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CHAPTER 4
T-38 FORMATION BASICS
400.
GENERAL
a. Philosophy
The Air Force Jet formation stage of training is the primary focus of your intermediate "top-
off" at Whiting. Air Force formation will tie in all your previous training into one mission.
Elements of your Contact, INAV, and FORM hops will show up in successful execution of the
T-38 FORM syllabus. Formation is the longest stage of training at Vance and will be weighed
heavily in the final determination of your standing in your class. All the fundamentals taught in
your T-38 FORM rides here at Whiting will carry over into T-38s and further on into whatever
operational fighter you end up flying.
The T-38 FORM rides that you will fly during this syllabus closely resemble what you are
actually going to do in the real world: take a formation of airplanes to a working area (or hostile
airspace), safely execute planned mission requirements, and return that formation safely. The
effectiveness of formation mission execution is highly dependent on solid flight discipline.
Flight discipline originates in mission preparation, transitions to the flight briefing, ground
operations, work area, and terminates after the debriefing. Strict flight discipline is absolutely
essential for successful mission execution.
More than any other phase of training, T-38 FORM builds confidence and teaches discipline
and the proper application of aggressiveness in military flying. Aggressiveness is an attitude not
to be confused with abrupt flight control movement or reckless abandon. Aggressiveness in
flying is an attitude toward perfect execution, whether that is being aggressive about being
exactly on altitude or exactly in position during formation, with no deviations whatsoever. The
T-38 Intermediate syllabus is your first exposure to the mindset of using an airplane as a weapon,
not just as a conveyance from one point to another. The maneuvers introduced and flown in this
phase of training will allow you to explore the performance envelope of the aircraft, while
building confidence and improving your formation flying abilities.
In this phase of training, the procedures are not as rigid as they were in Primary. This will
require adaptability and flexibility on the part of all flight members. The students will be
responsible for planning and executing the flight sequence. A solid plan will help eliminate
"droning" or wasting time, a luxury you will not have in the T-38. When planning the sequence,
consider energy management, airspace requirements, event length, and transit times. In the T-38,
and in subsequent aircraft, you will not have the luxury of a lot of gas on board, you will be fuel
limited almost right after takeoff so there will be no time for delays due to poor planning and
execution.
NOTE: Factors such as weather or airspace restrictions may force deviations from the planned
sequence. It is Lead's responsibility to adapt and complete all required maneuvers if
possible.
T-38 FORMATION BASICS 4-1


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