AIR FORCE T-38 TRACK INTERMEDIATES
Lead must clear in the direction of flight. While employing in a Tactical Formation, the Flight
Lead shares responsibility with the Wingman to visually clear for threats and avoid any traffic
conflicts. If traffic conflicts arise, then Lead will be directive and will maneuver the formation
The Wingman's primary job is to execute disciplined visual lookout without sacrificing proper
formation position or deconfliction responsibilities. When operating in Fingertip, primary
attention should be focused on deconfliction. Outside of Fingertip, Wingmen must carefully
keep their visual lookout active and systematic, with an emphasis on deconflicting with other
flight members. Visual lookout priorities will be briefed by the Flight Lead.
In-flight checks should be initiated by the Flight Lead periodically to keep abreast of the
flight's fuel status. At a minimum, execute an Ops-check checking into the area, after lead
change, and before RTB.
Wingmen should be given an appropriate amount of time to complete in-flight checks. Adjust
formation if necessary based on Wingman skill level. Flight leads should also avoid any abrupt
maneuvering to afford the Wingmen time to accomplish cockpit tasks without compromising
While performing in-flight checks, continue to focus your attention on the Flight Lead, using
only short glances to perform cockpit duties.
Use the radio or the appropriate visual signal for an Ops check. Lead will accomplish Ops
checks at timely intervals throughout the sortie. Ops checks should include a fuel check, Gs,
engine, instruments, and oxygen. The check will be initiated verbally by the Flight Lead. The
Wingman will respond with fuel remaining, in hundreds of pounds, in the same format as Lead's
original call. For example: "Vapor 11, Ops check," "1's 5.8," "2's 5.6." Ops checks may be
conducted in conjunction with the Fence check entering and leaving the work area (see Chapter 2
for Fence check procedures).
Flight Lead should carefully mission plan to determine "Joker" and "Bingo" fuels. The T-38 is
a lot more of a fuel intensive aircraft so you will be provided simulated Joker and Bingo fuels in
the T-34 so that you get used to keeping track of your fuel state. Flight leads must continually
monitor the flight's fuel state and adjust the profile to guarantee safe recovery according to
OPNAV 3710 fuel reserves. Flight leads should increase the frequency of Ops checks during
maneuvering when fuel flows are high (low altitude maneuvering, etc.)
T-38 FORMATION BASICS