Be a Better Wingman
Four rules for flying warbirds in formation
steve and lyle perform a low fly-by pass with their Mustangs at the Warbirds over Iowa 2012. Photo by rich Dean
Tex T & Pho Tos lyle vasser
One of the fantastic things about RC flying is that there are so many
facets of the hobby to explore! One area that I’ve found to be very rewarding and
challenging is RC formation flying. This is the most interesting thing I’ve ever done
with RC planes. Flying formation in full-scale aircraft is a skill that has to be cautiously
learned. However, unlike flying full-scale aircraft in formation, the RC pilot doesn’t
have the benefit of being inside the aircraft to see how close his plane is to the other
aircraft. RC formation flying is accomplished strictly by depth perception alone. After
doing this for a number of years, I’ve gotten visually sensitive to the little variations
in the sizes of our aircraft, in relation to each other, when flying. However, this is not
like riding a bicycle or in other words, something you can pick right up after a short
break. It is different every time we fly because so many variables are at play: wind,
turbulence, engine settings, and your wingman’s twitchiness, just to name a few.
1. A willing (and brave) partner
with solid flying abilities.
2. Two fairly similar RC aircraft.
The more similar the aircraft, the
easier it is to match performance.
3. Excellent visual depth
4. Two pints of courage mixed
with one shot of determination.