31 votes

Why are only some aircraft in this formation creating contrails?

From: Forum post - "Trails from the back of Fighter Jets", Metabunk.org Jets practicing for air-shows (or actually in air-shows) sometimes use smoke to create trails. This is made by injecting ...
Jamiec's user avatar
  • 33k
27 votes
Accepted

Why do aircraft (namely military) need/use formation lights?

Formation lights are used so that aircraft can fly close formation at night. They are typically luminescent strips positioned so that an aircraft can be in the desired position (i.e. fingertip ...
Ralph J's user avatar
  • 51.4k
21 votes

Why are transponders to be turned off when in formation?

Because otherwise, being so close together, they would all have their transponders trigger at the same moment in the sweep, and all reply at the same moment, and all of the replies would arrive at the ...
hobbs's user avatar
  • 769
21 votes
Accepted

What is this different airplane being flown in formation by the Red Arrows

As @Tim wrote in the comments, it's a Folland Gnat. The Red Arrows' own website offers this explanation, in a news release posted on March 8, 2024: A vintage jet, of the type used by the original Red ...
TypeIA's user avatar
  • 14.4k
18 votes
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Is this photo showing dozens of airliners in close proximity real, or even plausible?

The image is a composite image of 42 planes taking off from Heathrow over a one-hour period on November 2, 2016. Here it is on Getty Images if you want to license it for your own purposes; it is ...
Michael Seifert's user avatar
18 votes

What is the daytime visibility from within a cloud?

The answer is that visibility varies depending on the density of the cloud. And it can vary significantly. Flying in formation in IMC is very common in the military. Sometimes it will be dense ...
Michael Hall's user avatar
18 votes

Why are transponders to be turned off when in formation?

In the US enroute environment, a formation flight is controlled through the flight leader, which is assigned a discrete transponder code. Controllers separate a standard formation from other aircraft ...
RetiredATC's user avatar
  • 1,934
14 votes

Why do aircraft (namely military) need/use formation lights?

From the practical standpoint I can remember vividly two times where the formation lights were invaluable. First, let me say I always used them while flying formation in clouds. They just gave you a ...
Aaron's user avatar
  • 4,318
13 votes

How do friendly stealth planes locate each other?

There is no optical datalink over laser for F-117 pilot communications. Comms on that plane was my primary job and I can assure the readers it had no such thing. The comment about single ships was ...
Scorched's user avatar
  • 329
11 votes

Did B-17 gunners beat on the wings of other planes in their formation?

That'd be a roughly 1 meter stick you've got to beat that other aircraft with, at most. Not a long stick at all. By the time the other aircraft got that close a collision would be unavoidable. Not ...
jwenting's user avatar
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11 votes
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What are the constraints and procedures regarding IMC formation flight?

Short answer: The constraints are that you maintain sight, and procedures are to train and practice regularly, and thoroughly brief all contingencies. CONSTRAINTS Visibility can vary significantly in ...
Michael Hall's user avatar
9 votes

What are the constraints and procedures regarding IMC formation flight?

Two very different types of IMC formation flying that I had some experience in, with fairly different criteria. Both of them in the military. First is the very close formation -- what we called "...
Ralph J's user avatar
  • 51.4k
8 votes

What is the formula for the bank angle required for a turn in line-abreast formation?

Turning Rate All planes flying a turn in line-abreast formation are turning at the same rate $\omega$. A standard turn is commonly defined as $\omega_1 = 3°\frac{1}{\mathrm{s}}$. Full Circle Time ...
bogl's user avatar
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8 votes
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Under EASA rules, what do I need to do to be able to perform aerobatics?

The appropriate rules are in FCL.800 Aerobatic Rating A licensed pilot may not undertake aerobatic flights unless they hold an Aerobatic Rating 40 Hours of Flight Time (or 120 launches for sailplanes ...
Ron Beyer's user avatar
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7 votes
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How is close formation flying possible with things like thermals and turbulence?

Disclaimer: I'm not a Blue Angels pilot so don't know their exact procedures/limitations, but have done a fair share of military formation flying. Answer: It is possible, it's just a more "bumpy" ...
c4n's user avatar
  • 358
7 votes

Is this photo showing dozens of airliners in close proximity real, or even plausible?

It’s a composite shot of multiple departures from an airport. To answer the question, no, there was no single event with all of these aircraft flying in close proximity like this where a single ...
Romeo_4808N's user avatar
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7 votes
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Can I take position behind a plane for V formation legally?

Here are the regulations in 14 CFR 91.111: §91.111 Operating near other aircraft. (a) No person may operate an aircraft so close to another aircraft as to create a collision hazard. (b) No person ...
Pondlife's user avatar
  • 71.7k
7 votes

Is transponder required to turn off in formation flying?

See also: In a part 91 formation flight within a mode C veil, are all the aircraft required to have their transponders on? Yes, the transponder should be off/standby. From AIM 4-1-20-a-4-c (c) When ...
BowlOfRed's user avatar
  • 5,601
6 votes

What happens to #2 if a formation flight violates a FAR?

In the eyes of the FAA, the wingmen are individually responsible if they violate an FAR, even if they are led into it by lead. The controlling NTSB decision is: ...
Joe Enzminger's user avatar
6 votes

Are there areas to avoid while flying formation with a larger aircraft?

In higher altitude the wake turbulence moves downward behind the aircraft. So as the pilot of the lighter aircraft behind the bigger you should keep the same level at least. photo by: Steve Morris, ...
Timothy Truckle's user avatar
6 votes
Accepted

How can one change the wingtip geometry to enhance the wingtip vortices?

You are not interested in wingtip vortices. For now you are barking up the wrong tree. For that tug idea to work, you need to focus on the trailing vortex which is a result of the whole wing, not the ...
Peter Kämpf's user avatar
4 votes

Can quadcopters save energy by flying in formation?

Yes, drag can be reduced by formation flying. Geese using a low drag "V" formation. The authors of a 2001 Nature article stated that pelicans that fly alone beat their wings more frequently and ...
jwzumwalt's user avatar
  • 11.5k
4 votes
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Are there areas to avoid while flying formation with a larger aircraft?

In case of air to air refueling, the 'receiver' (the aircraft being refueled) should be careful about not getting into the wake of the tanker, which is usually much larger and heavy. For example, the ...
aeroalias's user avatar
  • 100k
4 votes

How much can a plane benefit from another planes wake?

No, airplane wakes do not work like this. The streamlined body has very little wake, it is not like a cube shaped truck. The main wake on an airplane is found at the wingtips in the form of a strong ...
Max Power's user avatar
  • 2,604
4 votes

Why are transponders to be turned off when in formation?

To reduce the number of false air collision warnings Straight from the FAA justification of the new rule, https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2019/07/18/2019-15248/revision-to-automatic-...
Kenn Sebesta's user avatar
  • 5,122
3 votes

Is "wingman" strictly a military term?

While the combat military role of a wingman is established, the term is entirely appropriate and is used for non-combat formation flying as well. And unless there is a better term, it would be ...
Michael Hall's user avatar

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