude of ±Gy acceleration during high AOA maneuvering was conducted. This preliminary mathematical model is able to predict the Gy load imposed on the head-neck complex of the pilot for a given set of flight maneuver parameters. Results: The analysis predicts that at an AOA of 70° and with a roll rate of 100° · s− 1, the lateral G developed will be approximately 3.5 Gy. Increasing the roll rate increases the lateral G component: at 200° · s− 1 the Gy load is more than 6 Gy. Conclusions: There are serious potential implications of super agile maneuvers on the neck of the pilot. The G environment experienced by the pilot of super agile aircraft is increasingly multiaxial, involving ±Gx, ±Gy, and ±Gz. The level of lateral G developed during these dynamic flight maneuvers should not be underestimated, as such G loads can potentially lead to neck injuries. While aircraft become ever more capable, a full understanding of the biodynamic effects on the pilot while exploiting the agility of the aircraft still needs to be developed.

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Aviation Space and Environmental Medicine

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82

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8

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Medical Physiology not elsewhere classified

Human Movement and Sports Sciences

Medical Physiology

Public Health and Health Services

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