I just watched a video of a acrobatic pilot doing stunts, it involved a type of stall, not sure which one though. Long story short he overcompensated(?) which caused him to pass out, and then he crashed in the lake. Honestly I’m surprised this doesn’t happen more often. What kind of safety measures do they take when pulling off maneuvers that come close to the ground and would require a fast change in angle of attack?

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    $\begingroup$ Is this the Red Bull Air Race pilot who just clipped the water, or are you talking full on crash? Unrelated but your title and question body seem to ask 2 different questions. WHich did you want answered? $\endgroup$ – Jamiec Apr 14 '20 at 16:12
  • $\begingroup$ @Jamiec oh I meant to ask the same question as the title. No it didn’t look a Red Bull pilot. Video looked old, but this nailed the water. I didn’t read too far into it but I’m sure he died. He almost hit a boat too $\endgroup$ – George Clooney In a Mooney Apr 14 '20 at 16:18
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    $\begingroup$ You might be interested in watching the William Wyler documentary "Thunderbolt!", which shows a P-47 pilot blacking out when recovering from a dive bombing run. You can find it on Netflix and I think on YouTube. $\endgroup$ – Fred Larson Apr 14 '20 at 16:49
  • $\begingroup$ @FredLarson thank you! I’ll have to take a look! $\endgroup$ – George Clooney In a Mooney Apr 15 '20 at 19:16

There are certain things you can do to increase your G tolerance without a G suit, mostly static tension exercises like squeezing your diaphragm, lower torso and thigh muscles, isometric exercise style, to slightly slow down the blood flow to your legs during the pull. Plus just really good physical fitness so your body can handle weighing 4 or 5 times normal for short periods (neck muscles are critical for this, more so if you're wearing a helmet).

Beyond that, and without a G suit, it's just awareness of how hard you can pull and knowing where to ease off. You have a G meter in the plane to indicate where you are, but if experienced you should be able to tell within reason by the sensation.

You start to lose your vision (grey out) before you pass out completely, so that is a key warning sign that you'd better back off right now. However someone who pulls too hard too fast may pass through the grey out period to pass out phase too quickly and it's lights out for a bit. In the end, the pilot just misjudged and screwed up, probably by getting himself into a situation where the choice was to pull too hard or hit the ground.

Great link provided by a commenter for more info.


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