Air Combat Maneuvering
Baron Manfred von Richthofen, the infamous Red Baron of World War I, once described the basic
scope of air combat maneuvering as fighter pilots roving in an area allotted to them, spotting an
enemy, attacking, and shooting him down. The mission statement is grossly over-simplified when
you take into account all the principles of todays loose deuce maneuvering, along with modern
technology and sophisticated weapon systems. The statement does, however, point out two key
concepts in ACM: 1) the basics of ACM have not changed since the early days of aviation, and 2) a
fighter pilot must maintain constant aggressiveness for success. As the Baron would say, All else is
As you move through ACM, you will expand on the basic tactical maneuvers learned in TacForm.
You will first review the basic performance of low/high yo-yos and displacement rolls, and then be
introduced to additional basic ACM maneuvers, proven tactically sound since the Barons time.
Unlike previous blocks, your success will be gauged not on how well you perform particular maneu-
vers, but on how well you integrate them with tactics and strategies to win one-versus-one against an
enemy. Finally, you will be introduced to coordinating your flying with a wingman and practicing
loose deuce maneuvering against a single bandit. What you learn here will go with you throughout
your career in tactical aviation.
By the time you complete ACM, you will not be an expert. That happens only in time through
constant coaching, practice, and experience. Next to CQ, ACM probably will be your most demand-
ing phase of flight training, requiring immense concentration and attention to your instructors. You
must go beyond just mastering the procedures and concepts presented in the classroom or simply
applying them in the air. ACM is in many ways an art formthe ultimate art form of aviation. How
well you assimilate those principles, maneuvers, tactics, and strategies will depend upon an open
mind and your willingness to never give up.