Mission Procedures

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In this example, you are a two-ship F/A-18C Hornet flight called Chevy1 ("Chevy One") on a strike mission. Since you are #1 in the flight and your buddy is #2, you are called Chevy11 ("Chevy One One") and your wingman is called Chevy12 ("Chevy One Two"). Even when contacting someone representing your whole flight, you call yourself Chevy11.


Complete the aircraft startup.

If your aircraft radio is able to tune in manual frequency, listen to ATIS on 270.500 for information on active runway, QNH and weather. Also take note of the information ID ("Charlie", "Delta").

Switch to Ground (Ch 6).

Perform a quick check-in, to make sure your wingman/wingmen are on the same channel.

Pilot: "Chevy1"
Wingman: "2"

Use the kneeboard airport page, along with F2/F10 camera to find out where you are located. For instance "Stand 3" (in the north part of Ramat David).

Contact Ground (GND) on Ch 6, stating who and where you are. Be ready to readback active runway and QNH.

Pilot: "Ground, Chevy11"
GND: "Chevy11, Ground"
Pilot: "Chevy1, two-ship Hornets on Stand 3 (with information Charlie)" *
GND: "Chevy11, runway 27 in use, QNH 2992."
Pilot: "27 in use, QNH 2992."
GND: "Readback correct, advice when ready for clearance"

*Only say "with information [ID]" if you listened to the ATIS info. If not, you will get a slightly different call from Ground, providing weather info. Note that active runway and QNH is always provided and should be read back, regardless of ATIS.

GND: "Chevy11, weather is CAVOK. Wind 090, 2 knots, Runway 27 in use, QNH 2992." *

*CAVOK (kav-okay) means "Ceiling and visibility OK" (i.e. good flying weather).

With QNH set, contact GND again for clearance. Be ready to take notes, as you are required to readback the clearance.

Pilot: "Ground, Chevy11, ready to copy clearance"
GND: "Chevy11, after departure turn right Exit Kishon. 1500 ft or below"
Pilot: "After departure turn right, Exit Kishon, 1500 ft or below, Chevy11"

Reflect a few seconds about what this means and take a look in the charts to identify where this "Exit Kishon" is, and if there are any useful landmarks that will help you find it. Visualize the path you’ll be flying after takeoff.


When ready to taxi, contact Ground again. Be ready to take quick notes as ground will now give you taxi instructions.

Pilot: "Chevy11, requesting taxi."
GND: "Chevy11 cleared taxi Alpha Hotel Bravo Foxtrot and hold short Runway 27."
Pilot: "Cleared taxi Hotel Bravo Foxtrot and hold short Runway 27, Chevy11."

Take a look in the kneeboard, find the mentioned taxiways, and make up a plan for how to get to Runway 27 by taxiing on those taxiways.

Start taxiing. Don’t go too fast. It’s easy to miss a turn. When you have reached the runway (but not entered it, since they asked you to "hold short"), contact ground again (unless they have already contacted you with instructions).

Pilot: "Chevy1 holding short, Runway 27"
GND: "Chevy11, Contact Tower on channel 7"
Pilot: "Tower on 7. Chevy11." (single aircraft) OR "Chevy1, channel 7, push" (flight of 2+)

Switch to Tower Ch 7, and perform a flight check in.

Pilot: "Chevy1"
Wingman: "2"

Let the tower know that you are ready to go.

Pilot: "Tower, Chevy11, at runway 27, ready for departure"
TWR: "Chevy11, line up and wait runway 27"
Pilot: "Line up and wait 27, Chevy11"

Now taxi onto the runway coming to a stop with #1 to the left and #2 to the right slightly behind. If there is a #3 and/or a #4 they should get behind #1 and #2 in a similar manner. If there is significant wind coming from the left, mirror the formation so that #1 stands to the right etc instead.

TWR: "Chevy11, right turnout, cleared for take-off runway 27"
Pilot: "Right turn out, cleared for take-off, 27, Chevy11"

Take off and exit

Take off in pairs or as single aircraft with 15 second separation. When airborne, turn towards the exit point, staying below 300 kts and 1500 feet. Expect instructions to switch to control.

TWR: "Chevy11, contact control on channel 8"
Pilot: "Control on 8, Chevy11" (single aircraft) OR "Chevy1, channel 8, push" (flight of 2+)

Switch to Control Ch 8 and, and perform a flight check in.

Pilot: "Chevy1"
Wingman: "2"

Let them know that you are on your way,

Pilot: "Control, Chevy11, at 1500 ft"
CTL: "Chevy11, radar contact, maintain heading and altitude"
Pilot: "Maintain heading and altitude, Chevy11"

When reaching the exit point, expect instructions to switch to AWACS.

CTL: "Chevy11, contact Stingray on channel 3"
Pilot: "Stingray on 3, Chevy11" (single aircraft) OR "Chevy1, channel 3, push" (flight of 2+)

Contacting AWACS

Switch to Package Ch 3, and perform a flight check in.

Pilot: "Chevy1"
Wingman: "2"

Perform an AIC (Aeronautical Information Circular) check in with the commanding agency on the channel (usually an AWACS). This often involves an authentication. In this example the RAMROD is "GRANDSLICE", so G and A generates the answer R.

Pilot: "Stingray, Chevy11"	
Stingray: "Chevy11, Stingray"		
Pilot: "Stingray, Chevy11, Bullseye 180 for 50, Angels 15, as fragged"
Stingray: "Stingray copy, Chevy11 authenticate Golf Alpha"
Pilot: "Chevy11 authenticates Romeo"
Stingray: "Stingray Radar Contact"

Holding and Push

Continue on your mission. In this example you are on a strike mission. It’s common to have a pre-briefed "push time" and a "time on target". The push time tells when you are supposed to leave holding around a certain point (often marked by a waypoint) and continue towards your target (often marked by another waypoint). The reason for this is to make sure you’re in sync with other flights in your package, as planned.

Continue towards your holding point and orbit around it. 250-300 kts IAS is generally a good speed when holding. When it’s getting close to your push time, adjust your turn so that you get your nose towards the target as close to the push time as possible. Report on the package channel that your flight is pushing.

Pilot: "Chevy1 pushing"

The Attack

In most cases, the leg taking you from hold to target, is planned in a way to put you on the target on the briefed "Time-on-target" (TOT) if you fly at around M 0.8-M 0.9. Sometimes lower depending on aircraft type among other factors. Regardless, you have to monitor your systems and adjust speed to make sure you hit your TOT. In the Hornet, in the top corner of your HSI you can see the estimated time it will take to fly to the selected waypoint.

For high altitude JDAM drops (which is very common for strike missions), as a rule of thumb, fly fast enough that the HSI tells you that you will arrive (overfly) the target waypoint 15-30 seconds before your TOT. The reason for this is that it will take some time for your bombs to reach the ground. Being 15-30 seconds early will put you in the ballpark. You will get into max range roughly 90 seconds before your TOT, and this is roughly how long it takes for the bomb to reach the target. Call out on package when you release your bombs:

Pilot: "Chevy11, pickle"
Wingman: "Chevy12, pickle"

As soon as you have dropped your bombs, turn around towards friendly territory. Don’t overfly the target area. As you were on a strike mission in this example, there is normally little reason to stick around, so point your nose towards the home base, and let AWACS know that your flight has dropped the bombs ("Miller Time") and is returning to base ("RTB").

Pilot: "Stingray, Chevy11"
Stingray: "Chevy11, Stingray"
Pilot: "Chevy1 Miller Time, requesting RTB"
Stingray: "Copy, RTB"

Returning to Base

When you get close to the base (often somewhere between 25 and 80 nm), AWACS will push you over to Ground. If you haven’t heard anything, before 25 nm, feel free to request a switch to Ground.

Stingray: "Chevy11, Stingray"
Pilot: "Stingray, Chevy11"
Stingray: "Contact Ramat David Control on Channel 8"
Pilot: "Control on 8, Chevy11" (single aircraft) OR "Chevy1, channel 8, push" (flight of 2+)

Switch to Control Ch 8, and perform a flight check in.

Pilot: "Chevy1"
Wingman: "2"

Contact control, telling them who you are, distance, altitude and fuel state.

Pilot: "Ramat David Control, Chevy11"
CTL: "Chevy11, Control"
Pilot: "Control, Chevy11, two-ship Hornets, inbound, 35 miles south/west of Ramat David at Angels 6, lowest state 4.5."
CTL: "Chevy11, radar contact, turn left/right heading 310"
Pilot: "310 for Chevy11"

Control will continue guiding you to a position which takes you to the airfield from the correct direction (i.e along the radial of the active runway). You might have to hold a while at this position (in a left hand orbit), but can sometimes be cleared for approach without holding. Control will guide you towards the airfield, and when you get near, they will hand you over to tower.

CTL: "Chevy11, contact Tower on Channel 7"
Pilot "Tower on 7, Chevy11" (single aircraft) OR "Chevy1, channel 7, push" (flight of 2+)

Switch to Tower Ch 7, and perform a flight check in.

Pilot: "Chevy1"
Wingman: "2"

Contact Tower:

Pilot "Tower, Chevy11, inbound"
Tower: "Chevy11 report runway in sight"
Pilot: "Report runway in sight, Chevy11"


When you see the runway, contact tower again:

Pilot: "Tower, Chevy11, runway in sight"
Tower: "Chevy11, wind 270, 2 knots, cleared for left overhead break runway 27"
Pilot: "Cleared for left overhead break runway 27, Chevy11"

Line up with the runway, flying 300 kts IAS at 1500 feet. Perform the overhead break. The flight lead should contact the tower to receive landing clearance by stating his position either in the base turn or on final. The landing clearance is valid for the wingmen as well. They don't need individual clearances.

Pilot: "Chevy11 on final"
Tower: "Chevy11, Tower, cleared to land!"
Pilot: "Cleared to land, Chevy11"

Taxi to Parking

If this wasn’t a touch-n-go, after landing, tower will push you to the Ground channel.

Tower: "Chevy11, contact Ground on channel 6"
Pilot: "Ground on 6, Chevy11" (single aircraft) OR "Chevy1, channel 6, push" (flight of 2+)

Switch to Ground Ch 6, and perform a flight check in.

Pilot: "Chevy1"
Wingman: "2"

Contact ground for parking instructions

Pilot: "Ground, Chevy11"
GND: "Chevy11, Ground"
Pilot: "Ground, Chevy11, rolling off runway 27, requesting taxi to parking"
GND: "Chevy11, cleared taxi Stand 3 via Lima Mike Alpha"
Pilot: "Cleared to Stand 3 via Lima Mike Alpha, Chevy11"

Taxi as instructed, park and shut down.