gsxrpilot

Mooney Caravan Update

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1 minute ago, gsxrpilot said:

Be careful, it's a lot of fun and just a little addicting. Will you be flying formation in your Mooney or in a different type of plane? I might have misunderstood your comment.

Training in several Mooneys.   I already did lead with Buzzards riding columns to 4500' in rising columns of air.   I was having a hard time keeping altitude within 100 feet.  At 1 point with the nose pointed at the ground, then coming off the back side of the column having to correct.   It was more work than fun.

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3 minutes ago, Yetti said:

Training in several Mooneys.   I already did lead with Buzzards riding columns to 4500' in rising columns of air.   I was having a hard time keeping altitude within 100 feet.  At 1 point with the nose pointed at the ground, then coming off the back side of the column having to correct.   It was more work than fun.

Yeah, it's not much fun in bumpy air. We usually try to go out early in the morning, or sometimes climbing above a layer will yield smooth air. Then it's a lot of fun.

From the standpoint of effort, it's still a lot of work. I'd be soaked in sweat even on a cool day, after 45 min of holding position when I was getting into it. It's gotten easier now, but an hour is still a lot of effort. But I do enjoy it!

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1 minute ago, gsxrpilot said:

Yeah, it's not much fun in bumpy air. We usually try to go out early in the morning, or sometimes climbing above a layer will yield smooth air. Then it's a lot of fun.

But then we did an overhead break which I know annoys most GA pilots.  So there was fun in that.

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15 hours ago, gsxrpilot said:

Yeah, it's not much fun in bumpy air. We usually try to go out early in the morning, or sometimes climbing above a layer will yield smooth air. Then it's a lot of fun.

From the standpoint of effort, it's still a lot of work. I'd be soaked in sweat even on a cool day, after 45 min of holding position when I was getting into it. It's gotten easier now, but an hour is still a lot of effort. But I do enjoy it!

The old joke is:  If you are not sweating, you are out of position.

For @Yetti:  How is your Wobble Box?

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On 8/14/2019 at 7:39 AM, Ned Gravel said:

For @Yetti:  How is your Wobble Box?

Bobble box?   not sure what you are talking about.   I am lead taking this pic of the wingman.   pretty sure his bobble box is very very small.   I was just trying to fly smooth and keep it at 4500 while fighting thermals and turkey vultures that were up that high.

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Wobble box, @Yetti - not bobble box.  Indicating a wingman's motion within a defined area in three dimensions relative to Lead.  This is my second ever practice at formation flying (station-keeping really) in 2013 instruction provided by the members of a local aerobatic demonstration team.  Note how I am not entirely stationary with respect to Yves while he is flying Lead.  On that day, at that time, that was my Wobble Box.

This OK?

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3 hours ago, Ned Gravel said:

obble box, @Yetti - not bobble box.  Indicating a wingman's motion within a defined area in three dimensions relative to Lead.  This is my second ever practice at formation flying (station-keeping really) in 2013 instruction provided by the members of a local aerobatic demonstration team.  Note how I am not entirely stationary with respect to Yves while he is flying Lead.  On that day, at that time, that was my Wobble Box.

This OK?

 

Are you asking me to comment on your flying?   If so it looks like you really need to relax.  You are over correcting. You are going make your pax sea sick. But you seem to settle down at the end.   I was going to give you a break for bumpy day or arm flailing holding the camera, but it looks like a smooth day since the lead plane is stable in relation to the horizon. And the camera arm is not moving in relation to the flaps.

Do you have some videos of your landings?

Edited by Yetti
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35 minutes ago, Yetti said:

Are you asking me to comment on your flying?   If so it looks like you really need to relax.  You are over correcting. You are going make your pax sea sick. But you seem to settle down at the end.   I was going to give you a break for bumpy day or arm flailing holding the camera, but it looks like a smooth day since the lead plane is stable in relation to the horizon. And the camera arm is not moving in relation to the flaps.

Do you have some videos of your landings?

Again, your ignorance of formation flying is showing. Have you done any station keeping yet? Let's see how you do in the same position on your second try.

Or maybe I missed the sarcasm/joking in your post...

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1 hour ago, gsxrpilot said:

Again, your ignorance of formation flying is showing. Have you done any station keeping yet? Let's see how you do in the same position on your second try.

Or maybe I missed the sarcasm/joking in your post...

Are you saying that is acceptable being that close and that loose in the video or are you saying that I won't fair much better on my second try?   

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5 hours ago, Yetti said:

Are you saying that is acceptable being that close and that loose in the video or are you saying that I won't fair much better on my second try?   

Should have sniffed this out before.  You got me.  I bit.  

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24 minutes ago, Ned Gravel said:

Should have sniffed this out before.  You got me.  I bit.  

Nope that was not the point to "get you".   I would have to believe you have improved because you have practiced.  I have several goals with my flying hobby.  One of those goals is to always be improving. One of those ways is to fly with people that are better  than me and learn from them.   The other goal is to never end up on that Kathryn's web site.

FYI Wobble box is not in the Caravan training manual.

Here flying videos you are welcome to return fire.

https://www.youtube.com/user/yettismith/videos?view_as=subscriber

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OK @Yetti

Just so you know, I have heretofore had nothing but respect for your whimsical and inquisitive style of participation in Mooneyspace discussions.  My response to you now is not about formation flying.  It is about the conduct of this discussion.

So, going out on a limb and based on the assumption that you are not simply trying to stir it up, I will answer the questions that you asked and the comments you made that gave me cause for pause.  They appear to be attempts to poke holes in conclusions raised from the personal experiences of pilots who have:

 - taken the instruction,

 - executed formation flight manoeuvres, and

 - become competent in formation flight manoeuvres by demonstrating their application of skills and knowledge to a person who have themselves acquired competence in teaching these skills. 

I am hoping that you are not attempting to do that.  So here goes.

First, landing videos in formation.  I have already given you two (or three if you include this year's caravan landing of Element D) on page 1 of this thread.  I am lead in one and wingman in another and Alan Millet (Tigger) is the wingman in the third.

Second, operating in the Wobble box is very normal even for experienced formation pilots.  It just gets smaller over time.  Your comment about making my passenger "sea" sick (air sick?) was an unfounded one.  That person was not a passenger, but a aerobatic demonstration pilot (we had one in each of our aircraft) acting as my safety pilot and formation flying instructor.  This is a set of circumstances with which he was quite familiar.

Third, while I appreciate your "giving me a break for a bumpy day or Yves' instructor flailing away with the camera" such is neither needed nor appreciated.  I would normally only look for this kind of opinion and judgement from a person who has been a safety pilot for any of the formation training flights I have had since 2013.  But thank you anyway. 

Experience can be defined as learning from our own mistakes.  Wisdom can be defined as learning from the mistakes of others. 

Our collective conduct in discussions is a good demonstration of the acquisition of wisdom.  Therefore, I will not "return fire" as regards your flying skills.  Until I have evidence otherwise, I will assume that you are a proficient and safe pilot.

However, acceptable conduct in "station keeping" in Mooneys can only be acquired through experience.  I will always welcome questions on the topic because I like the formation flying skill set such training gives me.  Comments from those who have also trained are OK because their comments are based on experience, whether they acquired it in a military flying career or from the formal acquisition of the skill as a civilian.   From those not experienced in formation flight, questions are welcome and I can respond with a little experience and some small amount of acquired competence.  I am not certain how to respond to comments from someone who does not have the experience.  Such is my disadvantage in participating in this discussion.

This OK?

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22 minutes ago, Ned Gravel said:

OK @Yetti

However, acceptable conduct in "station keeping" in Mooneys can only be acquired through experience.  I will always welcome questions on the topic because I like the formation flying skill set such training gives me.  Comments from those who have also trained are OK because their comments are based on experience, whether they acquired it in a military flying career or from the formal acquisition of the skill as a civilian.   From those not experienced in formation flight, questions are welcome and I can respond with a little experience and some small amount of acquired competence.  I am not certain how to respond to comments from someone who does not have the experience.  Such is my disadvantage in participating in this discussion.

This OK?

Yes OK.   You challenged me to come formation flying.   What is happening is the same thing I did prior to getting my pilot's license.  Seeing if the added risk is worth it.   In the first landing video your Wing rolls forward of the lead.   That seems concerning to me.   One crosswind gust with plane wings aligned and bent metal.   Also he is violating the first rule of formation flying don't hit your lead.  If he is forward of you then there is no way he can control not hitting you.

You state you are under pressure about keeping flight formation What about increasing time between flights to say 30 seconds and take that pressure away?   What about putting all the slow planes at the back of the formation?   I am still not sure about why the flight in front of you was an issue, I thought there was a set speed for the Mooney Caravan that all Mooneys can keep up with.

Then you post a video of a prop pretty close to a wing tip and not very stable.   You say this is part of the learning process.   I would ask why could you not learn with more distance between the planes. Seem to me the sight picture is the same just more distance.

Here is my instructor filming(while flying) me a couple weeks ago.  He evaluating me to see if he wants to come in close.  It is a very bumpy day. He is the one that requires you to always land on the centerline and taxi on the centerline. (realize that that carrier pilots debrief each and every landing)   He came in closer so I passed his evaluation. So in response to your question my wobble box (not a defined term in the Caravan manual)  is pretty small.   He was not real tight as conditions that day were really bumpy. 

It is good that you put yourself out there for critical analysis.   Flying is serious stuff.   Flying formation is even more serious.  

I disagree with this " , I will assume that you are a proficient and safe pilot. "  I used to ride motorcycles on the street in Houston.   I assume everyone in a car is trying to kill me.   I assume all drivers suck.  There is one close call per day commuting  on a motorcycle on the streets and two on Friday.   You need to know they will happen and be ready for them.   I would prefer you believe me to be a sucky pilot and point out where I can improve.

Based on this discussion: I would probably have personal minimums for me and the people I flew formation with.  Something along the lines of 50 flight hours in type in the prior 6 months.   Submit  3 recent videos of your landings. Need to be 6 inches of centerline on all three videos.

When we were briefing the flight he briefed the overhead break to ensure Left turn.   Reason being is that one of his friends was involved in an accident where one of the guys decided to do a right break when everyone else was going left.

 

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Whoever your instructor is, isn't instructing anything if you're flying as Lead and he's on your wing.

Get some proper formation training, qualify for either a FAST or FFI Wing Card, in your Mooney, and then report back. Until then, you don't know what you're talking about.

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1 hour ago, gsxrpilot said:

Whoever your instructor is, isn't instructing anything if you're flying as Lead and he's on your wing.

Get some proper formation training, qualify for either a FAST or FFI Wing Card, in your Mooney, and then report back. Until then, you don't know what you're talking about.

Let's see what did I learn:

Hand signals,

Left, right and parade position.

coms

Task saturation

I am not current enough to fly wing.  so it would be a bad idea to try.

 

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20 minutes ago, Yetti said:

Let's see what did I learn:

Hand signals,

Left, right and parade position.

coms

Task saturation

I am not current enough to fly wing.  so it would be a bad idea to try.

 

That's certainly a good start. But did you have an instructor/safety pilot with you in the plane? 

The FFI, FAST, and US Air Force formation learning process has new pilots starting in the number 2 position with an experienced/carded pilot flying the lead ship and an instructor/safety pilot riding in the right seat with the new #2 wingman.

We typically start the process with the new formation pilot riding along in the #2 ship to see what it all looks like from that position. The formation would include an experienced Lead and experienced #2.

I like your analogy of the dangerous nature of riding a motorcycle in Houston. But from my experience with both, I'd say it closer to riding a track day. Not danger free, but certainly safer when all pilots have trained to the same standard, have been through an extensive brief immediately prior to the flight. When we're just out for practice, the brief usually takes an hour, for a performance, clinic, Oshkosh, etc. the brief is even longer.

One slightly concerning note (but I might have mis-understood), is about briefing the overhead break to ensure a Left turn? While EVERYTHING is properly discussed in the brief, the direction of the overhead break to landing is often assigned by ATC while on Final or typically called "Initial". But one thing is sure and every formation pilot would know well, is that a break can only happen from an Echelon formation, (all wingmen on the same side, right or left, of lead) and the break is always away from the formation. So if the formation is Lead on the left, with 2,3,4 to the right, then the break is to the left. If the formation is Lead on the right with 4,3,2 to the left, then the break has to be to the right. At a towered field we might ask tower for a left break as the formation is lined up Echelon right. But if tower says expect a right break, then we'll cross under the formation to the left to allow for the right break. Regardless, a break can never happen towards the formation, and a break can never happen from "finger tip" or "parade" formation.

This was the case on Saturday when I flew formation with my friend Whitey, both of us are carded FAST pilots. We were Echelon Left, expecting a right break. At a position of "5 mile Initial", tower told us to switch to a left break. So we immediately crossed under for an Echelon Right and then executed a 5 sec break at the "numbers" (approach end of the runway).

Overhead Break to Land, as you said, is a lot of fun.

 

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Seems like a pretty good process.   We were flying uncontrolled to uncontrolled field. 

Do y'all debrief or After Action Report?   What were the results of that?  What items were noted to improve on?  How is improvement documented and measured?

I am overly emphasizing human performance factors since at work I am having create a soft skills class.   It is really hard since it is stuff I just do.   Pretty much everyone at work hates me because I am analyzing every conversation I have to understand what I do.  Then documenting it.

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Yes, there is always a debrief after every flight. The debrief usually takes even longer than the original brief. We are religious about the brief and debrief. Cell phones off, everyone paying attention. If we don't have time to brief or debrief, we don't have time to fly formation. We also use standard briefing forms. So everything is written down during the brief, and notes are. made on the same sheet during the debrief. Bucko, who is our designated Mooney Lead and Flight Ops Director, usually shows up to a flight with the briefing sheet already filled out for everyone. This way pilots are listening to everything during the brief and not busy writing down frequency numbers and other misc stuff. But everything is written down and documented before and after. I have a file of briefing sheets from hundreds of formation flights. It's interesting to go back through and see how I've improved and how we've improved as a group over the last five years or so.

The debrief is organized with each pilot and observer given time to speak in turn. The debrief starts with discussing any "Safety of Flight" issues. Usually there are none, but it is always discussed. Then we talk through each phase of the exercise from the initial engine start all the way through to engine shut down. What was good, what could be better, what was bad, where was there confusion, etc. It's nice to have a safety pilot riding along as they are often making notes during the flight to discuss during the debrief. The Air Force guys who ride with us as Safety pilots, always seem to have the most detailed notes for the debrief. Obviously the POC in each airplane is flying 100% and not writing anything down during the flight. -_-

Lessons learned are noted, written down, and incorporated into subsequent flights. If often fly with the same group and any notes any of us has taken from previous formation flight debriefs are raised in the brief before the next flight.

We almost always have a whiteboard for both the brief and debrief. As an engineer you'll undoubtedly recognize the usefulness of a whiteboard.

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Here's a good video showing proper formation positioning, good crisp communications, moving the formation to Echelon for the Overhead Break to land, an excellent break, and proper hot side/cold side landing. Three Mooneys and two Bonanza's.

Thanks to Phil "Buzz" Verghese for the excellent camera work.

 

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Funny, when I did formation training we took off, flew, and landed in formation. Not a big fan of GA pilots doing overhead breaks. I know they’re big and bad and military and all. But the military does them for reasons that don’t exist most of the time in GA.

I always try and be predictable when I fly. I try hard to be where other pilots are always looking. Can’t think of anyone hereabouts looking for an overhead break.

No doubt I’ll get flamed hard by everyone who’s more experienced and professional and better than me. Just how I see it.

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17 hours ago, steingar said:

Funny, when I did formation training we took off, flew, and landed in formation. Not a big fan of GA pilots doing overhead breaks. I know they’re big and bad and military and all. But the military does them for reasons that don’t exist most of the time in GA.

I always try and be predictable when I fly. I try hard to be where other pilots are always looking. Can’t think of anyone hereabouts looking for an overhead break.

No doubt I’ll get flamed hard by everyone who’s more experienced and professional and better than me. Just how I see it.

Why fear the overhead break?   It's in the AIM.   Has a purpose.   Safer than going out and spinning around to do a mid 45 entry.   I always try to fly by minimizing exposure.  Same with not putting my self in front of cars on bicycle or motorcycles.

We were 20 degrees off doing a straight in.   So the options are straight in final.  Overhead break, fly way out and do a 180 to mid 45.

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