The ultimate initial formation training program designed to teach formation principles, techniques, and discipline to pilots of any airplane type.
This 5-Day 10-Mission customized course is broken down into two phases: basic formation training and advanced/customized formation training. Combined, the outline below gives a general overview of what to expect during a week of formation flying at APS. This can be a demanding program both mentally and physically. Please be sure to allow sufficient time for rest and study after each flying day.
Day 1, 2 & 3
As a formation pilot, training must include extensive academic preparation and practical experience under the guidance of expert instructors. At APS, the team prepares each participant with the knowledge and skills necessary to safely participate in 2-ship formation exercises and operational mission profiles. Each day includes dedicated ground instruction pertinent to preparing participants for the day’s mission profile. All flight profiles are pre-briefed and flown in strict accordance with the planned mission. An important aspect of formation training is ensuring each participating pilot is afforded adequate hands-on practical experience in all training areas. The APS program is specially designed to develop the pilot’s formation skills, situational awareness, knowledge and safety awareness consistently and continually throughout the program. Phase 1 is focused on the principles of safety first and building block methodology to guarantee client satisfaction and to provide a fun, rewarding experience to each participant.
Phase 1 includes ground and flight instruction in the following areas:
- Formation safety, protocols, and Federal Aviation Administration regulations
- Staggered single-ship take-off and rejoin
- 2-ship echelon, route and trail formations
- Station keeping, station changes, and wing work
- Basic close and route maneuvering
- Lead and wingman responsibilities
- Lost wingman procedures
- Formation emergencies
- Hand signals and communication discipline
- Extended trail
- Pitch and out to straight ahead and turning rejoins
- Circling rejoins
- Overhead break to landing
Day 4 & 5
With basic formation training complete, participants now move into more advanced formation maneuvers and develop leadership and planning skills necessary to safely execute a variety of formation profiles. Throughout Phase 2, each participant continues to practice and develop their basic formation skills. The advanced portion of the training course can be designed by the APS instructor staff exclusively; however, the staff prefers to have direct input from the participating pilots to ensure Phase 2 meets their specific training needs. Phase 2 can include any or all of the following training areas.
- Basic formation review
- Formation leader: Mission planning and briefing
- 2-Ship formation take-off
- Formation overhead break
- 2-ship formation approach, go around, and landing
- Formation lazy eights
- Formation steep turns
- Aerobatic formation introduction and demonstration
- Additions as requested
The goal during the final 2 days of the advanced formation training course at APS is to ensure participants gain skills and knowledge in accordance with their specific operational needs. Additionally, each participating formation pilot will be required to plan, brief, lead, and execute at least one formation mission profile.
A few examples of customized add-on training courses are as follows:
- Photo shoot profiles
- Extended basic formation proficiency flying
- 2-Ship shadowing techniques for airborne target monitoring
- Fly-by techniques and parade formations
- 4-Ship formation operations
- Tactical formation flying techniques (North Atlantic Treaty Organization Standard)