Acceleration is defined as the rate of change of velocity. If the velocity of an object is increased from 20 mph to 30 mph, the object has been accelerated. If the increase in velocity is 10 mph in 5 seconds, the rate of change in velocity is 10 mph in 5 seconds, or 2 mph per second. If this were multiplied by 1.467, it could also be expressed as an acceleration of 2.93 feet per second per second (fps/s). By comparison, the acceleration due to gravity is 32.2 fps/s.
To calculate acceleration, the following formula is used.
Example: An Air Force F-15 fighter is cruising at 400 mph. The pilot advances the throttles to full afterburner and accelerates to 1,200 mph in 20 seconds. What is the average acceleration in mph/s and fps/s?
In the example just shown, the acceleration was found to be 58.7 fps/s. Since 32.2 fps/s is equal to the acceleration due to gravity, divide the F-15’s acceleration by 32.2 to find out how many G forces the pilot is experiencing. In this case, it would be 1.82 Gs.