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#3939909 - 04/15/14 08:37 PM Cloverleaf - Is it useful ?  
Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 63
Gigolety Offline
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Gigolety  Offline
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Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 63
I would like to know if you have ever practiced the cloverleaf aerobatic maneuver in Falcon 4, as decrisbed inside MCH 11-F16 Vo.5 at page 245.

I came in touch with this maneuver when I was following the AFMAN 11-248 and practice it in Flight Simulator with a T-6 download from a web-page.

I had always trouble to understand when to begin the coordinated roll toward the 90 reference point. Infact, I started to hate it but to try to learn something, I forced myself to repeat and practice it over and over again. I hoped to start to master and to finally enjoy what I was doing but I just got as a result to hate it more and more.

What's your feeling about cloverleaf?

Do you think has any value in a real air combat mission ?


Last edited by Gigolety; 04/15/14 08:39 PM.
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#3940125 - 04/16/14 09:58 AM Re: Cloverleaf - Is it useful ? [Re: Gigolety]  
Joined: Oct 2009
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Frederf Offline
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Frederf  Offline
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Aerobatic maneuvers rarely have direct value for combat. The skills associated with the maneuver do. For F-16 specific refers to AFI11-2F-16V5 Combat Aircraft Fundamentals section 9.4.2.4.

The maneuver looks like a toughie, combining energy/G management in the vertical with smooth, timed and positive use of roll to alter heading. The MCH only specifies one "leaf" of the maneuver but it's possible to continue the maneuver through all four leaves. It is essentially a loop but with the added complication of a heading change by loaded roll. Picking the reference outside the cockpit to turn to, initiating the turn on time, timing the roll to arrive wings level inverted are extra factors to mind in addition to the normal loop issues of managing top airspeed, playing G at different parts, and driving through the same height/speed as entry. Sustaining the maneuver over all four iterations will tax the situational awareness and energy management skills of any pilot.

Combat wise it follows the familiar adages of not turning any more than 90 degrees in an attack and introduces the vertical as it might be over an inferior adversary. Depending on the goal of the attack the clover turn might be used to egress after an attack or turn to remain directly above the opponent following his seen horizontal turn. Displacing laterally above the bandit seems unlikely to be useful.

In the AG role maybe it could be useful for a bomb toss egress (without the backside of the loop) or a pop up from a strong offset (again rolling upright in the dive instead of the backside of the loop).

#3940304 - 04/16/14 05:13 PM Re: Cloverleaf - Is it useful ? [Re: Gigolety]  
Joined: Jan 2001
Posts: 2,432
HomeFries Online cool
Air Dominance Project
HomeFries  Online Cool
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Posts: 2,432
Building on what Frederf said, the purpose of aerobatics in flight training isn't to teach a maneuver to use in combat (though the barrel roll can be useful in forcing/preventing overshoot in a stern chase), but rather to build confidence in the plane's envelope and build the skills used in air combat (sustained g turns, proper use of the vertical, etc.). Great thing about the cloverleaf is that it trains you in the vertical but also gets you thinking in all three dimensions (four if you include time) simultaneously. Being able to process all 3 axes is a big step in flying, especially tactically.


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