Fighting Gravity

1942

Fighter pilots used to pass out during high-speed maneuvers because their bodies were subject to immense gravitational forces that made it hard for the heart to pump blood to the brain. University of Toronto medical researcher Wilbur Franks invented a suit that uses air pressure to prevent blood from pooling in the lower parts of the body. Known as the “G suit,” it was used by Allied fighter pilots in the Second World War.

Not only did the G suit give Allied pilots an advantage, today’s astronauts stay conscious during space travel thanks to a suit modeled after Franks’ design.

U of T Magazine: Defying Gravity »

The Canadian Encyclopedia: Wilbur Franks »