AIR FORCE T-38 TRACK INTERMEDIATES
Communications are an excellent indicator of flight discipline. All communication must be
clearly understood by every flight member. During this phase of training, Lead may direct radio
frequency changes with a visual signal or radio call, whichever is most convenient. Lead will
initiate a positive check-in on all new frequencies. Wing does not repeat visual signals, but
should acknowledge with a head nod. If unsure of a signal, do not respond, and Lead should
repeat it. If unable to comply with a signal, shake it off. Radios can be used to avoid confusion
or anytime it is required for safety of flight.
Radio discipline requires not only clarity and brevity in the message, but limiting unnecessary
transmissions as well. The first part of any radio call should always be a full call sign (e.g.,
Knight 11, go channel 3). This step serves to alert the listener (Wingman) that a message is
coming (the attention step) and to specify who is making the call or to whom it is directed. The
second part is the execution step and tells the flight member the action to be taken. Relying on
voice recognition or tone/inflection to identify another aircraft is not adequate. Wingmen should
acknowledge with call sign and repeat any specific data required unless briefed otherwise (e.g.,
Knight 11, go channel 5, acknowledgments: "Two"). If calls are unclear, query the Flight Lead.
Use complete call signs and make commands, directions, or information clear and concise.
Limit radio use to essential calls. To keep radio calls to a minimum, use visual signals when
Ensure calls are clear and concise, and combine calls when practical. Radio channel changes
may be directed at any time. Delay flight check-in as necessary based on Wingman capability or
flight conditions. Based on proficiency, Flight Leads should consider putting Wingmen in Route
to perform cockpit tasks.
Change radio channels only when directed by the Flight Lead and only after all flight members
have acknowledged. When performing a channel change, maintain your formation position
unless otherwise briefed. A technique would be to count clicks while rotating the selectors and
then confirm proper mode and frequency. Wingmen will mimic the format of the Flight Lead's
calls, but provide accurate information (e.g., "Knight 11, Ops check," "1's 5.0, 4.2 Gs," "2's 5.0,
4 Gs"). Unless briefed, the Flight Lead speaks for the flight when communicating with other
agencies until flight split up. Wingmen will respond to all directive calls, unless briefed
otherwise. An exception to this is tactical maneuvering (e.g., "Knight 11, 90 left," no response
required). No response necessary since the Flight Lead can see movement to the position.
Conversely, "Knight 31, fence-in." Two." The Flight Lead cannot witness switch actuation.
4-4 T-38 FORMATION BASICS