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AIR FORCE T-38 TRACK INTERMEDIATES
CHAPTER 5
and smoothly advance power to max then reduce PCL slightly to set 950 ft-lbs. As Lead,
maintain a straight track down the center of your side of the runway. At approximately 70 KIAS
begin a slow rotation to the takeoff attitude and maintain it (cowl seam slightly below the
horizon). Allow the aircraft to fly itself off the ground. Once both aircraft are safely airborne,
check the fuel caps, give the gear up execution signal (Appendix A), and retract the gear. Since
this is a predetermined action, no preparatory signal is required. To signal gear up, lower your
head (chin toward chest) and place your hand on the gear handle. Verify airspeed below 120
KIAS. Simultaneously raise your head back to the upright (exaggerated motion) and retract the
gear. After takeoff and gear retraction, look over to Two and verify that his gear appears up and
locked; Two will give Lead a thumbs up if the gear appears up and locked. Lead will return the
signal to indicate the same for Two (do not compromise the departure to do this).
The Wingman will automatically maneuver to Fingertip (simulating going into the weather).
As Lead, since we are taking off from the approach end of the active runway, start to work your
level off at around 500 feet on the altimeter to comply with the 700 - 800 feet altitude restriction
on course rules. Once the Wingman is safely airborne, with gear retracted, smoothly reduce
power to 850 ft-lbs and fly the departure.
NOTE: Depending on the wind conditions at takeoff, your Wingman may be in either a left or
right Fingertip position. If you want your Wingman on a specific side, you may
reposition him with a Crossunder once established on the departure and above 300 feet
AGL.
NOTE: If the crosswind component exceeds 10 knots, a 5-second interval takeoff will be made.
Use caution during takeoff in gusty conditions for rapidly changing wind direction and
velocity. Use timely corrections to maintain directional control and ensure aircraft
separation.
The Wingman will use power as required to maintain position throughout the takeoff roll.
Upon brake release, immediately select max power to spool the engine up and tap the brakes
lightly to maintain position if you get ahead. You want to get a "jump" on Lead, so make sure
you release brakes and select max power right as Lead's chin hits his chest. As the airspeed
builds during takeoff roll you can start using power and rudder to "fly" off of Lead as the
formation accelerates to take off. Watch Lead's nose gear strut, as strut extension should tip you
off to Lead's rotation. Gently apply backstick pressure to match Lead's attitude and get your
nosewheel off the runway. Use peripheral vision to detect any lateral movement and use smooth
rudder inputs to maintain the center of your side of the runway. If you are in position, your
aircraft should lift off at approximately the same time as Lead. Anticipate and match Lead's
rotation rate and pitch attitude as you fly off the runway. If behind the takeoff position when
Lead rotates, do not apply backstick pressure at the same time Lead does. Check that you have
max power selected. As Lead rotates, he is creating lift, which means he is creating drag so you
should be able to catch up. If you are ahead of position, nearing rotation, you can pull power,
but not too much. You do not want to lift off with the power back. You can rotate a little faster
or a little sooner than Lead to give you a correction back to position without having the power
dangerously low on takeoff. Once safely airborne, retract the gear upon Lead's signal (pre-brief
the non-flying pilot to check the fuel caps for you). After the gear is up, immediately maneuver
T-38 FORMATION ADMIN 5-3


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