Eddie Seve, Mal Kains, Glenn Bridgeland and I brought Jeremy Miller and Michael Jorgensen to train us in formation aerobatics this weekend.
The most intense training experience I've ever had. 115ºF in the shade on Saturday, shooting 30 minute sorties all day. Very early starts to "beat the heat." I lost count of the number of water bottles and Hydralite tablets I went through on Saturday. We worked hard for this rating.
Formation Aerobatics is a "Flight Activity Endorsement" on your Part 61 license in Australia. Needs appropriately credentialed instructors, regulator paperwork, compliance with a Manual of Standards. The MoS for the formation aeros endorsement appears to have been written by someone who's never flown formation before but knows a lot about how to relocate risk to other people, so we reached compliance with it on Saturday then spent Sunday exceeding it.
I learned a heck of a lot about my own endurance, my aircraft's performance, aircraft handling and finesse. I also learned far too much about what I don't know and where my deficiencies are, so there'll be lots to practice.
None of our aircraft are particularly well matched. Our group has my RV-6, Mal's RV-6A, and Eddie's and Glenn's RV-7s. The two -6's have differently-pitched props, the two -7s have slightly different engines and different drag profiles. We all need to change our flying styles to suit each others' aircraft. I think we all agreed that I'm working hardest with my fixed-pitch cruise prop, but flying with me makes Mal's job more difficult if he's leading, so maybe it's all a bit of a wash.
When it all comes together, it feels so sweet.
Jorgo shot what's probably my favorite photo of my RV so far, during the pull up into a left barrel roll in right echelon.
My god, this stuff is so, so much fun. If you're feeling like you need to extend yourself, this is absolutely the way to do it.
(Rotor, Slick, Batman: Look at what you've started...!)