AIR FORCE T-38 TRACK INTERMEDIATES
Low level mission planning starts like any other mission planning, checking the weather and
determining where you would like to go and what training you need to do to complete the
mission. Mission planning for the low level is similar to cross-country planning: You need a Jet
Log with your points and a DD-175. You will use the fuel and timing from the Jet Log to put on
your map with two additions, Bingo fuel and Continuation fuel (called Joker fuel on other than a
low level route).
"Bingo" fuel is the minimum fuel required to return to your base or destination by the most
direct means plus required fuel reserves. You must calculate this fuel for every mission.
Calculate the fuel for the most direct route at the highest VFR altitude you can fly for the
weather the day of the flight. Usually this fuel is calculated using maximum range airspeed. In
the T-34, this would be fuel flow based on 580 lbs of torque. The Bingo fuel is then written on
the chart in red at the furthest point on your route. Applied in flight this means that if I reach
Bingo fuel before reaching my furthest turnpoint, I must abort the mission and fly my calculated
Continuation or "Joker" fuel is the minimum fuel at a given checkpoint required to complete
the remainder of the low level mission with required fuel reserves. Calculate this fuel by
beginning with the minimum fuel you will land with at your destination (again plus any required
reserve) and work backward to each point along the route. For example, let us say I have to be
on deck with 240 lbs of fuel. I start with 240 lbs of fuel and then add the fuel used from my last
turnpoint on my route to the destination. Then I do the same for each turnpoint back to the
beginning, let us say this "leg" fuel was 75 lbs per turnpoint, my continuation fuel for my last
route turnpoint would be 315 lbs. Applied in flight, continuation fuel means if I arrive at this
turnpoint with less than continuation fuel, I must abort the mission and return home using a
normal profile or cut off legs of the route until I can make Continuation fuel at a turnpoint.
Once you figure that out, it is time to get a map and start drawing. But wait, which map do I
use? The GNC, JNC, ONC, or TPC? What is the difference between them?
Maps, or charts, as they are correctly termed, come in a variety of scales. These charts are
optimized for the type of navigation you will be doing. Large aircraft going long distances use
small scale maps that cover long distance, but have little detail. Tactical aircraft that fly close to
the ground and need detailed topographic information use large scale maps. These large scale
maps have the detail necessary to fly shorter legs at low altitude and high speeds.
Some types of charts and scales:
GNC (Global Navigation Chart), 1:5,000,000 (small scale)
JNC (Jet Navigation Chart), 1:2,000,000
ONC (Operational Navigation Chart), 1:1,000,000
TPC (Tactical Pilotage Chart), 1:500,000 (large scale)
Other charts are available in even larger scale and are used for target area charts, such as the
1:25,000 Air Target Chart. So, what scale is best for us? Simply put, the 1:500,000 is the best
all-around low level chart for us. At Vance, you will use the TPC, a 1:500,000 scale chart. Here
at Whiting, we use a sectional chart, which is also 1:500,000 scale.
T-38 LOW LEVEL NAVIGATION 7-3