Originally posted by AAFO_WSagar
The reason I ask.. the few times I've flown in formation flights, as passenger, of course <snif> there is significant motion between the airplanes..
Ideally, two airplanes flying through roughly the same patch of air should be affected by it in the same way. As long as the pilot is being *proactive* about moving the stick and throttles to maintain formation position versus being *reactive*, the two airplanes should be relatively stable. Sure, there will be minor movements, but in general about 3 or so feet in either direction is about the most movement there should be.

It's that proactive versus reactive that, I think, makes the difference between a good and bad formation pilot. There are really two aspects to being a good formation pilot -- skill and proficiency.

I don't think it's too difficult to teach someone to fly formation -- even the nonmilitary types can pick it up good enough to fly a loose position for a race start or even airshow warbird flying.

I really think that a lot of it is proficiency. Formation flying is a perishable skill, just like instrument flying, and if you don't do it, you're not good at it. I fly formation every day...it's an administrative thing, just like flying an instrument approach or even raising and lowering the gear. For people that don't do it every day, they're a little rusty.

As for flying in large formations, there's a trick to it. As the guy at the "end of the whip", if the guy *you* are flying off is moving, your movements off him are only exaggerated, making the whole formation look awkward. If you look "through" him, and fly also off the guy *he* is flying off of, then you can avoid "cracking the whip".