Any pilots among us?

  Weskit 15:48 05 Jul 2008

Seeing two military aircraft passing overhead in formation yesterday, I was reminded of a nagging thought I've had for ages. How do several aircraft, such as the Red Arrows, maintain precisely the same speed, do they have throttle pedals like a car? My only recollection from my time in the RAF long ago is of throttle levers which can't give very precise control. Anybody?

  spuds 16:38 05 Jul 2008
  spuds 16:41 05 Jul 2008

Something appears to be wrong with the last link. Should have shown filmed formation flying. Try YouTube re formation flying.

  wiz-king 17:43 05 Jul 2008

Some of them have variable pitch props so you can set your throttle lever and make fine adjustments with the prop pitch but it's mainly practice, practice, practise.

  peter99co 18:15 05 Jul 2008

Waddington Airshow on SAT/SUN. Pity I could not go this year.

  siouxah1 19:09 05 Jul 2008

There is no problem with whichever method of power control is used.

It is all a matter of anticipation and as wiz-king says, practice, practice, practice and practice again.

This enables one to readily calculate closing speeds with the brain/eye and sight picture and thus co ordinate power/attitude required.
Note that it is the aircraft attitude that controls speed and not directly the use of power.

The amount of power change required can be relatively minute.

  siouxah1 19:48 05 Jul 2008


The beauty of formation flying is that any pilot only formates on one other aircraft. No matter how many are in the formation.

If one keeps ones position relative to the next aircraft and everyone does the same then all is well.(Usually)

  Weskit 15:42 06 Jul 2008

Thanks everyone for your replies, I have the picture much more clearly now, shan't be participating though!

This thread is now locked and can not be replied to.

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