View Full Version : Novice Formation
9th Jul 2004, 16:03
Has anyone ever just gone up and done some pre-arranged formation but without any formal instruction or practise?
What was it like - i'm just intrigued!
(well actually i would love some air to air photos.....)
9th Jul 2004, 16:20
ACW 355 my old mate
One word "DON'T". You are risking you and your aircraft if you do.
All is not lost, there are loads of experienced formation guys out there. Mostly ex forces. In my experience they are only to happy to sit and talk through the rules and techniques. Then sit with you whilst you practice. The ones I,ve found do this for beer. (just be aware how much beer an ex RN/RAF pilot can drink). There are also a number of formation weekends you can go to. I think Ultimate High at kemble do this regularly. I do not know them, but from what I know of them they are highly regarded.
Is is not up to me to say what you can or can not do. All i can do is proffer some advice based on experience. It is your responsibility as the aircraft commander to exercises your judgement. Just brief your pax before you fly of your formation experience so they can exercise theirs.
Wide (ex ACE-47)
9th Jul 2004, 16:22
I know it has been done and people have got away with it, but it is like many things done without proper instruction, there are inherent dangers in formation flying that you will not know of and can bite you when things go wrong. i would suggest you get someone with you who knows what they are doing.:uhoh:
9th Jul 2004, 16:42
An earlier discussion on this can be found here. (http://www.pprune.org/forums/showthread.php?threadid=76540)
The conclusion was very much along the lines of the above posts.
If you want to do it, fire up the combat flight sim and get in there.
9th Jul 2004, 17:38
If you want to do it, fire up the combat flight sim and get in there
Don't think he will get many air to air photographs that way:confused:
9th Jul 2004, 18:54
Don't think he will get many air to air photographs that way
I was only wondering, I'm not stupid enough to go up without someone experienced by my side - i just wanted to know other peoples experiences
9th Jul 2004, 20:10
Sorry, a bit difficult to tell from the screen name
9th Jul 2004, 22:09
It's easier to tell from her location........at least she seems to be from the same place most of my ex-girlfriends were from :O :O
Sorry.....couldn't resist ;) All my ex's were lovely ;)
10th Jul 2004, 08:48
Would underline above comments and the thread highlighted by Fly Stim by repeating a comment I heard from a senior GA publishing individual last year:
"Untrained formation flying might quite possibly be the fastest way to kill two pilots".
I would venture to suggest that formation novices who attend our courses are surprised at just how many ways it is possible to mess up, and how detailed the formation Standard Operating Procedures are in order to make it a safe exercise. Our SOPs are lifted straight from the RAF - unsurprisingly, as they work well there and our instructors are already familiar with them - and students have to memorise these before starting the course.
There are a couple of good places where you can learn formation safely and professionally. Very happy to offer free advice and coffee at Kemble or Goodwood to anybody who'd like to chat about formation flying. Or any other form of flying come to that! :D
10th Jul 2004, 14:53
A bit OT but there's a formation rating (or endorsement, can't remember) that you need to have to fly in formation PIC in Australia - sensible, I'd say! It's for the safety...
Greeners you old fox.......are you trying to drum up more business??
11th Jul 2004, 09:48
Formation is a highly specialised skill that requires proper training in order for it to be done safely.
This is not said to put you off, because it is great fun - get the training first and then speak to someone in the know.
If you plan to formate on another aircraft with the other commander's prior agreement (the law - and that's all it is) and take pictures of him/her whilst flying your own aircraft, then I am already talking to a dead person.
11th Jul 2004, 15:56
Don't be put off by this all. Feel encouraged and go and do it, but only after being instructed properly by someone who does know what you are talking about.
Greeners and AC are too modest and no doubt there are others who can provide excellent training but you could do a lot worse than talking to these good folks at www.ultimatehigh.co.uk.
They even managed to get me to understand the basics and have a lot of fun during the training I got from them.
Let's know how you got on!
11th Jul 2004, 18:26
Thanks for all the replies, I'm not silly and was just wondering because personally, i think the law on formation 'prior agreement' is dangerous.
I think the CAA should consider aeros + formation ratings like in CASA do in Oz.
I have been up with Ultimate High already and am seriously considering doing some formation training ;)
12th Jul 2004, 08:55
Don't want to prolong the 'don't do it without training' comments because they are all correct. For reasonable air to air photos you dont need to be in close formation but you do still need to get some training and make sure you are flying with a photo ship pilot who knows what he is doing. In some ways photo work is more dangerous than close formation as you tend to be changing position quite a lot and trying to get interesting angles.
I have flown quite a few photo sorties but always with a known photo ship pilot, a known photographer, and a pre flight briefing. It is great fun and we work as a team to get the best shots possible to show off the characteristics of the aircraft in question.
12th Jul 2004, 11:02
As already said, don't do formation flying without both pilots trained. I've had a couple of hairy experiences and am very wary now.
What I now do for simple air photos, not having had training and only when I trust the lead pilot, is to go up with a 300mm lens, have a good brief on the ground, decide where we are going and where our turns are going to be, lead aircraft must just fly straight and make shallow turns, possibly to the right away from the photo plane that can keep at a good distance to the left and move up down and slightly forward following photographers instructions.