For most pilots, flying close to another airplane is something to avoid rather than embrace. But when properly taught and methodically learned, formation flying provides pilots another level of achievement with the potential to expand horizons. The North Carolina 2010 Formation Clinic at Rowan County Airport (KRUQ) November 12-14 offers RV pilots the opportunity to learn Formation Flying Inc. (FFI) standards from FFI card holders with hundreds of hours of formation time. The clinic also provides a venue for those seeking a check ride to earn their FFI Wingman or Flight Lead card.
RV-8 pilot Ron “Smokey” Schreck, the organizer and host of this free clinic, has set up a Yahoo group with details: registration, aircraft and liability requirements, scheduling and logistics information such as hotel links, and a forum for Q&A. Smokey is a Flight Lead with Team RV Formation Demonstration Team. He and at least 15 other FFI card holders from Team RV and other formations groups from around the country will teach and demonstrate at the clinic.
“Close formation flying is a challenge, and that’s why it is a draw for many pilots” said Schreck. “Every formation flight is a learning experience which is rewarding and humbling at the same time.”
Participation in the clinic requires that you have broad experience in your aircraft and solid stick and rudder skills. Beyond that, you must complete a bit of homework and read (cover to cover) the T-34 Formation Training Manual as well as the RV Supplement, learn the formation hand signals contained therein, and have proficient radio communication skills. No prior formation experience is required, but a word of advice from Smokey . . . “leave your ego at home.”