"...Protecting Us From Ourselves
The control limiters in the F-35 – love them or hate them – are there to help. They not only make the airplane safer, but also more effective, by allowing us to fly aggressively without worrying about breaking something or losing control.
But flying the F-35 is not completely carefree. The control engineers had to give us some rope in a few places, since doing otherwise would have compromised capability and possibly even safety. So it’s important for us to understand what’s protected and what isn’t....
…What about g? We’re mostly protected, but not completely. Interestingly, the protection is least where the maneuvering limits are the lowest: in powered approach (PA) and aerial refueling (AR). The limits in those modes are 3g and 2g, respectively, and there’s nothing to keep us from exceeding them. Why not? Because, while those limits are more than adequate for normal ops, there might be times when we need to exceed them to avoid hitting something – such as the ground, or the tanker – and our CLAW engineers have wisely decided that running into things would probably be worse than busting the g limit. So they let us bust the limit.
What about high-g maneuvering, up-and-away? For symmetric maneuvers, CLAW’s got our back: As long as we’re not rolling or yawing, we can slam the stick full aft or (ugh) forward, at any speed, at any loading. CLAW will keep g within NzW limits .... [then rolling/yawing examples]
...The bottom line: If you’re on the g-limiter and want to roll, back off a little, then roll. This will not only keep you within the rules, it will give you a better roll rate in the bargain. If you can’t back off – because, say, you’re trying not to hit the ground, or trying not to get shot (and I don’t mean by your buddy during BFM) – then do what you need to do! The worst thing that will happen is that you’ll trip an OVER G advisory or an overload HRC,[5 ...CLAW should in all cases prevent actual overload to failure, but during rolling maneuvers it may allow one of these indications to trip, requiring a maintenance inspection.] and have to explain your heroic act to the maintenance officer when you return. Presumably, the maneuver will be worth the airframe life you expend...."