Situational awareness

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Learning objectives

  1. Know where your wingman is
  2. Know where likely air threats are coming from
  3. Know where likely ground threats are
  4. Have a plan for safely exiting the air
  5. Key sensors for maintaining situational awareness (eyes, FCR, HSD, RWR, datalink)

Learning files


When flying, it’s important to be able to communicate where you are or where something else is, either in relation to yourself or as an absolute position. There are three common systems of referencing a position. These are BRAA, bullseye position, and clock direction.

Clock direction

The simplest and quickest, but least accurate method. Imagine the plane sitting on a clock face with the nose pointing towards 12 o’clock and the tail towards 6 o’clock. Now you can reference a bearing by giving the approximate clock direction relative to your nose.

For example, 1 o’clock is just to the right of your nose, 9 o’clock is directly to your left, etc. Enemy planes are, famously, on your 6 o'clock.

When calling out a direction, preface the number by saying “left” or “right”. For example “Tally bandit, right three o’clock!. Doing this makes it quicker for listeners to comprehend where the target is, and inserts a measure of error checking. If you say “Right 10 o’clock” by accident, it’s easy for listeners to understand you meant 2 o’clock. Clock directions are most useful for giving directions to things within visual range.


BRAA stands for Bearing, Range, Altitude, and Attitude. It is the easiest method to communicate the position of a contact on your radar to your flight members.

To give a BRAA position you’ll simply read off the direction you see the target in, its range and altitude (from the radar), and what direction it’s going.

Example BRAA bandit call: “Bandit, 030, 35 miles, angels 15, hot!”. In this situation there’s a hostile aircraft at bearing 030 degrees 35 nmi away that’s flying at 15000 feet coming towards you.