RE: Acrobatic/Formation Flying in FS2004 -- how to, help, hints please!
The first time I tried formation flying in the UASAF, I swore it couldn't be done - but obviously, it can. I learned as time went on, but it took a lot of practice.
For starters, the lead aircraft can have his autopilot on, but not the wingman. Start with straight and level and establish some reference points on the lead aircraft. In T-38's, I tried to keep the trailing edge of the wingtip of the lead aircraft lined up with the star on the fuselage. Learn to maintain position using very small inputs, both throttle and stick. Most new pilots tend to overcontrol. Once you can maintain level flight, have the lead start a constant rate turn. The wingman, if he is on the outside of the turn, will have to slightly increase throttle and climb slightly to maintain position. Use the virtual cockpit and pan to see the the lead aircraft. The old saying was "if you have to think about it, you can't do it!" A good quality set of controls, including rudder pedals will be a big help as well as good frame rates. The lead should always announce things like gear, speed brakes, flaps. We would say "Gear - Now!" and everyone would lower the gear at the same time.
Stay with it, don't get discouraged. You will soon appreciate how good pilots in the Blue Angels, Thunderbirds, and other aerobatic teams really are.
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