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CHAPTER 5
AIR FORCE T-38 TRACK INTERMEDIATES
502.
FORMATION TAKEOFF
a. Description. Two aircraft taking off with a minimum of 10 feet of wing tip spacing.
Two maintains the Fingertip line throughout takeoff roll and liftoff.
b. General. Formation Takeoffs are used to launch multiple aircraft quickly without the
necessity for a Rejoin after takeoff. Flight members fly formation from brake release throughout
rotation and into the airborne phase. Lead must use a reduced power takeoff to give the
Wingman some power advantage to maintain position during the takeoff roll. The Wingman will
be required to make small power corrections to avoid overrunning Lead or falling behind.
c. Procedures. Formation Takeoffs will always be done using the entire length of the
runway; they will never be done from mid-field. Formation Takeoffs are prohibited when the
crosswind (including gust factor) exceeds a maximum of 10 knots, the minimum runway width is
less than 100 feet, or the weather ceiling is below circling approach minimums for the runway in
use. Once cleared, the formation will maneuver to the center of their respective sides of the
runway (Lead should make sure that he gives Two enough room to maneuver), with a minimum
of 10 feet of wingtip separation. Lead will position the Wingman upwind. If winds are calm or
straight down the runway, position the Wingman on the inside of the first turn out of the pattern.
If IMC conditions are expected during the turn out of the pattern, it may be desirable to place
your Wingman on the outside of the turn (if winds are not a factor). The Wingman will line up
the leading edge of his wing with the trailing edge of Lead's horizontal stabilizer. Complete the
Takeoff Checklist and proceed as follows:
Lead:
Wing:
(1)
Observe Wingman until Wingman (1)
Once lined up in the proper
gives head nod indicating ready to
takeoff position and ready to
proceed.
proceed give head nod.
(2)
When the Wingman is in position, (2)
Acknowledge signal with head
give the run-up signal (Appendix A).
nod.
Check Wing for acknowledgment.
(3)
Hold brakes firmly. Set 500 ft-lbs, (3)
Hold brakes firmly. Set 500 ft-
check engine instruments.
lbs, check engine instruments.
(4)
Check Wing's aircraft.
(4)
Check Lead's aircraft.
(5)
Look to Wing for head nod.
(5)
Give head nod when ready.
Give  brake  release  signal  and (6)
Release brakes and advance
(6)
smoothly advance power to max
power to max and then adjust
then reduce PCL slightly to set 950
power as necessary to maintain
ft-lbs while simultaneously releasing
position during takeoff roll.
brakes and commence takeoff roll.
The brake release signal by Lead is crucial to the Formation Takeoff Roll. As Lead, when Two
is ready, give the preparatory signal by tapping your helmet and incline your head backward
pausing momentarily, then nod forward so that as your chin hits your chest, you release brakes
5-2 T-38 FORMATION ADMIN


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