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WHAT IF - Taxi & Take off

Home FAST Video Resources FAST Formation Forms Lakes-Goofy Flight Forms Formation Articles WHAT IF?? Links

1: What if lead checks in a flight of 4 and you as #3 do not hear #2 answer?

Wait a reasonable amount of time and then check in - #4 should then check in. Lead should then attempt to raise #2 and re-check in the entire flight.

2: During taxi=out you as #3 see #2 offset to the left - Do you get in trail behind #2, offset to the right or stay on the centerline?

The taxi-out is as much a part of the overall formation flight as the flight itself. Lead should have briefed the tax-out as part of the brief. The important thing is to be safe during the taxi and if safety permits then offset to the right - but be prepared to move back to the centerline if #2 moves there allowing extra distance between the flight when on the centerline.

3. Lead lines up on the runway on the opposite side to what was briefed. Do you line up on the side which was briefed or take the opposite side to lead?

There may be a very good reason why lead has changed sides - the wind may have unexpectedly changed direction and lead wants to place himself on the downwind side. If in any doubt a brief radio call may be beneficial.

4. RED Flight, a 4-Ship Flight, taxies toward the active runway. At the run-up pad, RED Lead makes the following radio call – “Red Lead has a problem. No assistance required. I’m going to taxi back to the hangar”.  

Now what is the plan? Who is the new flight lead.

The big point here – if you did not brief a back-up plan, things can quickly go bad. Unless there is a pre-briefed alternative plan of action in place the flight should be aborted and a further brief conducted.

5. Element Take-Off. You are flying as wingman in the element. On take-off run, you sense the lead is slowly coming to your side of the runway, and you are getting squeezed. What do you do?

Formation flying requires each formation member to abide by their CONTRACT. The CONTRACT has many facets. In this case, the CONTRACT is that each formation member will maintain their side of the runway. Many phases of formation flight require the CONTRACT, in order to maintain a safety margin. In this case, your options are limited. A good example for why a good flight lead will only do single ship take-offs on a narrow runway.