Here’s a follow on to the last post with thoughts on flight in IMC. Fellow aviation buff Tom forwarded this amazing video of the Lima Lima flight demonstration team in a three ship formation inside a cloud. They squeak it on at an airport fifteen minutes north of my home.
If you think that flying a tight formation in good weather is a challenge, try to do it in IFR (Instrument Flight Rules) inside of a cloud with no horizon. Without any outside references, you swear that the leader has you in a 45 degree descending turn. You are constantly fighting off vertigo by snatching a one second look at your artificial horizon. If you take two seconds you may loose sight of the leader and have to declare “Lost Wingman.” At that point you have to separate from the formation by both heading and altitude as briefed. Then you get introduced by the leader to Air Traffic Control as a new flight. Of course you already have all of your charts and approach plates out…not! That’s why you never want to lose sight even in the thickest of clouds
There are four great flight demonstration teams in my opinion. Blue Angels; Thunderbirds; Snowbirds and Lima Lima. Lima Lima was formed at, and named after, the small airport that’s 20 minutes south in Naperville, IL.
It’s the world’s only six ship civilian formation aerobatic team. In better weather, Tom has flown in the trunk with the team and has been kind enough not to compare my flying skills afterward. Sometimes I’m lucky and I’ll see one or more of the yellow T-34’s flying overhead on approach to runway 2L at KDPA. Then, I want to go flying.