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 rubbish.
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 maneuvers, 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 bogey. 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 carrier qualification (CQ), ACM probably will be your most
demanding 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.
T-45C Revision 1