The increasing performance of combat aircraft in the postwar years saw
aircrews subjected to greater and greater acceleration or g forces during
manoeuvres. Reducing the distance that blood has to pump from the heart
to the brain increases tolerance to g. Lying prone would theoretically give the
pilot an edge in a dogfight. To test this concept for a proposed British rocket
interceptor, a Meteor F.8 fighter was modified with an additional cockpit in
a forward fuselage extended by 2.39m. A safety pilot remained in
the notmal cockpit. Tests showed the prone pilot could indeed endure
slightly more g, but suffered from vertigo, couldn't see very much -
particularly behind him - and became tired quickly. After 55 hours of flight
testing the idea was abandoned.
| ENGINE||2 x 1634kg Rolls-Royce Derwent 8 tutbojets|
| Take-off weight||7122 kg||15701 lb|
| Wingspan||11.32 m||37 ft 2 in|
| Length||15.98 m||52 ft 5 in|
| Height||4.24 m||14 ft 11 in|
| Max. speed||962 km/h||598 mph|
|David Oliver Richards, e-mail, 02.10.2007||reply|
This aircraft now resides in the RAF Cosford museum!
Do you have any comments?
FACTS AND FIGURES
© In the event of an emergency on take-off
or near landing, the nosegcar would have
to be retracted before the prone pilot could
slide backwards and open an escape hatch.
© To balance the longer
nose, the tail unit of a
Meteor NF.12 night fighter
© The rudder was operated by moving
the ankles on a foot bar, although
this worked in the opposite
direction to normal. The joystick
was replaced by two short sticks.
© The prone pilot had controls for
almost everything except engine
starting and the fuel system. The
narrow fuselage meant a very
small instrument panel.