- A pilot partner of another, a pilot who flies in the same wing or squadron.
- (By extension) a friend who accompanies one to offer (or receive) support
A wingman (or wingmate) is a pilot who supports another in a potentially dangerous flying environment. Wingman was originally a term referring to the plane flying beside and slightly behind the lead plane in an aircraft formation.
The idea behind the wingman is to add the element of mutual support to aerial combat. A wingman makes the flight both offensively and defensively more capable by increasing fire power, situational awareness (hopefully), attacking an enemy threatening a comrade, and most importantly the ability to employ more dynamic tactics.
Erich Hartmann, the German World War II flying ace with the most kills in history, was famous for never having lost a wingman.
The USAF extends the wingman concept to include wingman culture. Wingman culture generalizes the concept of a wingman to include airmen helping airmen. The wingman culture concept has great potential for verbification, for example, that airman should be wingmanned.
- Finger-four formation
wingman in Arabic: رجل الجناح
wingman in German: Flügelmann
wingman in Finnish: Siipimies
wingman in Thai: วิงแมน (การบิน)