T-34C PRIMARY FORMATION FLIGHT TRAINING
INTRODUCTION TO FORMATION
The formation syllabus is one of the most challenging yet exciting portions of your Primary
Flight Training. The purpose of the syllabus is for students to learn to recognize and control
relative motion and understand the concepts of mutual support and situational awareness with
regard to section formation flight. Formation flight is uniquely military; it's what sets us apart
from our civilian counterparts. Formation flying enables military planners to improve command
and control, concentrate firepower, transport numerous aircraft and assets at one time, and ensure
mutual support. Formation flying has many different considerations making it unique from
single ship flying. In contact and instrument flying, you may be varying 20 to 30 feet off altitude
or 5 to 10 knots off airspeed and not think anything of it, whereas in formation flying, moving on
the order of 2 to 3 feet off altitude or a couple knots off airspeed has a much greater impact.
101. FORMATION DEFINED
A formation consists of two or more aircraft flying in close proximity with all movements
coordinated and in unison. The smallest formation unit is a "Section," which is defined as a
formation of two aircraft, one Lead and one Wingman. Three or four aircraft in formation is
called a "Division." Adding sections or divisions as required make larger formations or
"Flights." No matter what the size of the formation, a designated flight lead will be in charge.
102. FLIGHT DISCIPLINE
Discipline, as applied to formation flying, involves the conduct of the flight members both as
individuals and part of a team. As team members, where individual error affects the overall
performance of the flight, each member must do their utmost to ensure the flight functions
smoothly and effectively. In order to accomplish the mission as a team, formation members
must have a thorough understanding of each team member's role in the formation.
The Formation Leader. The formation leader is responsible for the safe conduct of the mission
and ensures all mission objectives are met. In order to ensure success, the flight leader must in
all cases be the best possible platform for the Wingman. This concept is called "Wingman
consideration." Lead should fly so that power changes, level-offs, and roll-rates are so smooth,
they are almost imperceptible to the Wingman. The pitfall to Wingman consideration, however,
is to be so considerate that Lead flies sloppy parameters, i.e., climbs through a level-off altitude,
overturns assigned headings, lets the aircraft climb above an assigned altitude in turns.
Formation flying also requires proactive thinking and planning. Everything takes a little longer
and turning require more time in a formation flight and Lead will have to plan accordingly. In
order to maneuver the flight safely and effectively within the confines of the designated
formation area, Lead must first possess a clear understanding of the area's boundaries.
Additionally, Lead must be able to visualize how combinations of turns or maneuvers can be
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