Mission Planning

Mission Planning Captain Joe Fagan, left, and First Lieutenant Randy Chow prepare flight plans prior to a "mission" in their F-4G Phantom II Advanced Wild Weasel aircraft simulator. PHOTO from November 84 AIRMAN Magazine

🚧 This section is under construction.

Optimum use of the aircraft to obtain maximum performance with minimum fuel consumption requires careful preflight planning for the mission. The planning of a mission involves many things which are beyond the scope of this publication. As used here, mission planning will cover certain key phases of a mission and explain the use of performance charts.

The following sample Counter Air mission demonstrates features of performance data. Although the sample problem does not cover the many mission capabilities of the aircraft, it familiarizes the aircrew with the use of performance data so that any mission may be preflight planned in a short time.

The sample problem illustrates, through a graphical solution, how performance charts can be integrated to form a complete mission flight plan. The steps used to develop such a plot are shown with the problem.

Counter Air Mission Profile

Perform maximum thrust takeoff and climb at military thrust. Cruise at optimum altitude and maximum range speed to a combat zone 500 miles from the air base. Drop external tanks when empty. Perform combat maneuvering at maximum thrust for the full duration — allowed by return and landing fuel requirements. Missiles and gun rounds are assumed to be expended at the end of the combat period. Return to the airfield at optimum altitude and airspeed. Descend at maximum range descent, arriving at the destination with 2000 pounds landing fuel reserve. The Counter Air Mission Overview and the Sample Mission Plan depict the overall mission plan.

Mission Data


  • (4) AIM-9 Missiles, Pylons and Launchers
  • (4) AIM-7D Missiles
  • (1) Nose-gun (639 rounds ammo)
  • (2) 370 Gallon External Wing Tanks
  • (1) 600 Gallon Centerline Tank
  • Useable Fuel (includes external tanks) 20,768 pounds

Mission Factors


Pressure altitude2000 Ft
Runway length9000 Ft
Climb out wind(headwind) 20 Kt
Cruise out wind(headwind) 50 Kt
Cruise return wind(tailwind) 50 Kt
Descent wind(tailwind) 20 Kt


Pressure altitude2000 Ft
Runway length9000 Ft