More Air-Bike Fun, Page 3
The sense of accomplishment to fly as a unit was tremendously exhilirating; additionally we discoverd formation flying actually was very hard to do.  Matching speeds, altitudes, and formation position was very demanding even in straight-line flight.  formation flying at 45-50 MPH allowed enough tolerance for an out of position plane to recover.  Position deviations were caused by wind, thermals and our establishing the judgment to maintain position.
This was a hoot! Because there just aren't many Air-Bikes, rarely does one Air-Bike pilot ever see another one on the ground let alone in the Air!  And we had three airborne at once flying formation!  Cool!!
Eventually you have to turn.  Our first attempts completely destroyed the formation, suddenly we were back to flying in trail!  After a few more attempts our learning curve went up and eventually the turning formation almost retained the diamond shape.  Here are a few things we already knew but didn't realize how critical they were to maintaining the formation:
  1. Pay constant and close attention to the point pilot's hand signals.  Do not look at anything else but him.
  2. The inside pilot must slow down considerably when turning.
  3. The outside pilot must speed up considerably (more than we ever thought)
  4. Point pilot must maintain speed, altitude and a gentle turn.  Half-mile radius seemed to work pretty well.  Just how big is an air show box anyway?
  5. Tighten up the formation, the closer you are the fewer adjustments are necessary.  100' seemed about right.
  6.  Everyone should have a radio.
Realizing and improving on the above items during the 1-1/2 hour formation flying session made our last half hour quite successful.  Talk about excitement due to our success, this was the greatest!  We were a happy as kittens in a creamery!

What a beautiful sight it was to look out a "window" and see three other planes making banking turns simultaneously then leveling out to fly straight!  Whoo-ee!  We hated to land and take a break but it was necessary because stress caused by the heightened attention, constantly adjusting control inputs and throttle positions was also fatiguing.
By pre-arrangement, Doug's wife Sabrina, was to start a campfire and get cookout items ready when we landed back at High Point.  Sabina is an outstanding woman, not only good looking, and a pilot-in-training, but she had built the fire and had all the picnic fixings on the table.
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Some guys are really INTO this outdoor cooking stuff.