The Official F-15 Strike Eagle Handbook

by Richard Sheffield

Head-On Maneuvers

Many dogfights start from a neutral head-on pass after both parties have survived an initial missile exchange. Remember, it's mission first. You always have the option of not turning and fighting after a head-on pass. If you're close to your ground target, you may want to consider this option, but if you do choose to go toe-to-toe with the bogey, here are a few moves that might help you gain the advantage.

Pitch Back

Situation: You're attacking your opponent head-on with at least 500 knots of airspeed.


This kind of maneuver is called an out-of-plane—you're maneuvering in the vertical plane while your opponent is in a flat turn. This is a very good opening move if you suspect you can't out-turn your opponent due to greater airspeed. Use your energy advantage to go vertical.

This maneuver looks tricky—and it is. Pull back hard on the stick, loop, and then turn behind the target if it's there.

Head-On Gun Attack

Situation: You're approaching enemy aircraft head-on. You're too close for a missile shot, but you can still take a guns shot before he flashes past you.



A head-on attack presents a bad missile angle for your opponent. If you make the enemy pilot waste one of his missiles during the head-on pass, so much the better. Be prepared to jink, though.

Fire while the enemy aircraft is still out of range in a head-on cannon attack.

Head-On Turning Attack

Situation: You're approaching an opponent head-on at slow speed (400-500 knots). This speed allows maximum turning performance, which is to your advantage. Remember to increase the throttle during the turn to prevent a stall.


This isn't a long-term maneuver. If you don't gain an advantage fairly quickly, be ready to disengage or attempt another maneuver, such as a Low Yo-Yo. Spinning around and around with a single bogey will likely draw a number of his buddies to the area. Don't get so wrapped up that you let another bogey come in and gun you down.

Your turning performance must be better than your opponent's for this maneuver to work.

A Series of Low Yo-Yos

After a head-on pass, you can use a series of Low Yo-Yo maneuvers (described and illustrated earlier) to pull around on the tail of the bogey. This maneuver can be used even if you don't have a turning advantage over your opponent.

Yo-Yo maneuvers are some of the best moves you can learn. Master them, and they'll come in handy in a number of situations.

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