Subject: Overhead breaks - how many variants ?
From: email@example.com(Erik Shilling)
Date: Jun 10 1996
Although I have been following this thread I can't recall anyone
giving the original reason for the fighter approach and break.
Also the reason for the pitch up break which had a very important
tactical reason for executing such a maneuver.
The overhead break is the quickest and easiest way for the
formation leader to establish separation to land a formation of
The pitch up, flying down the runway at about 100 feet, then a hard
pulling up turning to down wind, is the quickest way to slow down
without cooling the engine too drastically. The circling approach
to touchdown, gave the fighter pilot the best visibility of the
A flight of fighters, returning from a mission would descend from
their cruise altitude of 15 to 20 thousand feet, using cruise power
to keep their engines warm. Many time the speed would be close to
The purpose for using the high speed approach, was that after a
mission, the returning fighters were most likely be low on
ammunition and fuel. This was the time the fighters were most
vulnerable and were most frequently jumped by the enemy. The less
time they spent in the landing pattern, and the quicker they got on
the ground to be rearmed and refueled, the safer they were in the
event of an air-raid.
Yes, most fighters on approach were quite blind over the nose,
some more so than others. The turning approach until about 25 feet
above the runway was the most practical way to land a fighter.
Erik Shilling Author; Destiny: A Flying Tiger's
Flight Leader Rendezvous With Fate.
3rd Squadron AVG