This post mentions that if a Red Bull Air Race pilot exceeds 10G acceleration limit for longer than 0.6s on their plane then they are unconditionally disqualified with "did not finish" result no matter how they perform otherwise.

What's the purpose of this restriction? Is this to prevent the airplane from falling apart or pilot getting unconscious during the (low altitude) race?

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    $\begingroup$ This is not unprecedented in racing. In WRC Rally car racing, if there are race stages that allow speeds of greater than 130km/h, that stage can be canceled for safety reasons. Stock car racing requires governors on the engines to effectively cap horsepower and therefore speed. $\endgroup$
    – JPhi1618
    Commented Jan 22, 2018 at 17:03
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    $\begingroup$ Probably more important than protecting the pilot, it protects spectators from an unconscious pilot's plane wondering into a crowd i.e the 2011 P51 Reno Air Race crash. $\endgroup$
    – jwzumwalt
    Commented Jan 22, 2018 at 18:28
  • $\begingroup$ @JPhi1618: To add on your comment (I remembered WRC broadcasts showing onboards where the speed is > 200 kph so tried to look this up): I think in WRC, it's about average speed and it's not written in stone. In NASCAR, there are restrictor plate races where plates are installed which put a hard, physical cap on engine power (leading to, IMHO, knowing my opinion is often strange :D) really great races with all cars cramped together, leading to a test of one's nerves and psyche. $\endgroup$
    – phresnel
    Commented Jan 23, 2018 at 13:34

2 Answers 2


It's a safety rule to protect the limits of the airframe and the pilot.

See the video (also on youtube) from this Red Bull Air Race page which explains the rules. The G-limit is discussed from 3:30.

The following is a quote from the relevant section of the video.

Maximum load factor, that is how much G's is the pilot pulling. That has issues [...] the structure of the airplane is designed to withstand a certain amount of G. We need to ascertain, to check, that the pilot isn't exceeding that amount of G, so we monitor that very carefully. A thousand times a second we're monitoring the G inputs that the pilot is putting on the airplane. So if you exceed the maximum G's then DNF (Did Not Finish)

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    $\begingroup$ It's a sensible rule IMO, otherwise pilots will be tempted to push themselves and their airplanes just a little harder each time, and someone would eventually get killed. $\endgroup$
    – GdD
    Commented Jan 22, 2018 at 15:12
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    $\begingroup$ @GdD Or, perhaps just as badly, people would lose solely because they were unwilling to gamble with their life. Without the rule, the competition could become closer to Russian roulette than any real show of skill (in theory, anyway). $\endgroup$
    – KRyan
    Commented Jan 22, 2018 at 20:24

It can be safety limits as discussed above or for operational prudence. One other possibility is to place limitations on the types of maneuvers which could be performed for strategy reasons ie limits to the radius of turns or vertical maneuvers for added challenge in energy management.


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