Basic Flight Maneuvers (BFM)

 

Introduction


There are a few basic flight maneuvers (BFMs) that you should be aware of before you enter combat. Your opponent will be well versed in these tactics so it is recommended that you take the time to practice them yourself.

 

Break Turn

The Break turn (or maximum rate turn), should rightfully be considered an emergency maneuver and should never be used if a less severe bank attitude will suffice. Break turns are a means of cutting inside the turn radius of an incoming missile. They can be used equally well to throw off an opponent who is moving in for a guns-only kill. They are most effective when they are performed suddenly and unexpectedly.

A Break turn is performed by rolling 90° so that your wings are perpendicular to the ground. At the same time, pull the stick back hard. Hold this attitude for as long as necessary but watch out, your airspeed will bleed off rapidly. Never maintain a Break turn for so long that
you are unable to maneuver after the turn is completed. The high G force created by this maneuver is another danger. Blackouts (if the option is turned on) can result from Break turns performed at too high a speed. If you feel this beginning to happen, relax the stick to
reduce the G forces or extend your speed brake.


 

Immelmann

Another basic fighter maneuver is the Immelmann. It's named after Max Immelmann, the German pilot who perfected this maneuver in WW I,. Basically, the Immelmann is nothing more than a climbing half loop as shown in the diagram. Enter the Immelmann from level flight or preferably a shallow dive. Begin by building up a little excess speed then start pulling back gradually on the stick. Keep back pressure on the stick until you reach a sheer vertical climb. (You can judge your aircraft attitude by keeping an eye on the HUD pitch ladder or by switching to a Virtual Cockpit view.)
Abrupt changes in direction may cause an attacker to overshoot and be forced out in front of you.

At this point, you can complete the Immelmann at any time by pulling back on the stick. Notice however that you will be flying inverted. A 90° half roll is required to return you to a normal flight attitude.

The Immelmann is not just a reversal maneuver. Once you get really good at it, you'll be able to roll while climbing so that you can pull out in any compass heading you desire.


 

Split S

As the diagram indicates, the Split S is really nothing more than an Immelmann in reverse, instead of climbing you are performing a dive. In fact if you combined an Immelmann with a Split S you would wind up flying in a complete loop. Like the Immelmann, the Split S can be used to effect a sudden reversal of direction but it is most effective as a means of instantly increasing your speed.

The first step in performing a Split S is to roll 90° so that your aircraft is now inverted. This is done so that you are pulling back on the stick to enter the dive rather than pushing it forward. (Your body can withstand positive Gs better than it can negative.) Rolling inverted from level flight telegraphs your intentions so wait until you are ready to dive before starting your roll. Pull the nose of your aircraft down to enter the dive and keep back pressure on the stick until you are vertical. (Again, use the Virtual Cockpit view or HUD pitch ladder to judge your aircraft's attitude.) Reduce your speed to stay near your corner velocity and avoid losing too much altitude. Either cut the throttle before you enter the dive or slow the aircraft by opening your speed brakes (the B key). To complete this maneuver, pull back sharply on the stick, bringing the nose of the aircraft up to a level flight attitude. Like the Immelmann, you can wind up heading in any direction you desire by rolling slowly as you dive.

The Split S is a great maneuver but you must use caution. Be careful not to engage this maneuver at too low an altitude, you may not be able to pull out of it in time.