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#3530769 - 03/02/12 09:00 PM Re: Flight Time [Re: darkmouse]  
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Originally Posted By: darkmouse
I'm still not following this then - in fighting wing with plenty of turning yeah you use lead and lag to maintain your position, or in a tail chase, but in close formation?


I'm fairly certain I said tactical or fighting wing. Neither of those are considered 'close formation' such as fingertip or route. If lead's maintaining 100%, you need maneuvering room to make sure you can keep up.

Quote:
I have never seen any SOP's suggesting full throttle formation is ever done - I am willing to stand corrected, but I honestly can't think of any logical explanation as to how its even possible!


The only public SOP's I've seen deal with normal operations or in-flight emergencies. I don't recall ever seeing an SOP, for example, for alert 5 fighter. That doesn't mean it isn't out there - I could have missed it. Or it may not be out there at all, it's sitting in some vault.

Last edited by GrayGhost; 03/02/12 09:03 PM.

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#3531585 - 03/03/12 11:11 PM Re: Flight Time [Re: EinsteinEP]  
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I found these points interesting from the actual (official) A-10 operational procedures:

3.8.1. Day weather criteria for a joinup underneath a ceiling is 1,500 feet and 3 miles.

Flight leaders will maintain 200 KIAS until joinup is accomplished unless briefed otherwise.

3.7.5. Formation Takeoff Procedures. Refer to MCH 11-A/OA10 Vol 5 (MCM 3-3).

On the flight leader's signal, set the core RPM at 90 percent or as briefed by the flight leader and check the engine
instruments.

Smoothly add power after brake release. If lead needs to reduce power for the wingman on takeoff, he will not reduce
throttles beyond 3 percent below predicted takeoff fan speed.

3.10.1. The following rules apply for flight path deconfliction during tactical maneuvering:

Flight/element leads will consider wingman/element position and ability to safely perform a maneuver before directing
it.


So it sounds like it is more complicated than "the wingman must keep up". And as usual..the guy in charge (the flight lead) is always responsible for ANY screw-ups. (I can sympathize with that..as PIC I'm always the one getting in trouble..lol..)



#3531733 - 03/04/12 03:46 AM Re: Flight Time [Re: EinsteinEP]  
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It is complicated. I never said that lead should have no wingman consideration, that would make a poor lead smile Also note the 'as briefed' caveat ... it's important. Basically what you have found, if I am not mistaken, is a particular squadron contract, or perhaps overall A-10 contract ... in which case each squadron is likely to fly their own contract to fit their airfield, specific operations or mission of the day.

Also note that formation take-off, IIRC, is forbidden with live air to ground ordnance on-board.

Last edited by GrayGhost; 03/04/12 03:47 AM.

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#3531891 - 03/04/12 12:29 PM Re: Flight Time [Re: EinsteinEP]  
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Like I said before, wingman must do his best to keep up, but lead must make considerations as well to help the wingman accomplish this. Parking the throttle on full and expecting the other guy to keep up no matter what is simply expecting the impossible. Giving him 3, 5, or (gasp!) 10% throttle advantage to play with is simple enough to do, then going full throttle once the wingman is established in his position would make things easier for everybody.


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#3532490 - 03/05/12 09:20 AM Re: Flight Time [Re: EinsteinEP]  
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A good reminder why practice in so many things is important.

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#3532846 - 03/05/12 07:56 PM Re: Flight Time [Re: EinsteinEP]  
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^^^^

Ouch.


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#3532882 - 03/05/12 08:26 PM Re: Flight Time [Re: EinsteinEP]  
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Sorry for taking so long. I was looking through some of my stuff, but unfortunately I couldn't find what I wanted.

I thought this document: http://www.vitaf.it/AMVI_Sito/Resource/Manuals/T-6_afman11-248.pdf had some formation specifics, but it does not - the formation flight covered within is quite thin - so instead, I'll just have to narrate and you obviously don't have to take my word for it.

While I am an F-15 guy in ED's products, and will narrate from that perspective, almost all of this that isn't BVR-specific applies to any aircraft.


First, I'd like to introduce the extended trail (fighting wing!) exercise: You park your aircraft about 500'-1500' (I'd reccomend just past 500' smile ). Lead settles the power so that he can maintain a certain airspeed to start with (IIRC, the exercise limits are 200-500kt, and lead should probably set at least 400, but don't quote me on that, don't have my references handy) and the wingman matches this power setting and speed. Once ready, lead will begin a series of maneuvers and the wingman will follow, without touching the throttle. The goal of this exrcise is to stay within 1500' of lead.
I won't go into the techniques for lead other than to say that it isn't lead's job to intentionally try and spit out the wingman.
I'm sure most people figured this one out, but this is the type of flying you'll be doing in a dogfight, but a bit farther away from the bandit.

Some notes on fighting wing: This is used mainly when the wingman is inexperienced, thus he stays with lead and clears his six. Whether he's keeping up with lead or the bandit, it's the same sort of flying. This formation turns two aircraft into one in terms of combat value, but it can be useful to use under certain conditions even with an experienced wingman.

You can probably find information on this exercise in USAF materials.


High-speed intercepts: This doesn't exactly apply to an A-10, but the techniques should be similar ... it's just that an F-15 will be going Mach 2 while the A-10 is ... yeah.

The goal here is to rapidly attack a formation of aircraft. In order to make things work right, the attacking fighters will usually want to stay in tactical line-abreast formation, about 6000' apart (there are variations to this, and they're beyond the scope of this post, but again, techniques for flying are similar). Because seconds and 10th's of a nautical mile really, really count, both fighters will go gate ( full afterburner) to get to altitude and speed. The wingman will use pitch to gain or lose speed as necessary to stay in LAB (if the enemy has BVR capability, they'll be shooting at the guy who's in front of the line first, so keep the line and keep them guessing as to who's lead).

Note that this is a scenario where you don't have much room for wingman consideration. You still need to consider the wingman, but he's got to be on his toes and just keep up.

How does this apply to an A-10? Slightly different scenario: If an A-10 flight needs to separate from bandits, you're not going to be separating at anything less than 100% thrust. Anything less is silly - when the bandits have missiles, even if the cavalry is coming to save you, seconds and 10th's of a nautical mile really, really count. After initially fixing the formation if necessary (and this should happen very fast) the wingman keeps up and keeps his line to keep the bandits guessing, while retaining the ability to clear lead's six, and vice versa.
Note that I'm assuming the bandits aren't right on top of the hogs here, but rather just entering BVR weapon employment range.


Full power climb-out: Sometimes you just have to, for any number of reasons. The flying part is the same as elsewhere, the T/O itself requires a couple of extra things (eg. lead flies runway heading for a longer time, allowing the wingman to turn inside lead's TC after take off is complete).

You probably won't find much or any materials on the above couple of things, but you might find someone who will tell you, and will likely do so better than I have smile

Originally Posted By: EinsteinEP
That's what the rest of us are saying/thinking. Very interested to see GrayGhost's material, but even if a whole wing of experienced combat pilots swore that they maintained close formation at full power, I would need some explanation of the physics (and a clear defintion of "close") before I could accept that claim. Antecdotal evidence never trumps physics.

To be fair, I don't think Gray (or anyone else) is saying that pilots maintain close formation at full power. I think it's an assumption that hasn't been flushed out.


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#3532905 - 03/05/12 08:50 PM Re: Flight Time [Re: EinsteinEP]  
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#3536450 - 03/11/12 12:57 PM Re: Flight Time [Re: EinsteinEP]  
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That's a really good guide. The 25th one is quite good too. Because I didn't see it mentioned specifically I'd like to mention the three formation spacings.

Close
For airshows, weather penetrations, visual communication, preparing to enter the landing break. If it's beneficial to be very close to either see each other (weather penetration) or for the flight to all be at the same location (landing break), use this. Lateral spacing is within a ship width usually. Strong attention required and the form moves as a single block usually gently.

Route
For getting from A to B. ~500' spacing so ~10 ship lengths. All the route formations are just like the close formations (echelon, fingertip) but they are farther apart. It's comfortable for going long distances, you're close enough to fly off each other without worrying about colliding when looking for a switch heads down for a second. If you don't have to be so close, don't be, fly route.

Tactical
For fighting. 1000s of feet, miles even. My preference is to go tactical, fence in, fight, fence out, go route. If we're fighting and we're not in tactical I screwed up. I prefer to mission manage going tactical just before fence in (far apart = no formation worries while flipping switches). Then stabilize in a secure tactical formation before going fence out. Trying to rejoin to route/close formation at night before turning the lights back on and then flip switches is scary.

Mission might go:
1. Rejoin to route fingertip
2. Close to close fingertip to get through some clouds
3. Relax back to route fingertip
4. Go spread to fight
5. Resume route fingertip to go home
6. Shuffle to route echelon as you get ATC range
7. Close to close echelon for the initial for the overhead break pattern to land

Close when you need it, route for all the long boring bits, and tactical for bad guy land.

#3536837 - 03/12/12 05:04 AM Re: Flight Time [Re: EinsteinEP]  
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Here's link to all the FAST docs - including the Wingman and Lead practical test guides - from FAST themselves.

http://flyfast.org/content/fast-formation-documents


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#3536951 - 03/12/12 02:00 PM Re: Flight Time [Re: EinsteinEP]  
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Those are very good for flight/formation training - I don't think you'll get much better documentation. You may want to change the exact position of the line for different aircraft, but that's about it.

No mention of combat-useable formation but that's no surprise (extended trail/fighting wing, tactical).


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