What a journey it has been over the past 9 months! I have gone from being greener then a seasick turtle to flying right wing for the Virtual Horsemen. One of the things that makes me laugh looking back is how far things have come in a short space of time. The echo of Rock screaming at me, like a lion roars at his prey, still rings in my ears whenever we fly together.
Some of you may have seen some of my more recent flights on the Virtual Aerobatics server as we train, I am a huge fan of wanting to show the world what can be done. What can be achieved with some time, effort, patience and a lead who isnt trying to kill you, well not always anyway!!
In a strange way I miss those days, everything seemed like an achievement and a challenge, but I dont think I would wish them back again should I be given the choice. Formation flying is a free flowing art, everything is changing all of the time. That is what makes it both so infuriating and so rewarding.
Every time I hang out on the server or chat to someone on the forums I love being able to give a helping hand to people who are in the position I was in back when I wrote the original post in this series. If you havent read it for a while then its worth a chuckle here : http://www.virtual-aerobatics.com/petes-blog/my-journey-into-formation-aerobatics/
So what have I been up to since the last blog? Well we have announced that we are doing our first 3 ship display in Feb next year! Look out 2014 …. The Horsemen Cometh!
Training is going well, although I still get butterflies when I look over and see 2 Stangs next to me, Its a strange sensation to try and explain to someone that doesnt do it but it gives you a strange sense of adrenaline, anticipation and sheer fright when you’re in a wingover pulling like your life depended on it trying to remain “in position” know that at any moment you might sneeze and make yourself look like a right tit…
We are not immune to accidents, only the other day Skyhawk tried to give me a viewing of an apartment in Tbilisi, the problem being that he forgot I was in a Mustang at the time…that did not end well and I am pretty sure its no longer on the market…
I’d like to be able to pretend this is the end of the journey and that I have achieved my goal but in all honesty I actually think its just starting! There is so much more to do, so many combinations that are being thrown my way. So many opportunities that are presenting themselves. I cant go into details of what 2014 holds for me regarding displays and events but I will say that you will be the first to here about it here on my blog! There is some really exciting things and I can truly say that in true Bachmann Turner style
And it feels great to be going into the year with so many things going on that it makes anyone with wings as their passion like a kid at the worlds largest toy store! (with your Dad’s credit card!)
There is a good deal to be written about the skill that it takes to do formation flying, most of which are true. But one that seldom gets mention is the need for a stable lead pilot. To be a good lead pilot you need to be consistent, reliable and trusting. I was lucky in the Rock too pity on my feeble attempts to start a Mustang that he wanted to fly with me to help me out. Since then we formed VA and we have been witness to some amazing flying on the server. I owe alot to Rock for his time and patience and for that I have to thank him.
So back to the current and ongoing, We had a good training session last week on the VA server. On a heaving Wednesday evening we login at our aircraft and quickly get ourselves airbourne and trimmed out. 4000ft over the countryside and we start thumping our way into the airfield spamming the trim left binding faster then Christian Horner bounces his leg we thunder over the airfield at about 30 ft no more then 3 ft apart before pulling up into a wingover, losing my lunch as we go, back into climb into a loop. Now I have issues with loops, They have always baffled me in the P-51 as the aircraft handling has 3 stages during a loop. First its quite stable until you are about 80 degrees nose up, then as the speed drops off you need a thump of right rudder to compensate for the torque of the engine, then as you come over the back of the loop a little power back, while making sure airspeed doesnt drop too low!, before scooping back around the bottom end releasing the rudder pressure as you go before releasing the back pressure to level out. If you have done it right you will now have your airspeed back and be at the same height that you went in at, Now all this needs to be done while not looking at your own controls or dials but looking out of the side of your aircraft and remaining in the “golden spot” for the formation to look half decent. So you also have to control any degree of bank to prevent a cupped look and drifting in or out of the formation, the “height” of the aircraft relative to the lead aircraft and not too mention your speed. Tiny tiny movements have a massive impact on the first 2 and the smallest of incorrect movements can destroy the 3rd. More complicated then it sounds right? You bet your ass it is. Now when you have got that down, imagine doing it from a non wings level entry!
It is my intention in the next blog to include some helmet cam footage from myself in a Horsemen training session so look out for that ! I’d love to hear what you guys think about it!
Now time for a little competition!
What do you have to do? Share this blog!! If you share this blog on a forum, on your Facebook page, maybe on your own blog? Tweet it to the world with the #pmanblog maybe! Then I will get all the names in a hat and will give out a module for DCS to the winner!
So, you have shared my blog and want to know how to enter? Send me a mail to Pman @ Virtual-aerobatics.com with the subject line : Blog Competition! and include a link to where you shared the blog and what module you want and I will do the rest!
What if you have all the modules, enter anyway and I will get you a future one of your choice (up to $49.99) in the future!
What you waiting for? Get Sharing!!