How do you fly a SID with multiple tacans/VORs?

Operating an F-16 on the ground or in the air - from the engine start sequence, over replacing a wing, to aerial refueling procedures
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Unread post31 Mar 2020, 08:42

If you're flying out of a civilian airport and have to fly a SID using multiple tacans or VORs (can de F16 even receive VORs?) how would you go about setting this in the cockpit? I understand you could set the intersect waypoints etc up as steerpoints but how about backing it up with raw data?

For example, lets say you have to fly a radial out to a certain DME and then turn to intercept another radial from another beacon. If you're flying at 300+ kts and with the performance of a fighter jet and altitude restrictions this seems like a busy period in a short period of time.

I assume you would tune the first beacon and radial on EHSI and when you've reached the DME then press T-ILS , tune the next beacon and set new course on EHSI. Does that sound about right?


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Unread post31 Mar 2020, 16:18

The A only had TACAN, no VOR, and I imagine C is the same. Not sure what a T-ILS is.

If I understand the question correctly, you're referencing a SID with a departure radial outbound to a DME off of one TACAN (or VORTAC) and then a transition inbound to another TACAN (or VORTAC) on a different radial.

As you say you can get busy at times in a single seater. But even if you took the INS/GPS waypoint info out of the picture entirely, I'm not sure that simply flying a departure radial to a DME and then just switching TACAN frequencies and setting a new HSI course as you 'approach' the first DME....and then turning and intercepting the new course inbound and adhering to published altitudes falls outside of something normally expected of an F-16 driver.

I would imagine that type of procedure is evaluated on the annual instrument check and I not sure that a temporary mile or so track deviation is outside of even most RNAV SID tolerances (not including the RNP stuff). Even at 300 knots, remember that the F-16 driver generally is not limited to 30 degrees of bank or less for track adjustments like an airliner normally and above 10,000 published for some of the transition points even most airliners are accelerating to 300 or more for climb.

I not sure what Nav system code (/A, /R, etc.) goes on the Viper flight flight plans these days, but they may even have the RNAV option with the GPS, doing away with the TACAN nav requirement altogether.

I looked at AirNav at three places that base F-16s, two civvy and one mil, KTUS (Tucson), KMSN (Madison) & KLUF (Luke). KTUS and KLUF both have TACAN SIDs like you describe, none look daunting for a single seater. KMSN doesn't even have published SIDs, just fly a heading until intercepting course. :D

As a fallback, one can always use the old F-4 gambit and 'beg' for radar vectors. :mrgreen: I will admit that I gave an F-4 instrument check to a guy that missed his TACAN point to point exercise by 10 miles at the old Forbes AFB. :shock: Close enough for Reserve work. I don't even think they do TACAN point to points anymore now with the GPS luxury....a lost art.


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Unread post31 Mar 2020, 16:58

Flying - Under the Hood.docx
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"Back in the day," we didn't have an INS, a co-pilot, or even an autopilot. All USAF (and NATO) student pilots learned to fly solo, in all weather, in a very high performance T-38. Even I succeeded, which is a testament to the Air Force's training.

If you don't mind a long read, attached is a story involving one of my T-38 UPT student instrument training sorties. It should answer your questions about single TACAN navigation.
F-4C/D, F-16A/B/C/D, 727, DC-10, MD-80, A321

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