The new wingman continues the lead change, stepping down without sacrificing bearing by easing the nose down
and adjusting power to keep from moving farther ahead of the new lead. As the stepdown of 5 ft is reached, the
new wingman levels off and stabilizes position by adjusting power, as necessary. The new wingman then reduces
power to move aft slowly, maintaining 10 ft of wingtip clearance and 5 ft of stepdown. He then slows aft movement
by adding power to stop on the 30-degree bearing line and stabilizes momentarily.
Once again because you are looking over your shoulder as you are moving aft, you will have a common tendency
to drift toward the lead. Ensure your head movement does not affect stick movement.
Once the aircraft is stabilized, the wingman adds power to move up the bearing line on the lead and establishes
the parade position.
The wingman then completes the lead change maneuver by moving into parade position. At this point the new lead
passes the fuel check signal, and the new wingman replies with his fuel quantity.
The wingman can refuse the lead with a negative head shake. In that case, the lead will clear the area again as the
wingman stabilizes in parade position; then, the lead will pass another lead change signal to the wingman.
The new wingman must maintain sight of the new lead throughout this maneuver to avoid a possible midair.
Cruise formation is used as an enroute formation. Cruise
formation is safer, requiring less attention to maintaining
position, provides better lookout capabilities, and is more
fuel efficient for the wingman. The cruise position allows a
section greater maneuverability than the parade formation
because the lead is not restricted to 30-degree AOB turns.
Figure 29 shows that in the cruise position the wingman
maintains a bearing of approximately 45-degrees, a
stepdown of 15 ft and a nose-to-tail separation of 20 ft. The
cruise position is defined by splitting the star on the lead's
fuselage with the lead's inboard wingtip, or aligning the
outboard aileron hinge with the danger arrow on the intake,
and by sighting along the leading edge of the horizontal
Another reference is placing the lead's hook point on his
The basic principal of cruise is that all flight members will
maintain position by sliding to the inside of the lead's radius
of turn in order to minimize throttle movements. When
maneuvering, wingmen may change their position to either
side of the lead to maintain cruise position on the inside of
the lead's turn. Nose-to-tail is primarily maintained by
utilizing radius of turn. Flying a shorter radius of turn
(increased g) with respect to the lead will decrease nose-to-
tail, while flying outside the lead's radius will increase nose-
to-tail. Mild turns may be the exception where maneuvering to the inside is not required or desired, such as
maneuvering from the initial to the break.