What is Combat Flying?

Combat Flying or Air Combat Manoeuvring (ACM) is generally referred to as ' dog fighting'. 

Early in World War I military leaders recognised the value of air power was more than just to annoy ground troops. 

As aircraft developed rapidly and the weapons they carried improved, it was obvious that he who controlled the skies over the battle field would have a definite advantage. 

Thus, the downing of enemy aircraft before they had a chance to release bombs, or strafe ground forces was essential. The best way to do this was with another aircraft.

The art of air combat manoeuvring gained the name of 'dog fighting' over the trenches in France with famous names such as Baron Manfred Von Richthofen ( the Red Baron), Billy Bishop and Rene Fonck all exceptional aerial tacticians and combat pilots. 

combat flying

Records of their heroism can be seen at the Musee D L'air at Le Bourget where the Paris Airshow is held. The ability to conduct combat manoeuvres since that time is an essential part of airpower. 

All Air Forces of the world have dedicated flying squadrons that teach combat flying. In the RAAF, 76 SQN based in Williamtown near Sydney, trains initial fighter pilots in the basics. 

They then proceed to develop these combat flying skills on posting to Squadrons (No's 3,75,77SQN and 2OCU) operating the Hornet, Super Hornet and shortly the F-35. Those that are the best of these combat pilots may go on to undertake Fighter Combat Instructors (FCI) course. 

These pilots are the true ' top guns' of the Air Force and each operational squadron will have one FCI on strength to ensure combat tactics remain at the cutting edge. 

The cost to train a pilot in the RAAF is estimated to be around 1 million dollars, another million to train them to be a basic fighter pilot and another million to make them fighter combat instructors. 

Combat Flights Melbourne will introduce you to some of the gentler manoeuvres that these top guns perform but the basic principles remain the same - and it won't cost you that much money!