A declassified Air Force video from May of this year shows the exact moment an F-16 pilot from the Arizona Air National Guard is saved by an automatic collision avoidance system after the pilot goes unconscious during a high speed turn.
This is considered to be the fourth “save” by the Automatic Ground Collision Avoidance System (Auto-GCAS) since it was first introduced to the F-16 fleet since 2014. The first aircraft to be “saved” by Auto-GCAS was an F-16 flying over Syria in 2015.
In this video, the F-16 pilot was going through basic fighter maneuver training. The pilot rolled and then began to pull the aircraft, but was rendered unconscious due to forces that were eight times earth’s gravity.
The pilot began to dive at a 55 degree angle from just over 17,000 feet at 675 miles per hour. The student then began to dive even more at a higher rate of speed and went supersonic. The instructor called “2 recover” several times.
The Auto-GCAS finally kicked in and executed a recovery maneuver at 8,760 ft. and 652 kt.
The pilot then came to and pulled back on the stick and began to increase his G’s beyond the normal recovery level.
The system pulled the plane back into level flight and the F-16 recovered in less than 30 seconds.
The Edwards AFB-based 416th Flight Test Sqdn is currently working on a Automatic Integrated Collision Avoidance System (Auto-ICAS) that combines an air collision avoidance system with the ground collision avoidance system.