Section 4 - Formation SpacingOpen for Business
The Checkride for this Section
- The Check Ride for this section will roughly consist of a Formation Takeoff and Form Up to the Number 4 Position with the Check Rider as Lead. Once Airborne and in Formation, Maintain a distance off the Check Rider of between .0 and .1 of a Mile throughout the flight.
- The key is to maintain position relative to the Check Ride Lead.
- Climb to 1,000 Feet at 500 Ft per Minute
- Be prepared to follow easy Coordinated and Uncoordinated turns and altitude changes with Radio Silence.
- Follow the Lead from your Number 4 Position with Radio Silence
- On request from the Check Rider, Change to the number 2 position.
- Follow the Lead from your Number 2 Position with Radio Silence
- On request from the Check Rider, Change to the number 3 position.
- Follow the Lead from your Number 3 Position with Radio Silence
- On request from the Check Rider, Change to the Lead Position and the Check rider will take up the number 4 position.
- Lead the two ship formation with continuing Radio Silence. The key here is to maintain altitude and Don't Wobble up and down or back and forth. In other words, be easy to follow just like a Lead in a Mission would be expected to fly.
- As Lead, make easy Coordinated turns, Uncoordinated turns and altitude changes while making yourself easy to follow.
Fly Close Formation on Hops 3, 4A, 4B and 5 that's why these Hops are there
and Join in and Fly the Missions
Formation Spacing - The Key to Successful Formation Flying
- Getting it Right in The Past and The Future:
In the past, both Historical and FSX Formation Spacing Documentation has referred to distances between Aircraft in feet. The problem is that FSX does not display feet. It does display Miles and Tenths of a Mile and we can use this to our advantage.
- "I don't like flying with Labels on, It is not realistic when I take Screen Shots."
Aircraft Labels can be cycled ON and OFF with CTRL+SHIFT+L on your Keyboard or they can be programmed to a Button.
- Important Tool to getting 91st Formation Sparing right:
Fly with FSX "Aircraft Labels" ON and you'll have your distance shown in Miles and Tenths, just what you will need for Formation Flying.
"That's great for the Leads and Number 4 Positions, what about the 2 and 3".
The key here is the Number 4. He is in the perfect spot to see the 2 and 3 aircraft and "Coach" and help them to gain and hold their positions within the Element. The Number 4 should not be bashful or overly critical. Patience and understanding are the Key here. The 2 and 3 are the hardest Positions to Fly.
" That's great, but the whole Element wobbles and bobs and is hard to follow".
The Element Lead can make or break the steady Altitude and Course issue with prudent use of the Autopilot. Use the Autopilot to Climb and Descend and to Hold your Altitude and Course and make it easier for your Mates to follow you.
"I dont like to use the Autopilot because it is not realistic"
Ok, but the B-17 was equipped with a good C-1 Autopilot for a good reason, it was there to be used. Some find it easier to use the FSX Autopilot, the principal is the same, use the Autopilot to your advantage and for the sake of the Team.
"How can I get my head around all this?"
That's as easy as 1,2,3. Open and print the following three Documents. Study them and Keep them Handy for Reference as you fly.
Additional Help Available
MacDill, KMCF, has a formation grid where Pilots can spawn into parking locations designed to show correct Formation Spacing and alignment.
These spots are clearly marked on the tarmac and separated by 50 foot wide grass areas. The best way to get a feel for this spacing is to spawn into the grid as a group. The Grid allows you to experience the correct distances between the Aircraft and the Elements
Zoom Levels can distort your view. There are many opinions when it comes to the most realistic zoom level and most say about .70 (70%) is the most realistic
If you fly with a Widescreen Monitor, you should have "WideViewAspect=True" in the [Display] section of your fsx.cfg file