Oldies and Oddities: Lying Down on the Job
Piloting in the prone position
- By Graham Chandler
- Air & Space magazine, September 2011
(Page 2 of 2)
Flying straight and level, “a feeling of complete relaxation could be achieved,” the IAM’s 1955 final report read. High speed in turbulence, however, was unnerving. “There was a tendency to pound up and down on the couch making breathing difficult. It was impossible to keep the head still, and the chin was continually banged on the chin rest, making navigation difficult.”
Overall, prone piloting did improve G tolerance, but the big drawback for fighter jocks was that their ability to look around and back was restricted. By the mid-1950s, anti-G suits had advanced sufficiently that the prone-pilot idea could be scrapped. The homely testbed, with its long snout and twin bubble canopies, is on display at RAF Museum Cosford in England.