Boom and Zoom
Boom and Zoom (also known as BnZ) is the name of a play style that aims to take advantage of a high energy state to bounce the enemy, avoiding any prolonged fighting in order to conserve speed and/or altitude.
To Boom and Zoom, the first thing you should do is climb high. It is best not to climb directly into the battle, since BnZ-planes are usually worse climbers, since the weight that gives them good speed sustainment against the air drag and successional good retention of inertia in a Zoom Climb makes them slightly sluggish at climbing. A common mistake is made by the assumption of those heavier planes diving faster, but as one can disprove taking the motion equation for a velocity v dependent on time t
- v(t) = ∫a dt = (F/m - g + k(v)) ∫dt
which holds at a constant engine thrust F affecting to the mass of the airplane m with resulting uplift k(v) (including air drag). That proves the velocity is even inverse proportional to the mass (lighter planes accelerate faster, even on dive). Additionally the gravity constant g is speeding up the plane towards ground independent of its mass.
Once the pilot reached a significantly higher altitude than the opponent, the pilot should introduce a dive for transforming their potential energy into speed. Usually the plane is now nearby its limit forces but will retain its velocity for a long time. Not to worsen the energy only wide curves and rolling maneuvers will be flown at this state. According to that an outstanding agility and rolling rate at high speeds is a required property of the used plane type, such as the Focke-Wulf series provides.
The attack itself can occur while diving phase or the zooming phase and also usually more than one target is being attacked because turning targets will be difficult to hit and therefore the success rate is low, while a great fire power might help.Failed BnZ attack due corkscrew. Source: gfycat.com
Relation to other styles
BnZ is a form of Energy fighting. While this can be said of any aerial combat, it does show on a visible manner what energy means for duels. In relation to "true" energy fighters like the Bf 109G-2, Lavochkin series, or the F8F Bearcat, the Boom and Zoomer must rely on energy gained before the combat, which makes this style very dependent on the pilots situational awareness. Distinguished to a energy fighter the BnZ attack is safer as one can be shot only during a very short period immediately after the attack. Ideally the BnZ'ing attacker is gone out of fire range within a second. This being said one recognizes that the attacker will also have a very short time to shoot, but as the pilot holds the initiative, their chances to hit the enemy are much higher than reverse like.
It differs from Boom and Run as that the attacking fighter does not necessarily need a high level top speed.
Counter example, the Ki-61 series has a modest top speed which may not allow it to chase faster planes, but it has exceptional energy retention and decent maneuverability which matters most. Good vertical energy retention and high speed control ability matter for BnZ.
For this very reason the F7F does not suit BnZ style, as it locks up to fast in a dive. Boom and Run tactics however are an excellent choice.
Compared to Turn and Burn with its high and low yoyos we can see "classical" dogfight elements in BnZ, too. Vertical reverses in form of the Immelmann (half loop) and normal loops. These maneuvers however benefit from a good power to weight ratio, like 109s and thus should be favoured by energy fighters.
Planes that benefit the most from a strict BnZ philosophy
- Fw 190 Series;
- Most American fighers, such as the P-51's, P-47's, P-38's, Hellcats and Corsairs, the main exceptions being the F8F Bearcat and the F7F Tigercat;
- Tempest Mk.V and Tempest Mk.II (note these also excel in Boom and Run);
- J7W1 Shinden;
- Most jet aircraft, although those work in a different way, particularly in the fact that to many, speed is much more important than altitude