Monday, October 1, 2012

SimHQ Discussion: How Formation Flying Is Used Tactically & Why Is It Done?

Q: "Can you describe how formation flying is used tactically? We see some fancy formations (parade, diamond, etc.) in the virtual airshows, but I'm really curious to know how formations are used by Real(tm) combat pilots.

A: Good question, but one with a number of answers.

First, we have to define the subject a little. We'll talk fighters, not bombers, transports, etc. Then we define 'tactical' as compared to 'strategic'...that means we are looking at relatively simple, short range conventional weapon missions (both A2A and A2G). And then we have to define the era...are we looking at today's tactical environment...or that of the 60s...WW2...or WW1? Obviously, such a singular focus makes a difference...

A final note before I turn this back to you folks...In my sim flying, I found that the ability to maintain an effective position on another aircraft was a function of three things. One, obviously, the pilot had to know the basics of maintaining position...two, the sim viewing system had to be flexible enough to allow a visual picture of what was going on (perhaps something like Track IR was good for this), and lastly, the pilot's controllers (throttle and stick) had to be able to transmit the fine detail of control need for formation flight."

Read the full discussion on SimHQ's forums. You'll note that when it comes to sim flying, it boils down to three things - pilot skill, a TrackIR and a quality flight controller. We can help you with two of those......