# Velocity Vector and Lift Vector

We need to introduce some terminology used to explain basic fighter maneuvers.

The first is the velocity vector. In physics, a vector is a quantity that also has a direction. So the velocity vector is the direction of our velocity or speed in three dimensions. Essentially, it is where our nose is pointed. This is not exactly correct, as there is a difference between nose position and velocity vector (angle of attack) but for the purposes of air combat we will use where the nose is pointed as a rough approximation of velocity vector. From the pilot seat, we have a very convenient aid in determining velocity vector, the gun sight. Where the sight points is our velocity vector. Modern aircraft actually display the velocity vector on the Heads Up Display (HUD). Normally this is termed the Flight Path marker or something similar.

The second term we need is the lift vector. The lift vector is the direction of lift. For our purposes it is considered to be perpendicular to the velocity vector. Imagine an arrow from your cockpit seat extending upwards out the top of the canopy. This is the lift vector. When you look straight up when seated in the cockpit, you are looking at the direction of the lift vector.