Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Formation Flight

On to the next one! Formation flights! Last week my form partner and I (Tim Phillips) got out our first form flight. In formation flights, you fly the airplanes in a formation (duh) and sometimes the correct position is pretty damn close. The correct position for the "Parade" position for instance is 4 feet wing-tip to wing-tip, 10 feet of step down, and 20 feet nose to tail. Until you get used to it, it feels extremely unnatural to be that close to another airplane. Hell, I just finished my 2nd and 3rd flight of forms and it still doesn't really feel natural. Our flight's call sign is "Magnum." We got to pick whatever we wanted, and for some reason Magnum made Tim and I laugh so we went with it. Most of the instructors get a kick out of it. It is better than "Eagle" or something else nerdy. We let the Air Force guys pick crap like that. So we had an "Out and in" today. That basically means that for the first flight we flew to Bay Minette, Alabama and landed at the strip there (1R8). We got served up by the cute FBO girls that work there (food is free... I tried to trick Tim into giving me 5 bucks saying I already paid for his but LT Bintz ratted me out, I got Bintzed), and then flew back to NAS Whiting. Of course on the way there and on the way back we went through the routine of our form flight. It consists of giving each other hand signals (you are flying close enough to see and acknowledge them) and then complying with the signals. Cross-under (just like it sounds, crossing from one side to the other- boxing the corners), break-up and rendezvous (break up is self explanatory- the rendezvous part is the lead plane setting a 20 degree angle of bank and the wing position setting a 30 degree and slowly burning holes in the sky until you rejoin up in formation), and a lead change (both pilots get a chance to fly lead, and then wingman). I'm trucking along in flight school now after not doing much for quite a few weeks... and am starting to have a lot of fun. The weather has been beautiful and every instructor we have been flying with has been really cool. I think that is all for now. Check out the pics (they aren't me and my partner, but you get a look at the parade and turn-away position). And I'll slip one in there of the Bay Minette girls. Check back soon for more!

JR... out.

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