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T-34C PRIMARY FORMATION FLIGHT TRAINING
CHAPTER FIVE
CHAPTER FIVE
FORMATION EMERGENCIES
500. INTRODUCTION
Just like anything in formation, emergencies are dealt with differently than in a single-plane
sortie. Always remember, no matter what is going on in the formation, the greatest immediate
threat is going to be a midair collision with your formation partner. The threat of a mid-air
collision can be alleviated in seconds by using the radios to ensure the aircraft with the problem
has the lead (if he is not already in the lead position). Once a crisp, expeditious lead change
occurs, the formation can deal with the emergency. The "rule of thumb" for a formation
emergency is the emergency aircraft will always initially have the lead, and the non-emergency
aircraft will assume the chase position and provide mutual support ("the bleeder is the leader").
In some extreme cases, such as an engine failure, a lead change may not be practical and the bad
aircraft may simply have to break out of the formation.
Formation Lead Change in an Emergency. As mentioned above, the emergency aircraft
should be placed in the lead position initially (radio failure procedures, with no other
complications, are exceptions and will be addressed separately in this section). In-flight
emergencies are almost always time-critical and require the undivided attention of the aircrew in
the emergency aircraft. Since midair collision is so serious, the lead change in a formation
emergency must be expeditious and safe. The preferred method to swap lead in an emergency is
to use the radios.
1.
Knight 2: "Knight 1, Knight 2 has (state problem, e.g., chip light), request lead on the
right."
2.
Knight 1: "Knight 2 you have the lead on the right."
3.
Knight 2: "Knight 2 has the lead on the right."
The other option is a visual lead change (which implies the radios are too busy or are not
available due to a radio failure or electric fire). Lead should monitor Wing periodically during
the flight and if he observes Wing giving one of the hydraulic, electrical, fuel, oxygen, engine
(HEFOE) signals, the lead change should be done visually.
Once the lead change occurs the non-emergency aircraft needs to reduce power and assume the
Chase position. The Chase position is the same as the Cruise position (Figure 5-1). Wing wants
to fly a position where he can keep an eye on Lead, provide mutual support (e.g., VFR scan,
ground-track to emergency airfield, etc.), and not distract Lead. Wing can fly anywhere in the
Chase position, but not where Lead is going to be concerned about Wing during his own
maneuvering (e.g., for a precautionary emergency landing/high altitude power loss
(PEL/HAPL)). Keep a safe distance from Lead until he tells you otherwise (requests a gear-
inspection for example). Also, consider matching the configuration (gear/flaps) of Lead to allow
you to easily maintain the Chase position.
FORMATION EMERGENCIES 5-1


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