Putting it All Together – A Typical Dive Bomb Pass
I’ll begin with the approach to the target. I’m flying my trusty F-4. I have already chosen my desired release parameters, so in my approach I’ll fly to my roll in point. I’ve computed an IPP…to use the IPP, I’ll have to hit an exact roll out point. This will mean that my roll in point will have to be ‘on the numbers’ also. (NOTE: Please disregard any HUD info in the following screenshots other than the text and items that I placed there. In particular, disregard velocity vector and dive angle indications)
As I approach the target, I climb to my planned roll in altitude. I want to get there with enough time to stabilize at my desired roll in airspeed. At the same time, I’m identifying the target/AOP area and looking for where my roll in distance from the AOP should be. In doing all of this, I’m establishing myself on my base leg.
For this attack, run in heading is not critical, so as long as I get my base leg positioned with respect to the target, I should be OK to roll in at any point. The next figure shows me approaching the target.
Fig 17 – Approaching The Target
Once on my base leg, I check my switches one more time…proper mil setting in the sight, desired weapon selected, and Master Arm on. I give the nose down trim button a couple of clicks to offset the nose up trim change that occurs as the airspeed increases in the dive. If the aircraft is to be slightly out of trim, I want it to be nose down, not up. I can hold the stick steadier if the stick is heavy rather than light.
As I approach my roll in point, I concentrate on the angle from my aircraft to the target. I use the horizon to visualize my desired dive angle.
Fig 18 – Estimating My Dive Angle
Well, it’s time to quit chewing the fat. It’s showtime! I push the throttle up to full power and roll unloaded into the target direction. I want to aim my lift vector just past the target. My approximate bank angle will be my dive angle plus 90 degrees. With my bank established, I now increase my back stick to start the nose towards the target. The g that I pull is more or less in line with my desired dive angle…small dive angle, less g…steep dive angle, more g. My thumb moves to the mic button…”One’s in hot”!!
Fig 19 – Pulling the Nose Towards the Target
“Cleared, One,” I hear the range controller say. I finish my pull to my AOP by aiming the top of the combining glass (my flight path reference).
Fig 20 – Setting the AOP
Now I relax the g’s and roll unloaded to a wings level attitude. I have to set my AOP, and I have to do it fast because I’m pointed downhill…my Rhino is accelerating and I don’t have any time to waste. I remember the AOP/IPP target ratio. I recognize that my initial AOP estimate is not far enough past the target, so I smoothly raise my nose slightly to set the desired ratio. Now my AOP is set as best I can. I have just entered the tracking phase of my pass.
Fig 21 – The Track Point