25 May 2011

Seedhouse Completes High-G Jet Training

Adding to his recent high altitude and G-tolerance training, A4H member Dr. Erik Seedhouse completed unusual attitude training in a BAE Hawk 115 at 15 Wing of the Canadian Forces Base in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. The training allowed him to develop aerobatic skills to track and control aircraft motion paths during unusual attitudes and high G-forces.  His first-hand account of the exciting activity follows.

At 0700 on 17th May I went to the Aviation Life Support Equipment (ALSE) office for my G-suit fitting which took about 30 minutes. After being fitted, the G-suit was tested on a rig to make sure the thing inflated properly.  Once that was done I moved on to the helmet fit.  Then, it was time for a review of how the parachute works – how to steer, when to release the survival pack (that's the yellow pack you can under my backside), and what to do if you have 'twists'.

Next, it was time to visit the ejection seat trainer and take an ALSE exam on what to do and not do in the event of an ejection.

After all the ALSE preparation, I waited until the next day for the Hawk flight. The Hawk can reach Mach 0.88 in level flight and Mach 1.15 in a dive. The airframe is stressed for +9 g, but the normal service limit service is +7.5/-4 g. My flight was scheduled at 0855 on Wednesday. My pilot was a German exchange pilot – Hank - who had 3000 hours in the Hawk. We listened to the METAR weather report and had the flight brief before getting suited up and walking out to the aircraft: I was grinning like Cheshire cat!

We had lifted off and within seconds were flying at 500 knots. It was surreal, because there was hardly a sound and the jet was solid as a rock – no buffetting. Nothing!. Hank gave a running commentary of what he was doing as he cranked on the speed – 530, 540, 550. Beautiful. Above the clouds at 12,000 feet, he handed me control. Awesome – that was why that word was created by the way – to describe moments just like this – absolutely awesome. I flew some tight G turns and generally flew around the area before handing the controls back to Hank who demonstrated the high G onset – 6.5 G’s in less than half a second. Wow! The 1.3 hours went by way too fast. What a ride!

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