Saturday, February 12, 2011

Formation Flight Enroute to a Fly-In

Today was one of my best flying days ever!

It was a day of firsts!  ... Today was "My first Fly-In" and "My First Formation Flight"!!

Both were significant ... But can u guess which one made this one of my best flying days ever?

It all started as a routine flight.  Joe and I arrived at the airport ~ 8 AM and made all the typical pre-flight checks.  While Joe is not actually a pilot, his enthusiasm for aviation and his overall attitude has made him one of my "regular co-pilots".   When we were ready, we called Anupam so that he could time his departure in N-29LK and we could "meet" in the air ~ 2500 FT above Winter Haven airport.  Anupam and I had briefed the flight in advance (last night and again this morning). We had a pretty clear idea of what we would do and had some contingencies and emergency procedures worked out.

We made radio contact on 122.75 about 20 miles from Winter Haven and I found it surprisingly easy to "meet up" in the air.  We started with a 500 FT difference in altitude with the high wing Cardinal @ 2500 FT and my low wing Cirrus @ 2000 FT.  After we saw each other, the cardinal flew a heading of 180 and roughly 120 KTs.  I then gradually closed the gap in altitude and got closer with very cautious use of rudder.  The pictures came out awesome!  You can click on Picasa album below to see for yourself:
 

After we got the hang of it and took a bunch of pictures, Anupam had a great idea... He wanted to slow down and lower his landing gear.  We were able to position ourselves just right and video the whole thing.

I made a recap video of the flight for Youtube, which you can see below:


After reaching the east coast of Florida, we found a bunch of traffic in the vicinity of Vero Beach, which you can see below:
Apparently, many other pilots thought of going to the same air show.  When I was ~ 15 miles from destination, I was jockeying for position with 8 other planes in addition to N-29LK !

Despite the traffic, it was definitely worth the trip, we saw a number of really, cool aircraft.  But my personal favorite, was this velocity:
After getting our fill of planes and "pilots with war stories", we traded co-pilots and headed home.  On the way home we did some more formation flying.  Now that we were experienced, it seemed even easier!

Overall, the fly-in was good.  But the experience of formation flight, was priceless!

Cheers,

3 comments:

  1. Way too cool! I'd love to do that someday.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I also wish that I'll be able to learn to fly one day, that looks very exciting.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Anupam has a really great idea. Congrats for the video.
    Best regards,
    David Smith,
    Airplane injury lawyer

    ReplyDelete

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