AIR FORCE T-38 TRACK INTERMEDIATES
Both aircraft lose sight of each other and Lead does not initiate an altitude
THE EXTENDEND TRAIL
Extended Trail is probably the most challenging, yet most fun, portion of the T-38 FORM
syllabus. Extended Trail incorporates everything that you have learned about pursuit curves,
energy management, and Aspect/Angle-Off and uses those tools in three dimensions. The name
of the game in Extended Trail is for Two to stay in the cone behind Lead. A good set of
Extended Trail depends on good teamwork. Lead has to do his job to help out Two, and Two
has to stay in position. Extended Trail is generally the last item each flight member will do
before the lead change or departing the area. Typically, Extended Trail consists of four
maneuvers with at least one leaf of a Cloverleaf. The approved maneuvers in Extended Trail are:
Wingover, Barrel Roll, Cloverleaf and Half Cuban Eight. In order to fly a good set of Extended
Trail, each flight member must understand his role:
Lead is responsible for maneuvering the formation in Extended Trail within the working area
and at an energy level that is conducive to over-the-top maneuvering. There are a couple of
things Lead can do to ensure success for a good set of Extended Trail:
Drive to the middle of the area with good energy and work your set of Extended
Extended Trail requires a lot of vertical maneuvering. It is difficult to work radial/DME when
you are upside down. Pick a reference on the ground and work over that reference so that all you
need worry about is altitude to stay in the working area.
(2) Strive for 4 Gs, aim for 100 knots at the top of an over-the-top, and 200 knots
when accelerating for an over-the-top (over-the-top is anything that involves inverted flight).
Lead must always assume Two will pull more G, get slower, or get faster in order to stay in
position so Lead must plan accordingly. Lead must anticipate that Two is one step behind Lead
so if Lead must make a last minute save to not go below the floor of the area, for example, he
knows that Two will definitely go through the floor. Plan accordingly!
Lead should always be in a turn to give Two some angles to work with.
The T-34C is very underpowered, so any time Lead just races off straight away, accelerating,
Two will never get back into position if out. Lead should only roll wings level for the pull into
the vertical for a PA maneuver; other than that, he should be in some form of a turn.
(4) Lead should maneuver to help Two maintain position, but not sacrifice area
orientation or maneuver flow to do so.
Monitor Two, but do not sacrifice your maneuvers to do so. For example, if Two is out of the
back end of the cone, accelerating for an over-the-top maneuver is not going to help him at all;
do a wingover and "reel Two back in" before going for the next maneuver. Extended Trail
usually consists of four maneuvers, but Lead has prerogative to do administrative wingovers to
help Two out or deal with weather/low energy, etc.
T-38 FORMATION AREA WORK