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

David G. Newman, David Ostler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


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 ± G y acceleration during high AOA maneuvering was conducted. This preliminary mathematical model is able to predict the G y 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 o and with a roll rate of 100 o · s -1, the lateral G developed will be approximately 3.5 G y. Increasing the roll rate increases the lateral G component: at 200 o · s -1 the G yload is more than ± G y. 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 ± G x, ± G y, and ± G z. 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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)819-824
Number of pages6
JournalAviation Space and Environmental Medicine
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Acceleration
  • Biodynamic
  • Super agile

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