Air Combat Maneuvering
achieve his best rate and have the best opportunity for a neutral pass. However, if the fighter buries
his nose on the start, the bandit may make the quick decision to oppose the nose by pitching into the
vertical and repositioning lift vector onto the fighter.
By doing this, he is hoping to capitalize on the fact that a great deal of time/energy is required to
bring the fighters nose to bear, perhaps setting up a high-to-low neutral merge from which the bandit
can disengage. The counter from the fighter is not difficult. A quick unload will give the fighter
over-the-top airspeed (although it may not be required). From here, the fighter needs merely to
pure pursuit the bandit until his flight path is established nose low, at which time, aggressively lead to
a tracking solution. This is one time that the bandits post is so close to his jet (reduced turn radius
through slow airspeed and radial g), that aggressive lead cant hurt. Because the bandits nose is
established nose low, he is unable to capitalize on an in-close overshoot with a reversal.
If the bandit has telegraphed his flight path by failing to put the fighter in his plane of motion, the
solution becomes even easier. Preserve your airspeed by lead turning the bandit nose low. Con-
tinue the pursuit to guns using appropriate high and low yo-yos.
Depending on your mission, it is usually desirable to stay engaged until you accomplish a kill. But
the longer you stay engaged, the greater the chance of being killed. If the time-to-kill becomes a
factor, it is sometimes prudent to bug out and live to fight another day. Because one of the most
important factors determining your ability to stay engaged is your fuel state, monitor your fuel and
plan to disengage before fuel becomes critical. The bandit pilot can add a flag to the side of his
cockpit if you flameout and lose your aircraft. Also, a bugout obviously becomes necessary if your
aircraft has mechanical problems, you have expended your ordnance, or you have a misfire.