Air Combat Maneuvering
engagement, you may find yourself needing to disengage to increase separation in an attempt either to
redefine the fight or to bug out entirely. That decision can be based on several factorsfor example, a
superior bogey, superior numbers, low fuel state, aircraft status, or combat damage.
From a defensive position, you should attempt to disengage at a point where you have generated
maximum angles with minimal lateral separation. At that point, lower your nose and extend. Unload
immediately with 5-10 units AOA at 0.5 g, keeping the bogey in sight at all times. In order to do this, you
may have to maintain some AOB using the wing down/top rudder technique. If you were to apply only
aileron to dip the wing in your attempt to keep sight, the aircraft will turn, which is commonly referred to as
arcing. There is nothing a bogey likes to see better than an arcing target because it allows him the
opportunity to cut across your circle and decrease the separation available to successfully disengage. But
by applying top rudder, you offset the aileron input, allowing the aircraft to extend in a relatively straight line.
If you decide to bug out, continue keeping sight of the bogey by putting him at your aft visibility limit and
keep him there as long as he pursues you. It is also important that you attain as high an energy level as
possible as quickly as possible and head for the deck. By heading for the deck, you gain at least these
three assets: 1) it assists in helping you gain energy, 2) you can use the terrain to mask your visual,
electronic, and IR image, and 3) it will shrink the bogeys weapons envelope due to air density. As you
head for friendly territory, use anything you can to your advantagefor example, the sun, clouds, or haze.
Once the bogey is beyond visual range, remain unpredictable and perform belly checks (overbanking to
check areas masked by your aircraft) in random directions every four seconds. Above all else once you
are disengaged, never allow the bogey to close without making a positive defensive response.
Disengaging from a horizontal scissors might be one of the most difficult moves for a fighter pilot. Slow
speed, high AOA, and minimal separation are exactly the opposite of what a fighter would look for to
disengage successfully. The only thing worse for a fighter would be to stay in these conditions and let them
deteriorate any further. Therefore, to bug out from the horizontal scissors, maneuver to the largest out-of-
phase condition possible. Avoid highlighting your intentions, and use the element of surprise by
maintaining your AOB until your lateral separation is minimized. Roll and pull toward the bogeys extended
six while generating as many angles as possible. Once you have generated as many angles as you can,
unload, keep sight, and avoid arcing. If you are unable to fully disengage, pitchback just before the bogeys
nose is brought to bear.
To disengage from the rolling scissors, make your initial move when the bogey is committed in a nose-up
attitude as you approach your roll over the top. Instead of performing the roll, continue to pull down to a
nose-low attitude toward the bogeys six. Generate maximum angles with minimal lateral separation in an
attempt to pass the bogey head-on. Once established, unload and extend out the bogeys six keeping him
in sight at all times.
Should you be unable to successfully generate enough separation for a bugout, execute an appropriate
pitchback. On the other hand, if, after extending and gaining enough separation to reevaluate your
situation, you decide to reengage, at least try to regain cornering speed. Base your decision to reengage
on the possibility of denying the bogey turning room, ensuring at least a neutral start.
You may at times find that you have successfully countered the bogey but were unable to reduce lateral
separation. The most classic case is when you find yourself fighting the bogey directly across a circle
180 degrees out from you. This is a stalemate situation known as a lufbery, named for Raoul Lufbery, an
American ace during World War I. The lufbery is an energy-depleting fight that should be terminated at the
earliest opportunity. But avoid performing a one-move disengagement since the lateral separation and
AOT are usually not great enough to prevent the bogey from gaining the advantage.
To disengage, begin a series of unloads and pullbacks to gain airspeed and nose-to-tail separation by
reducing AOA momentarily to an unloaded condition. Maintain your AOB to disguise your extension
maneuver and pull back into the bogey to stabilize AOT. With sufficient airspeed and nose-to-tail
separation, execute your bugout or defensive pitchback. If the disengagement is unsuccessful, then you
T-45C Revision 1