Shortly after we ran our intercept with the other F18, it was time to play a bit. Enough sightseeing. Mark demonstrated a loop pulling about 3 g's at the bottom. Unlike hang gliding we didn't have to dive first, ... just start the climb when you like. I tried one from a slight dive and found it quite easy. Actually I had been playing around with a space shuttle simulator for a few weeks prior and the instrumentation was nearly identical with regards to roll and attitude display and using the g meter it was cake. One problem though. G's are hard to handle. My computer chair only pulls one g unless I've had too much to drink. This machine leaves you physically strained to stay conscious.
Years back while letting my sailplane instructor demonstrate a loop and relaxing through it I actually lost vision with only 3 g's. The vision loss started about 4 seconds after the pull and began with a loss of peripheral and quickly left me with tunnel vision that went purple and disappeared then within a second came back much the reverse as it started. I did not want to miss out in this flight or take a hit on my manhood so in proper fashion I tightened up my legs and gut pulling these 3 g's while looping the F-18.
As mentioned in the preflight training, part of the flight gear is a G suit. . During the hook-in procedure the hose that comes out of the side of the pants is inserted to an air supply. The idea is that air is pumped into the bladders and squeezes one's legs and gut not allowing blood to settle into the lower extremities during high G maneuvers. I figured that this suit must be malfunctioning since during the looping maneuvers it didn't do a thing. I queried Mark about the lack of g-suit function and he told me it doesn't kick in until high g maneuvers.
I guess high g maneuvers means more than 3 g's but I'll tell you right here and now , 2 g's is fun, 3 g's is an effort, and when Mark showed me 4 g's , the suit started to work (thank god) and it is WORK. The necessary effort to tighten up one's gut and legs in the effort to blow blood up to the brain is extremely physical work. Maybe I did more work than needed to stay conscious but for an extended 4.5 g turn that Mark pulled (about 20 seconds long) I stayed awake, kept seeing, but I sounded like a hyperventilating bull.
Then Mark said ... "how about 7.5 g's?" I said ... "I don't think so." And the next thing I knew he said something about being able to take it and with about a 90 degree bank at about 500 or 600 mph with the stick full aft I snorted and grunted and after about 8 to 10 seconds he leveled off. I know I stayed awake and just as he leveled off my vision started to go into the tunnel vision mode. The g meter showed we had sustained a 7.6 g turn . Lets go WAY beyond work... this kind of punishment is torture. My hat is off to the guys who not only deal with such physical forces, but work both the flight controls, avionics and radar systems, and are being chased and shot at , at the same time. My guess is that when they say that dog fights last only a few minutes it is because the losers simply blacked out and crashed.