Air Combat Maneuvering
unload for knots/extension. If you must check turn to keep sight, do it at 13 or 14 units and get right
back on your unload. Do not arc!
Before the bandits nose comes on, assess the range. If you can determine that you are beyond the
capabilities of the bandits missile, you have executed a successful bug and may now RTB to the
club with your head held high. Not really, but keep in mind that the follow-on pitchback into the
threat is for training purposes only. If you are indeed within the bandits weapons engagement zone
(WEZ) as his nose comes to bear, break back into him. This, combined with use of expendables (a
timely chaff/flares call for you), will defeat his shot, if you didnt prevent the bandit from taking it
Your reengagement can take one of two forms. Either a maximum instantaneous break turn (using
all available g consistent with NATOPS), or a maximum performance pull into the vertical. Base your
choice on bandit range and nose position. If range is sufficient to keep this guy from getting around
your post, come back in nose level to slightly low in the direction of the bandit. If hes at dead six, it
doesnt matter which direction you choose, but then you wont be able to see him, will you? Unless
youre relying on Zen to time your pitchback, DONT LOSE SIGHT!
You are trying to force as neutral a pass as you can possibly get. That means maximum angles off
the tail, minimum lateral separation. If you can achieve this merge with sufficient knots (you should
have no lower than 300 KIAS), disengagement will likely be successful. Care must be taken not to
unload into the deck during execution of this bugoutyoull be real close to it.
If the merge is such that a bugout is not possible, your options vary according to the degree of
defensiveness. If the merge is close, a reversal is a good option. Betting on a delayed reaction from
the bandit, you may be able to force either a climbing one-circle fight or potentially a roller (depend-
ing on the degree of the vertical overshoot and how long it takes him to get his nose up). Either of
these could afford a better bug opportunity than the continuation of a two-circle fight.
If the bandit is able to make it around your post, you are very defensive and will be forced to continue
your turn. Energy management is paramount! Dont bleed below your tactical airspeed unless
required to keep his nose off! Its possible that the bandit sold his own soul (in terms of energy) to
arrive at this point, and the jealous conservation of your knot package could yield angles for you.
Angles lead to overshoots. Overshoots lead to bugouts.
If the bandit has buried his nose on the entry and you are unsure of your ability to generate the
extension required for a 180 out pass, pitch back vertical. Execution is critical here. You must get
the nose into the pure vertical with a nibble of buffet pull, roll the lift vector into the bandits plane of
motion, and pull into him. Hopefully, you will achieve a nosedown merge with the bandit stuck nose
high in lag. Unload for knots and evaluate the bug.
Some key considerations when performing the vertical pitchback:
You will need vertical airspeed.
You must keep him in your plane of motion. It does no good to perform an enormous
oblique arc across the sky. In fact, it will get you killed.