Air Combat Maneuvering
In order for you to be effective in ACM, the geometry of your maneuvering requires the timely and
dynamic use of multiple planes.
Now that we know the airspace in which we are operating, we need to examine the airplane and how
it will operate in that environment. We will define operational maneuverability as your capability to
perform changes in altitude, airspeed, and direction. It is limited, however, by several fixed and
The fixed factors include the structural limitations, the thrust-to-weight limitations, and the wing-
loading capability of your aircraft. The structural limitations include both the maximum lift that can be
supported by an airframe and the maximum-g capability that will vary with fuel and ordnance loads.
You should know the picture of these limitations. The Vn diagram in Figure 5 clearly shows the
operating envelope that illustrates the load factor and g limitations of the T-45A. As you will soon
see, the critical section of the Vn diagram is the area surrounding cornering speed. Without going
into great detail, you must calculate certain factors related to this envelope in your headwork for
ACM, factors that can give you an edge not only in training but also in real-world combat.
Specific Data TBD
Figure 5: T-45A Vn DIAGRAM