View Full Version : Tips to fly in formation

08-19-2007, 06:26 PM
I have some problems to fly correctly side by side with another aircraft (a bomber for example)or figther. (same model as me or other).

I have no problem to stay in the same altitude with the aircraft I wish to fly side by side, but the problem is speed, if I put too much trottle power I gonna pass the plane and vice versa.

how to stay with an airplane without pass or stay behind ?

my current joystick is a ST-290 with already some use. (plan to buy a new soon)

if anyone can give me some tips I will be very grated.

* English is not very good here, sorry for erros.

08-19-2007, 06:45 PM
There isn't really too much to it...you need to just match your speed so that you're relatively stationary. It usually means being a bit slower than the other aircraft to start and then slowly closing the distance. As the following aircraft you'll always be making small adjustments to stay at the same speed as the other guy.

Best to fly slightly behind and off to one side if possible and just paint an imaginary spot on the cockpit where the other plane should be to keep formation.

Mostly its just practice.

08-19-2007, 06:53 PM
Learn from reality ...


08-19-2007, 07:31 PM
I received a great help now. ;D

thanks guys.

gonna trainning and try get better.

08-19-2007, 08:56 PM
Read through our Carrier Ops and Formation Flying Guide here...


Thumb through the IL2 portion of our screen shots page to see how it looks in-game...


As well as our Lock On screenies too...


Nobody flys better formation in this game than the Blacksheep do. I say that with complete confidence. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/shady.gif

However, nobody beat the Virtual Blue Angels and Thunderbirds in Lock On: Modern Aior Combat.



If you ever want to learn how to fly proper formation, fly with us sometime. We'll show you the ropes.



08-20-2007, 09:51 AM
A few more ideas for you.
Flying in formation with another human pilot I find is much less difficult,I am not sure why it just is.
However flying with A.I.in formation is something else all together.I to find it hard to get matched up with them.
One way I have done it is to let autopliot catch up to them and set the pace. Then you take over,watch your throttle setting when you switch autopliot off.You can visualize where the throttle in cockpit while the a.i. is flying and set you throttle close to it before you switch off autopilot.
One other thing you can try is knocking back prop pitch to 90%.This will make small throttle adjustments a little less sensitive.
This way you are not leaping forward or falling back with evey small change.
Watch the throtle while the a.i. is flying in formation,it almost never stops being adjusted!
Even the a.i. has his work cut out for him.
Keep at it and try different things ,you will get it after a bit of practice. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

08-21-2007, 09:05 AM
I can't remember where I read it but it was from a display pilot, it was something like don't over fly the plane when formation flying. Do everything in small increments.

08-21-2007, 10:12 AM
I'd warn against using display teams or the IL-2 AI as a reference of how to do formations, mainly because they fly too tight.

Really close formations are for when you want to show off and look cool. A pilot cannot keep good situational awareness when they are investing all their attention in keeping in a tight formation. The risk of collision is an obvious hazard as well. If you are having trouble flying past your leader, you must be following too close.

In combat operations, you fly formations as big as you can, to lessen the pilot workload, to see better into blind spots of your wingmen, and to offer graeter tactical options when you are attacked.

In WWI, formations were tight due to the necessity of using hand signals to communicate. As radios became standard, practical formation spacing could increase to hundreds of meters between planes. Only visibility and formation manueverability limit the spacing in a formation (and even that could be solved with cross-overs).

Of course, bombers are a different story.

08-21-2007, 06:28 PM
OK. Formation flying takes practice. Here are some tips to make go a little better.

Approach - As you approach the lead airplane, your speed should be about 10 to 20 mph faster. As you come within about 300 yds you should begin to pull back on the throttle until the aircraft visually starts to slow in the merge. The key is to pull the power back then push the power forward again. If you keep the power back, the lead will continue to gain distance you will not catch up. So you must pull power back then almost immediately push the power back up.

Getting close - After you have stabilized the lead aircraft in your windscreen by jockeying the throttle a little, increase power slowly until the lead airplane is slightly above and just along the outside canopy frame. Never take your eyes off the lead. Use slight increases in power to get closer, but remember to pull the power back after increasing or you will continue to overshoot. Increase, decrease until the lead AC is stable.

Once in position - never take your eyes off the lead. After a while as the lead plane turns you will able to follow along. If lead turns toward you you will need to pull back on the throttle a little, but again, remember to immediately push it back up again or you fall behind. If the lead A/C turns away from you, pull into his six, then when lead has established the turn, you can increase throttle slight to regain your position . Again, you jockey the throttle a little to keep lead visually on a spot on the canopy.

You may notice the lead airplane oscillate vertically. It is not the lead plane, usually. It is you yanking the stick to agressively forward and backward. Again, to keep up with lead put the control input in then take it out almost immediately to stop the oscillation.

If you are approaching the lead aircraft too fast you can either S turn maintain position or you can barrel roll in the vertical to maintain position. But it takes practice. However, it is a better technique than just pull the power back which can set farther behind.

Finally - if you are flying formation in combat you must put some distance between you and lead. You should then be able to search the sky and lessen the burden on yourself for keeping formation. In the weather though, you will need to tighten the formation up to be able to see lead in the clouds. When you do that, do not take your eyes off of lead.

Hope this helps and remember to practice, practice and practice.

08-22-2007, 02:50 AM
I'm not real big on formation flying, I can do it but I like to sit above the formation in the sun where it's warmer.

08-22-2007, 09:04 PM
Interesting techniques; however, they are a bit miss-guided. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-wink.gif

If anyone would like to learn how to fly formation, how to do a proper join-up, how to shift bearing lines, how to swap leads, and most importantly how to be a good lead, let me know and I'll show you how it's done.

I retired from the Navy back in 2002, but I think I still remember everything I was taught. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/25.gif


09-06-2007, 02:53 PM
I have found that the BSS site has some VERY good tips .... and Fritz hit it right on the head. The tight formations look good and are ok when youi know you are afe... but when you are in combat anything that will detract from your SA is a potential problem.

09-07-2007, 05:38 AM
My experience online is that formation flying requires quite a bit of concentration, the tighter the formation, the more concentration. We would fly a relatively loose formation, often in two sections. It's really not too hard with human fliers, especially if the lead pilot lets everyone know what throttle, prop and mixture settings he is using.

If you do overtake your leader, I think it is best to reduce throttle and climb a bit, then slowly descend back into formation. You can also try reducing throttle and side slipping, but you have to be very aware of the positions of other aircraft in relation to yours. You don't want to climb into or slip into another aircraft.

If you find yourself well behind the formation, then add power, but begin reducing power well before you actually meet up with the formation, otherwise momentum will carry you past the formation.

09-24-2007, 11:07 AM
I recall a story about a pair of A-10 pilots, and the wingman became lost.

The leader commented in his account that, even though it was annoying to lead his wingman back to the formation, he was glad he'd gotten lost. It showed that his wingman was keeping his head moving, actively looking for threats, rather than following his leader like a lost puppy.

It's more important to spot the enemy plane or the SAM than it is to keep close to your leader.

09-27-2007, 06:49 PM
Agreed... We do not fly tight formation in enemy airspace. We do it to marshal team/squadron mates to emerge into enemy airspace in force. Once close to the threat area, we go to Combat-Spread to get everyone's head on a swivel looking for dots in the sky.

Tight formation is also used by the Blacksheep for carrier operations to coordinate smooth and effective recoverys without cutting people off or smashing into anyone on deck.

Aside from that, it's challenging, and most of all - FUN!

Too tight of a formation ---> http://media.ubi.com/us/forum_images/gf-glomp.gif




In regards to comments about tight formation mentioned as compared to WWI operations, you'll find that tight formations were used quite a bit in WWII. Not to show off, but for the same reasons as used in WWI. Radio silence was common place to hide intent and force strength. Hand signals are common, and standard in operations even today.

There's plenty of file footage to support rather tight formation flying during WWII in both Theaters of Operations.

10-03-2007, 05:26 AM
It takes a lot of practice, that's all. Especially the adjusting speed part. The most difficult plane to stay in formation with is probably the Me-262, because it's hard to quickly adjust the throttles without catching the engine/s on fire!! But I can do it now because I preacticed. The second most difficult thing to learn is to keep the same lateral distance ( side to side ) and this can vary a lot with planes that have a lot of torque. If you increase the throttle a litte to catch up, then you can go off to one side. And if you decrease, then you go the opposite way. This is controlled by constantly adjusting your rudders
and if you have rudder trim, readjusting it too.
I find this to be the most difficult aspect of it all.