by Richard Sheffield
F-19 Flight Characteristics
First off, the F-19 was not built to outfly, or for that matter to outrun, anyone. Keep this in mind when planning your missions. The aircraft has two large engines, but without reheat (afterburners) it cannot power its way out of trouble. You must keep an eye on your airspeed.
Since the aircraft is basically underpowered, you need to be very careful when performing maneuvers. Steep climbs bleed off airspeed in a hurry and also present a large radar target. If you must climb, do it gradually. This way you can preserve your airspeed, keep engine output low, and keep your radar profile low.
Hard turning presents a similar set of problems. Banking angles of more than 45 degrees causes the stall speed to increase dramatically. In normal flight, your stall speed is about 100 knots or so; in a very steep turn it may go over 250 knots. So you could be cruising nicely at 190 knots with no problems, but if you turn quickly to avoid a missile you could stall, even without losing any airspeed.
Figure 3-1. Turning Increases Stall Speed
Any time it looks like you may get into a scrap, it's a good idea to take a quick look at your airspeed. If it's below 200 knots, you might want to add a little throttle. If you're about to get into a tough dogfight, it's probably a good idea to give it full power. If the enemy isn't already tracking you, it will be shortly after a hard turn or two gives them a large radar profile. Given this, you might as well use all the power available.
This isn't to say the F-19 can't turn well—it can. It has a very good initial turn rate, but it cannot sustain that rate for very long without a stall. Keeping the nose up during a turn might keep you from stalling, but it also causes you to gain altitude. The higher you get, the better you can be seen, but sometimes there's no alternative.