Air Combat Maneuvering
climb early to reduce airspeed loss and minimize nose-to-tail separation. Pull for a shot and remain in-
phase using a combination or a variation of high and low yo-yos.
For most aircraft with less than a one-to-one thrust-to-weight ratio, the rolling scissors is a descending
series of barrel rolls because of the heavy use of the vertical. To successfully roll through the bottom and
continue in the rolling scissors, you will need approximately 2,500 ft above the hard deck. As you
approach the deck, one or both of you must either flatten the roller, convert the maneuver to a horizontal
scissors, disengage, or be scraped off the deck.
Converting a roller to a flattened scissors reduces the vertical separation. This conversion usually occurs
when you run out of altitude to continue your offensive pursuit. Flattening the scissors will work to your
advantage only if your energy state has not deteriorated below that of the bogeys. If his energy is greater
than yours, he can generate sufficient vertical displacement for subsequent rolls instead of flattening his
scissors, thus forcing you out in front.
Assuming your energy packages are at least equal, flatten the scissors after reaching the top by
continuing to roll through more rapidly. Put your lift vector slightly in front of the bogey to both shallow
your slice turn and miss the deck. If the bogey rolls through without being aware of an altitude problem,
he will hit the deck. However, if he is aware of the altitude and your tactic, he will be forced to put his lift
vector out in front, resulting in reordering the relative geometry.
A roller can be converted to a horizontal scissors at any time, but it must be converted when altitude
becomes a factor. Typically, flattening a roller results in a horizontal scissors if the bogey follows through
on your tactic. If you decide to convert a normal rolling scissors to a horizontal scissors, remain nose-high
at the top of the roller and continue to pull back toward the bogey to generate an overshoot. Instead of
rolling through the vertical, reverse nose-high and pull back toward the bogeys six forcing him out in front
of your position, resulting in a horizontal scissors.
Should you decide to enter the horizontal scissors during a normal roller, you will be bleeding off a
tremendous amount of energy. If the bogey is smart, he will convert his kinetic to potential energy by
going vertical and, more than likely, will get an offensive advantage on you.
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 bogey 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.
For a thorough discussion of disengagements and bugouts, refer to the defensive disengagement/bugout
T-45C Revision 1