by Richard Sheffield
As Boelcke said, once you start an attack, carry it through to the end. These maneuvers will help you do just that. If you start the fight with an advantage, use one of the following to set up the bogey for the kill. Remember to watch your speed, and don't overshoot.
Situation: You're in a hard-turning, low-speed fight. You're too close for short-range missiles but you can't out-turn the enemy to line up for a gun shot.
• Let your upper wing come over, and begin an inverted dive (1). The speed you gain in the dive will let you hold a tight turn toward the bogey without stalling.
• Roll out in the opposite direction and pull the nose up (2).
• Repeat the process until you pull in behind the enemy and can line up a gun shot (3). Be quick on the trigger and ready to fire as you pull up each time. Firing parameters may be met for only a second or two.
This maneuver should not be performed at low altitude.
Drop down inside the other aircraft's turn; then pull in behind for a possible shot.
Situation: You're closing rapidly on a turning target from the side or rear. You want to:
• Avoid overshooting the target and losing your offensive position due to your greater speed.
• Obtain a better position behind the target for improved heat-seeking missile tracking.
• Level your wings and pull up to gain altitude (1).
• Begin turning toward the target, remaining above and behind (2).
• At this point, start an inverted roll and dive at the target (3). You have two options here: You can point your nose slightly ahead of the target and take a Lead-pursuit path to make a diving guns pass, or you can come around behind the target for a heat-seeking missile shot directly at the target's tailpipe (4).
• If the target reverses its turn at position 5, you should get a clean shot at its tail. If you fail to destroy the opponent, or if you miss, another High Yo-Yo or a Low Yo-Yo will return you to an attacking position.
Be careful not to bleed off too much speed during the climbing portion of this maneuver or the bogey may be able to accelerate out of range.
While the other aircraft is breaking hard, pull up; then pull down to get behind him.
Situation: The enemy aircraft is making a break for it, trying to outrun you. In this situation, if you don't want to use your afterburners because your fuel level is low, you can trade altitude for speed.
• Obtain a position directly behind the enemy aircraft (1).
• Remaining directly behind your opponent, begin a shallow (10- to 20-degree) dive (2).
• Notice your airspeed rising. As you close on the enemy, pull up to slow down and prevent an overshoot (3).
Trade altitude for speed by going into a shallow dive and then pulling up when you're within range.
Barrel Roll Attack
Situation: You're approaching an opponent from behind. The other aircraft turns hard, and your speed advantage may cause an overshoot.
• The enemy aircraft breaks hard to the right. You should pull up hard (1).
• Immediately begin a Barrel Roll to the left, away from your opponent (2). This should cause you to bleed off some speed so you don't overshoot.
• Finish the maneuver by sliding back in behind the enemy plane with a hard right turn (3).
Instead of overshooting, pull up and roll away from your opponent. Slide back into firing position with another turn—this time toward the target.
Zoom Maneuver from a Turn
Situation: You're in a hard-turning fight. You can't obtain an advantage, and you're too close for a missile shot. Both you and your opponent are at low speed. The object here is to use your high thrust-to-weight ratio to perform a steep climb so you can get enough distance between you and the enemy to use your missiles.
• Fire your afterburners (1).
• Execute a very steep climb (2).
• Continue until you've climbed 5000 feet or so. Throttle back your engines and perform a stall turn (3).
• As soon as your opponent comes into view, fire a short-range missile.
While climbing, you may present your opponent with a good missile shot. Take an occasional look out the back and try to time your zoom so that the bogey isn't in a position to shoot.
Your jet can perform a ballistic climb. Use this advantage to put some distance between you and the enemy.
Dive for Separation for a Missile Shot
Situation: You're in a very close, hard-turning fight and you've climbed to high altitude in the process. You're too close for a missile shot, but you can't line up your hard-maneuvering opponent for a gun shot. This maneuver puts distance between the two of you for a better chance at a missile hit.
• Bank hard and try to pull inside the enemy's turn (1).
• Roll inverted, pull back on the stick and dive (2).
• Keep the nose pointed straight down until you've lost 10,000 feet or so. Then pull back hard on the stick and keep it pulled back until you pull out of the dive and head back up toward the target.
• Locate the enemy aircraft and fire a short-range missile (3).
Diving with afterburners on will cause a rapid loss of altitude and may cause you to exceed the maximum design speed for the aircraft.
Another way to separate from the enemy (and thus have enough distance to use a missile) is to dive away before firing.