BASIC FIGHTER MANEUVERS (BFM)
The defender will have the energy available to reverse over the top, rolling about the flight path
of the attacker. From this cooperative neutral set-up, the goal is to execute the scissors perfectly
and capitalize on any mistake the bogey makes. To get and stay offensive, three-dimensional
maneuvering will be utilized to control your energy effectively by pulling up wings level into the
vertical, making your heading changes by rolling off after you reach the desired vertical altitude,
trading airspeed for altitude to reduce your forward vector, and properly controlling your AOA.
As stated, the goal is to stay behind the bogey.
A key determinant in winning the roller is the ability to get your nose up when you are at the
bottom of a roller before the bogey can get his nose down when he is at the top, and vice versa
(utilizing the tactical egg to your advantage). If you continually do this without sacrificing your
energy or position, you will gradually gain a positional advantage on the bogey.
The old saying used to be "lag at the bottom and lead over the top." This is misleading in that it
refers more to stick and rudder skills than a geometric analysis of how to win a rolling scissors.
What we are really trying to do is, after establishing the highest reasonable nose attitude get your
nose down before the bandit gets theirs up (a.k.a. Early Turn) and then lag him down the back
side to gain turning room and 3-9 advantage, ensuring the bandit travels further down range. In
essence, we want to early turn the bandit over the top and pull down placing the lift vector
towards its control zone (about 1500 feet behind them).
This lift vector placement is extremely important and often misjudged. If our lift vector is ahead
of the bandit as we come down, the net effect is to fly us out in front of the bandit. In fact,
placing our lift vector on the bandit yields the same effect to a lesser degree.
Down the backside of the roller, lag pursuit will slow our down range travel and provide an
opportunity to briefly unload and regain energy. (We were probably at about 120 KIAS over the
top and will want at least 180 KIAS at about 90° nose down to start up again).
To summarize, we are attempting to capitalize on an overshoot by establishing the highest
possible nose attitude while utilizing an early turn over the top. The net effect is to force the
bogey up early, allowing him successively shallower pitch attitudes, which in turn pushes him
further down range. We then lag the bogey down the backside to minimize our downrange travel
and gain turning room. We commence our wings level pull-up as soon as we have sufficient
energy, and repeat the whole cycle chipping away at him.
In general, each aircraft will generally feel offensive at the top of a roller and defensive on the
bottom. This may be an optical illusion due to the effects of radial G and the tactical egg. In
general, if the bogey is in the forward part of your canopy most of the time, you are offensive
and vice versa.
In an aircraft like the T-2C (with a thrust-to-weight less than 1), the rolling scissors is normally a
downhill fight. Each revolution results in a lower peak altitude. The student will monitor
airspeed and altitude at the top and bottom of the roller. Deck awareness will be essential in a
roller as the T-2C requires approximately 3000 feet above the hard deck to continue a roller from
its apex. You cannot successfully defeat the bogey if you kill yourself on the hard deck. As the
BASIC FIGHTER MANEUVERS (BFM)