AIR FORCE T-38 TRACK INTERMEDIATES
b. Lead. The role of Lead is heavily emphasized in USAF formation. The Flight Lead
is ultimately responsible for the safe and effective conduct of the mission. All decisions rest on
Lead's shoulders. As you practice leading these demanding sorties, try to exercise your own
judgment and come up with your own plan to accomplish the mission and keep the profile
moving. Be considerate of your Wingman and constantly monitor your Wing to ensure your
maneuvering does not exceed their capabilities.
c. Wing. The Wingman is there for mutual support and should be ready to execute
Lead's commands. Therefore, the Wingman needs to be an active member of the flight,
monitoring Lead's aircraft for signs of malfunction and the progress of the mission. If Lead is
doing something unsafe for the formation, it is Two's job to pipe up and point it out. "Knight
One, check north border," or "Knight One check altitude, I think we were told to level off at
4000." On the other hand, Two's job is not to second-guess Lead; if he is running the show and
it is safe, then Two's job is to "shut up and be in position." To contribute successfully the
Wingman must prioritize the following responsibilities:
(1) First, the Wingman must maintain proper formation position as briefed while
deconflicting from the Flight Lead, other flight members, and the ground (e.g., if the Flight Lead
briefs you to fly route line abreast at three to five ship widths, then fly there.)
(2) Second, accomplish cockpit tasks, such as radio channel changes, Ops Checks,
NAVAIDS, etc. When transmitting, ensure you speak clearly and mimic the Flight Lead (e.g.,
"Knight One's gear down full-stop," you should say, "Knight Two's gear down full-stop." You
should not say: "Knight Two, base gear stop").
Third, the Wingman must execute the briefed visual lookout responsibilities.
(4) Fourth, conduct other briefed tasks required to accomplish the mission while
striving to maintain high situational awareness.
(5) Finally, whether the flight is taxiing out to the runway or coming up initial, look
good. Match Lead's configuration. Always anticipate, but never assume. If you are in Route
and about to enter weather, anticipate that Lead will rock you in to Fingertip. However, do not
assume that Lead wants you in close.
At Whiting, students will prepare a "white board" with pertinent information for the flight.
Include line-up card data, e.g., call signs and formation members. List desired learning
objectives (DLOs) for the flight, e.g., No area busts, No missed Joker/Bingo calls, No
overG, - Timely maneuver execution, Efficient energy management, Clear, concise and
correct communications, etc. Reference Appendix D, Formation Standards, for additional
Flight Lead Responsibilities
A thorough formation briefing is absolutely essential to ensure safe and effective mission
accomplishment. Flight leads should start the briefing on time and emphasis should be placed on
overall mission objectives and individual flight member responsibilities.
4-2 T-38 FORMATION BASICS