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Visual Coverage Priorities
Marine Fighting Squadron 251

An important aspect of operating as a section, or even a flight, is which pilots are responsible for visually covering which hemisphere of the formation. This coverage is prioritized depending on whether the pilot is the section leader or wingman.

Section Leader

The section leader's first priority is to scan the skies ahead of him, so his primary focus is to be on areas ahead of the formation's 3/9 line. Secondarily, he will cover the area behind the formation towards his wingman's 6. Lastly, he looks to the outside rear of the formation.


The wingman's first priority is to cover his section leader. Thus, his primary area of focus is to be to the rear of the formation towards the section leader's 6. Secondarily he will assist the leader in covering the area ahead of the formation. Finally, he covers the outside rear of the formation.

The result is overlapping coverage of each pilot's vulnerable rear area, particularly in the vulnerable low-6 blind spot where a pilot may be unable to detect a threat.


When searching the skies around the formation, the primary focus is on areas approximately level to the formation. The area high is to be considered secondary, while the area below the formation is tertiary.