Right, now where were we? I had just finished my 4 ship flight with Sawa, Fadec and Rock and the reality was starting to hit home that this was a very difficult art where success and failure were measured in the smallest of terms. Something as as small as a twitch during a roll and you were out of shape and either heading for the ground like a comet or clipping another pilot and swearing like a trooper.
Because of conflicting schedules Rock and I only get time to fly once midweek and then again at weekends, The 4 ship formation happened on a Friday and I had the rest of the weekend with Rock to try and work on what I had learnt over the past couple of sessions. There was a lot to remember, 99% of which cant just be written down and revised, its all about getting used to the aircraft that you are flying and the people that you are flying with. This weekend was the launch weekend of the Virtual Aerobatics Server so I was kept busy with the back end of this as well as flying.
Rock and I started in the Sukhoi’s again and we quickly attracted a following, if there is one thing that will make you nervous as a starting pilot more then almost anything else its knowing that you have people following you and expecting you to know what your doing. With the server in its infancy we made a point of trying to get as many people involved as possible flying together and we had a few people from different teams flying including some from people who were to go on to become good friends in Storm and his crew from Angels & Demons.
So Rock starts gently with me having pre-warned him that I was feeling less then confident after being tossed around quite a lot last time after a few turns and rolls Rock notices that we have gained a left wing pilot and a right wing pilot , both of them are glued to Rock like paparazzi chasing the lastest Prince Harry photograph, all that is going through my mind is “Here we go again…” As the session progress’s Fadec joins us and we start flying a delta formation : aka me in slot and a left and right wing as well as outer left and outer right, The session winds down and its just Rock and I left, after landing and refueling our jets we head out over the sea at Sukhumi when with the authority of Zeus addressing the council of nine, Rock utters what are to become immortal words
…”I have an idea, I want to try something…”
Now at this point this means nothing to me but it would soon strike fear in my heart like being chased down by a rabid tiger that has been starved of sex and food for 3 months… So Rocks idea, Rock rolls inverted and with a slight nose up attitude asks me to get as close as I can and to put my nose in his tail planes (Riiiiiiight…)
As you can see it didnt go too bad actually, but little did I know this was the start of a crusade of insane stunts that runs until this day, only yesterday Rock had me doing…nah that story can wait 😉 By now its getting late so Rock and I break to land and cool the session down, I get some kind of mumble over teamspeak from Rock saying good night , I personally think he had fallen head first on the keyboard but hey, and that was the night over with. Only for it to begin tomorrow.
Now I love flying planes, in anyway shape of form, I fly in real life as well and although nothing can compare with that experience this comes pretty close. Especially in the technical difficulty side of things. Although when flying for real alot more things become almost instantly instinctive through feedback of the aircraft I do believe that it is totally possible to obtain an almost spooky ability to be able to predict the behaviour of an aircraft in a simulator with eerie accuracy. Rock had started to pick up the pace a little the next morning with Storm and I chasing him around.
Storm forms up on the left with with me in slot, I was actually feeling quite pleased with myself as I was alot closer then I had been before and I was staying there. More and more I was getting confident that I could hold at least close to Rock though rolls and turns. I was still having problems with the entry into loops but I was hitting maybe 1 in 4 at the right entry speed and getting them close. After a few minutes of playing around with these Rock notices again that we have a following with more pilots over Sukhumi.
Now if I could see Rock at this point I swear he would have had an evil grin like an evil mastermind plotting to overthrow the world as the things he put us through following this moment can only be described as hell on earth, but my god was it fun.
We started with a hard right turn back to show center and straight up in a left hand clover leaf (A loop with a left hand turn at the top) straight into a left barrel roll, out of this into a continuous right back towards show center for a low and fast pass over the ramp. After rolling out we went up into a straight loop, then on the way back down we turned hard left back to show center and our gear went down for a dirty loop with a right hand exit, Gear back up and into a hard right into a backup pass (Passing low over the active with our underside of the aircraft displaying to the ramp) After all this Rock announces over TS those immortal words…”I have an idea…” …. oh crap ….
We come around heading back to the runway before we get right hand roll then as we come around and level out of the roll we go straight into another one! We come around and do the same thing but on a left hand roll. Sweating more then a teenager caught with a naughty mag I am relieved to see us head back to the runway only for Rock to throw us through a dirty roll at the last moment! Finally we come around for a burst break to land. Never have I been so relieved to hit the deck and be in one piece.
After the flight as we were taxing back to the ramp there was no shortage of high praise from Rock, he was really surprised that I had managed to stick with him (although slipping back a little at times in the loops) where as we lost all the other pilots by the 2nd roll, he was even more surprised Storm did it without teamspeak! Kudo’s to Storm on that one from both of us!
Flying in tight formation is hard work, especially when learning it from scratch and even more so when learning with someone like Rock who is guaranteed to push you to your limits and beyond at every chance, But my sincere thanks go out to him every time as no matter what happens be it hard, easy or totaled it is always fun.
Next time its all change as we change airfields and start a few of Rocks “ideas” …
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