by Richard Sheffield
Rule 8: Know the Situation
It's very important to pay attention to the S-2 briefing before your flight. In this briefing, you'll find out what you're up against. Different enemy weapon systems are vulnerable to different countermeasures, so it is vital that you get some idea of the types of antiaircraft weapons facing you.
Other important items will be learned in the preflight briefing, such as weather conditions and the location of the target. Weather conditions greatly affect how much weight you can carry and thus have an influence on your plans for attack.
Get some idea of the distance to your primary and secondary targets. If they're far away, you might want to carry a lighter load to conserve fuel. If, however, you'll be flying with a tail wind to the target, you might want to carry a heavy load.
Also note the positions of friendly ground forces and huts near the target area. Landing close to these positions may save your life if you get shot down.