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Standard Operating Procedures


Mission Planning Basics

  • The commander will designate an AMC. The AMC will then designate all the flight crews. After aircrew selection, the AMC will assign each crew specific tasks to aid in the planning process.
  • The AMC will develop a timeline beginning with the ground tactical plan and working backwards. This timeline should include ample time for planning, pre-flight, briefing, and rehearsal of the mission.
  • The mission will be planned to support the ground tactical plan and based on mission, enemy, terrain and weather, troops and support available, time available, and civil considerations (METT-TC).
  • At minimum, planners should take into consideration: different types and performance of aircraft, ceiling and visibility, wind, pressure altitude, temperature, illumination, surface conditions of PZ/LZ, and actions on the objective (specifically: landing formations, and go-arounds at a minimum).
  • Once the planning is complete, the AMC will conduct the aircrew mission brief using the 2-229th Mission brief.


  • Influences selection of terrain flight techniques (especially if mission is performed at night).
  • Factors such as light levels and moon illumination complicate NVG flight at terrain flight altitudes.
  • The lack of visual actuity may demand a lower airspeed &/or higher altitude.


  • Threat weapons can detect & engage aircraft at low altitudes. Select the appropriate terrain flight mode to avoid or minimize detection.

Terrain and Weather

  • Vegetation and Terrain features masking an aircraft from visual and electronic detection significantly degrade the capability of threat weapons to detect an aircraft.
  • Determine a maximum safe flight altitude by availability of terrain features and vegetation. Use the highest terrain flight altitude for a specific condition.
  • A higher flight altitude reduces difficulty in navigation, permits a higher airspeed, reduces hazards to terrain flight, and minimizes fatigue.
  • Periods of deteriorating weather with low ceilings/restricted visibility may make all terrain flight modes extremely difficult or impossible.
  • It also makes navigation more difficult & increases potential for IIMC, especially when flying in formation or operating in an unfamiliar environment.


  • Factors, such as aircrew availability, experience level, effects of the fighter management program, and mission-orientated protective posture, may affect selection of terrain flight techniques.


  • Influences selection of the terrain flight mode. Whenever possible, the route should be flown at the highest flight mode to permit the shortest completion time.

Civil Consideratons

  • The selection of a particular mode must consider the safety of and potential thread from any civilian sector.

Roles & responsibilities

Air Mission Commander:

  • Responsible for planning, organizing, and briefing the mission; delegating tasks within the flight, and ensuring flight integrity, discipline, and mission accomplishment.
  • The AMC will normally fly in the Chalk 2 or Chalk 3 position depending on the number of aircraft in the flight. AMC will act as overall Commander as well as Commander of the Flight or Team that he is flying in.

Flight Commander/Team Commander:

  • Acts as the AMC for an individual Flight.

Flight Lead:

  • Flight lead is designated by the AMC, is generally the most proficient PC (Pilot in Command), and is the formation leader.
  • Flight leads are selected based on ability and demonstrated knowledge of missions, tactics, and local SOPs.

Ground Mission Commander:

  • In charge of ground tactical planning and ground personnel.
  • Assumes responsibility for accomplishing the ground mission.

Mission Brief


Roll Call: [Airframes, Pilots, Roles, Chalk order]

Time Hack: [DCS Playtime]


Enemy: [Mission INTEL – location, strength, weapons, intent]
Friendly: [Location, strength, role etc.]
Weather: [Wind speed & Direction, Temp, Cloud, visibility]
Terrain: [topography area of operations]


[Who] [What] [Why] [Where] [When]


Communications: [Radio Nets] [Callsigns]
Scheme of manoeuvre (as an operation or by flight or objective)
[Ground] [Take Off] [Routes] [ACP’s to include RPs, RV, Ingress &
Egress][Formation] [Altitude] [Speed] [Movement] [LZs] [landing] [CAS etc]


[contact] [Objective success / fail] [Loss visual contact] [loss COMMS]
[Downed aircraft]


Command: [chain of command] [Role Leads] [Flight Leads]
Resupply: [Airfields, FARPs]
MEDEVAC: [activate, procedure]


Where, what, how...(note: feedback routes Training Wing, Miz design, HHC, Company Commanders)



Radio communications during formation flight must be efficient and brief.

The need for radio communications can be greatly reduced through use of visual signals, established procedures in the unit SOP, and a thorough mission brief covering all contingencies.

The ability to execute multi-aircraft radio-silence missions requires a proficiency that aircrew members achieve only through training and practice.

Radio-silence missions should be used with discretion, with safety being the priority.

UHF Command Net:

All aviation assets are on this net. AMC is in control of this net. This Command and Control net should be reserved for essential comms only.

VHF Flight to Flight Net:

Allows separate Flights to communicate without cluttering the Command and Flight Internal Nets.

FM Flight Internal Net:

Each Flight/Team has its own net for internal communications.

Example would be a gunship Team that needs to communicate with a Flight that they are escorting.


Below is the 229th Signals Operating Instructions (SOI).

The SOI includes predetermined mission frequencies that are authorized for a unit to use.

A 229th AMC can utilize and adjust the SOI as necessary and adjust any frequencies as required to simplify radio communications.

Radio presets are included in the 229th SOI and can aid in effective radio communication only if there set up properly with in the mission editor. DCS Mission Editor Aircraft Frequence Setup

Flight Internal Flight to Flight Command Net / Guard
Assault 30.00 (Ch 1) 118.00 (Ch 3) 251.00 (Ch 1) Primary
255.00 (Ch 2) Alternate
31.00 (Ch2) or 2.00
Guns 32.00 (Ch 3) 120.00 (Ch 4)
33.00 (Ch 4) or 5.00
Scouts 34.00 (Ch 1) 122.00 (Ch 5)
35.00 (Ch2) or 5.00

Communication Checks

When AMC observes all aircraft are running he will use UHF to order all Flight & Team Commanders to initiate a communications check.

“All elements conduct comms check and report complete”

Flight & Team commanders will then initiate their como checks. This will be based on aircraft breakdown and mission size and will be at the discretion of the AMC.

“Flight initiate como check”
“This is 1 on VHF, This is 1 on FM”
“This is 2 on VHF, This is 2 on FM”
“This is 3 on VHF, This is 3 on FM”
“Roger, I had all aircraft on all frequencies.”

Note: AMC will participate in the como check of the group he is flying with.
Note: Individual flights will not conduct como checks on UHF as this is a shared frequency by all aircraft 
and will cause excessive radio clutter and confusion.

Flight & Team Commanders will note issues within the flights como check as the como check is being executed. Onces the communication errors are resolved he will report to AMC.

“Bandit 14 this is Saber 22 our radio checks are complete.”

Flight Procedures

Formation Line Up Procedures:

  • Lead aircraft when ready will turn off anti-collision light.
  • Preceding aircraft will turn off their anti-collision lights when read and only in chalk order.
  • The trail aircraft will be the last to turn of their anti-collisions light and they will give the flight lead the Up Call.
  • The call will be Flight Call-Sign followed by the word Beacon.
    • Example: "Bandit Flight Beacon."
  • The lead aircraft will make ATC call if necessary followed by the Torch call.
  • Upon Hearing "Torch" the entire flight will lift off the ground at five seconds.

Light Signals:

  • Anti-collision light on: Aircraft not ready
  • Anti-collision light off: Aircraft ready
  • Positions Lights Bright: Maintenance Issue/Lost Como

Lost Como:

  • Initiate PACE Plan.
  • Signal lost como by turning on positions Lights to bright and steady.
    • If you’re trailing an aircraft, pull up alongside.
    • An aircraft recognizing a lost como will acknowledge with bright steady position lights.
    • Lost como aircraft upon seeing acknowledgment signal will turn off positions lights.
  • All aircraft within the flight will then turn off their positions lights and return to formation.
  • Once recognized, lost como aircraft should assume a position between the lead and trail aircraft.

PACE Plan:

  • Primary: FM Internal
  • Alternate: VHF
  • Contingency: UHF
  • Emergency: Team Speak


Master List

ABORT: Directive to cease action/attack/event/mission.

ATTACK COMPLETE: Mandatory call from the attack aircraft to the FAC during type III control indicating completion of ordnance release.

AUTHENTICATE: To request or provide a response for a coded challenge.

BEACON: Flight ready for take off

BINGO: Pre Briefed fuel state which is needed for recovery using pre briefed parameters.

BLIND: No sight of friendly aircraft / ground position. Opposite of VISUAL

BOOMERANG: Abort or cancel mission

BREAK: (Up/Down/Right/Left) - Directive to perform an immediate maximum performance turn in the indicated direction. Assumes a defensive situation.

CHECK: (# ° left or right or 3 figure bearing): Info call or order. Turn as indicated

CHECK NAV: (correction): Lead disorientated? Any aircraft announces...

CHERRY: LZ HOT or not within specifications i.e. SHERLOCK CHERRY

CONTACT: Acknowledge sighting of specified reference point

CONVOY: Flight formed or in mission profile

FALLEN ANGEL: Aircraft is down (crashed or precautionary landing)

ICE: LZ COLD or within specifications i.e. SHERLOCK ICE

JUNKYARD: Serious mechanical problem

OLD TIMER: # (of Knots)Serial Slow Down.

PUSH: (# frequency or # channel): Switch to designated frequency

QUICKSAND: Delay at PZ or LZ

Road Runner: # (of Knots)Serial Speed up.

SADDLED: Info call from wingman indicating in briefed formation position

SHERLOCK: Perform / report conditions check on LZ

SMASH ON / OFF: Turn ON or OFF anti-collision beacon

SOUR: Equipment indicated NOT operating efficiently. Opposite SWEET

STUMBLE: Lead disorientated, announces action...

SWEET: Equipment indicated operating efficiently Opposite SOUR

TALLY: Sight of target, enemy craft, position or landmark. Opp NO JOY

TIMBER: Network Link. i.e. TIMBER SOUR or TIMBER SWEET  (KA50)

TORCH: Flight is taking off in 5 seconds

VISUAL: Sighting of friendly aircraft / ground position. Opposite of BLIND

WEAPONS FREE: Weapons systems armed, AI set to ‘FREE FIRE’

WEAPONS HOLD: Weapons systems safe, AI set to ‘HOLD’

WEAPONS TIGHT: Weapons systems armed, AI set to ‘RETURN FIRE’

WINCHESTER: No ordnance remaining.

NO JOY: No sight of target, enemy craft, position or landmark. Opp TALLY