by Hammer

Air combat maneuvering is really a combination of a few basic flight maneuvers. By combining these basic maneuvers, you (hopefully) put yourself in a position to shoot at an enemy or prevent an enemy from shooting at you. Once you are able to perform the basic maneuvers separately, try combining them. A double immelman can be a very effective merge. A partial aileron roll is the first part of any turn. A flat turn is nothing more than a 1/4 aileron roll and then a horizontal loop! The list goes on and on.

Aileron Roll - Apply left or right stick and make vertical adjustments as necessary to cause the aircraft to roll around it axis while maintaining the same direction of travel. Not an effective combat maneuver by itself, but it is the basis for at least some part of all the others with the exception of the straight loop.

aileron roll
Aileron Roll

Flat Turn (or Break Turn) - Doing a 1/4 aileron roll and pulling back on the stick will cause you to turn. Ya, I know you already know this, but the reason I put this in here is you need to understand what happens when you sustain that turn. Look at the illustration below.

sustained turn
Sustained Turn
(Top View)

When you start your turn, it is likely that you are faster than your sustained turning speed. Pulling back on the stick causes you to pull "G's", which means more force than the normal 1 atmosphere of gravity. Pulling G's causes your plane to lose energy (E) or specifically to slow down. How much you slow depends on how many G's you pull and the energy retention characteristics of your plane. The effect of this slowing is that your turn looks kind of like a spiral until you balance gravity, drag, lift, and engine power to create a sustained turn. Only then will your turn actually be circular.

Loop - You can think of a loop as a vertical turn. Simply pull back on the stick (no aileron input required), making sure you don't pull too many Gs or stall. Make sure you have enough energy (read speed) to complete the loop. Flaps can be used to help you over the top. The same E loss principles described in the flat turn apply in the loop. The difference is that on the upward part of your loop you decelerate rapidly, causing your turn radius to shrink, and on the downward portion, you accelerate, causing your turn radius to increase. Not a move you will want to use to often in a fight, but it does have it's uses. Usually, a high yo-yo would be more appropriate during combat.


Barrel Roll - Apply left or right stick and pull back slightly to cause the aircraft to roll in a corkscrew pattern. Adding a bit of rudder amplifies even mover. This is a good evasive maneuver when you have an enemy on your tail.

Barrel Roll
Barrel Roll

Immelman - An Immelman is a half-loop with a half-aileron roll at the top to get your plane upright. Good for merging, especially at co-altitude.


Spit-S - A split-s is the opposite of an Immelman. Do a half-aileron roll until you are inverted then pull back on the stick to complete the second half of a loop. Sometimes used to avoid BnZ attacks if your energy state is too low.


High Yo-Yo - A high yo-yo is a done by going into a climbing turn. At about the 90 degree point of your turn, you roll partially inverted and finish the turn diving back to your original altitude. It is used to convert speed into altitude during the initial part of the turn with the lower speed allowing you to make a tighter turn. Near the apex of your turn, you then convert the altitude you gained back into speed by going back down to your initial altitude.

High Yo-yo
High Yo-Yo

Low Yo-Yo - A low yo-yo is the opposite of a high yo-yo. It is done by turning while going into a slight dive and pulling back up to your original altitude. It is used to gain some energy during the turn. Often used to turn back on a higher bogie with enough energy to meet it nose to nose.

Low Yo-yo
Low Yo-Yo