Friday, February 11, 2011

Annual Done! Cleared for Takeoff!!

As promised, the guys at Leading Edge came through and finished the annual today right on schedule! Reminds me of the old A-Team quote "I love it when a plan comes together" ;-)

So now it is time to turn my attention to planning the next journey.  Tomorrow, I am planning to go to the EAA Fly-In in Vero Beach, FL with a couple of friends.  While Fly-Ins are always fun, this one has a special twist.

My friend Anupam, who is a pilot and Cardinal owner, is also going to the same fly-in.  So we have decided to attempt a brief formation flight.  (Not a true formation flight... More of an aerial photo shoot)

My route is shown below:
This is a very short 113 nautical mile trip... (But that does not count the detour for formation work.)

Anupam's Cardinal is based in Plant City Airport.  So we can't do a true formation takeoff.  Instead, my plan is to rendezvous with N-29LK in a holding pattern over the Winter Haven Airport.  Why there you ask... First, it is sort of on the way.   Second, it is clearly between Tampa and Orlando's class B airspaces, which means we won't need to worry about ATC clearances.  Third, it is in a scenic area with lots of lakes that should make for a good photo opp.

I read up on formation flying and found that there were surprisingly few rules constraining this activity.  The basics are laid out in FAR 91.111.  However, there is a bunch of training material available about how to do it well and do it safely. 

Our plan is rather simple.  We will fly at prearranged altitudes (with 500 FT separation) until we can see each other.  Then establish radio contact on the 122.75 frequency.  I used to think that 123.45 was the appropriate air-to-air frequency.  But it is NOT.  While 123.45 is usually quiet, it is definitely NOT designated for this type of conversation. The correct frequency is either 122.75 or 122.85.

After we have established visual and radio contact, then we will proceed "together" to Vero Beach (of course with a few maneuvers for the camera)

Hopefully, I will be able to post some cool photos and/or videos tomorrow.

== T.J.==

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