Air Combat Maneuvering
Disengaging from a roller is much easier than from a flat scissors, although you will still need to set it
up. From your perspective as a defensive fighter, the more vertical this fight goes, the better. The
optimum bug scenario has you nose down on the backside with the bandit nose high on the other
side. As long as the roller keeps a heavy amount of its horizontal component, the bandit will be able
to easily dump his nose and bring it to bear as soon as he recognizes the bug attempt. The key is to
force him to park it up there so high, that by the time he figures out whats going on, hes too slow to
do anything about it.
That all sounds easy enough, but how is it done? You have to be willing to give up a few angles
without letting the overall roller lose its one-circle characteristics. When pulling into the vertical,
delay the horizontal pull until airspeed forces the nose to come down (around 170-180 KIAS). Be
willing to continue pulling nose high even after the bandit has bottomed out, but before he can get his
lift vector on. He knows that he cannot go right to lead unless you bury the nose coming out of the
vertical, so dont do it. If you need to hold lag pursuit nose low to avoid sending your lift vector too
far down range, pull a little power. This will prevent the airspeed from accelerating out of control as
you come off the g.
For this bugout to be successful, youve got to get this guys nose parked up. But if you wait for this
to happen, youll already be coming through the bottom, under g, and not in any position to unload.
An insurmountable problem? Not if you employ a little trickery.
This airplane accelerates quite nicely at 0 g, regardless of attitude. If you initiate your unload as the
nose comes out of the vertical, but remain inverted, you will appear to be remaining in the fight. The
bandit must, therefore, honor this and continue into the vertical. He only has to remain fooled for the
length of time it takes to pull his jet from 40 degrees or so nose high, to around 60. Thats about two
potatoes. You may then roll upright, check turn to keep him in sight, and proceed with your bug,
laughing all the way. Who cares if he knows what youre up to. There wont be anything he can do
about it except wave goodbye.
If you are unable to initiate a bug and remain in the roller, the deck will become a factor. If it
becomes your limiting factor first, your choices are twofold. If you reverse one circle, the bandit will
simply use whatever altitude remains below, and convert it to position advantage. If it is minimal, he
will probably trade whatever energy advantage he has and sky you. You will be unable to follow. If,
however, there is little altitude below and the bandit has a similar energy state, you may well find
yourself in a relatively neutral flat scissors. This is obviously the best result.
The other option is to simply transition to a rate fight on the deck. This is not a bad option if the
bandit is late to recognize whats going on and remains in lag (continues to pull into the vertical). If
this is the case, expect to outrate him, possibly achieving a neutral position across the circle.
However, if he recognizes it early, hell simply pull lead while you are busy negotiating the deck
transition and your lift vector is off him.
LOW ANGLE SET
This will, perhaps, be your least enjoyable set. Prior to the bandits nose coming to bear, break into
him to either keep his missile on the rails or defeat any shot he fires. Here, you must evaluate the
bandits next move. If he goes immediately to lag, you may have an opportunity to unload for knots.
Hes forcing a two-circle fight with this moveyou need to prepare for it. If there is enough of a
flight-path overshoot, reverse into the bandit and continue the unload.