Formation flypast practice

This year on Sunday 12th November, HAAF had planned to conduct a Remembrance Day flypast at Middle Wallop and over several local villages. Unfortunately, due to the weather conditions being poor and below our minimums for the flight, the Auster and Scout pair’s flight was cancelled. As an aspiring pilot, I figured I would share what it was like to sit in on a practice formation flight.

Earlier in November, I arrived at Hangar 3 ahead of the formation practice armed with my flying gear and a sense of excitement. I met with the pilots and went through the pre-flight brief with them. I took in all the information regarding the route and timings. As I was to fly in the Scout, Paul the pilot provided me with a 1:50,000 map to enable me to follow the route. This involved flying over several local memorial sites. On Sunday 12th, the plan was to fly over each of the Remembrance ceremonies of Over Wallop, Nether Wallop, West Tytherley, Stockbridge, Monxton, Amport and Grateley before returning to AAC Middle Wallop.

Clear ahead!

The planned route

As it takes a while for its engine to warm up, the Auster started up first. Meanwhile, Paul and I took a leisurely walk out to the Scout and before long we hover-taxied out of the museum gate to meet up with the Auster doing its power checks on the airfield.

Formation Take-off

Upon return, the Auster carried out a touch-and-go and headed off to Boscombe Down for a refuel. The Scout hovered across the airfield before landing on the dispersal outside Hangar 3.

It is safe to say that I had a huge smile on my face for the rest of the day!

After a formation take-off, we headed out towards Boscombe Down before proceeding onto the planned route. I followed our track using the map as well as providing a lookout for Paul. I also managed to take a couple of photos. The view of the Auster out of the window of the Scout was utterly amazing.

In formation with the Auster

The experience was fantastic and it gave me an insight into all the things that go into formation flying, from the considerations that are required in the sky to the requirements set out by the CAA for carrying out flypasts, to notifying the correct people that the practice would be happening in the air space.

Story by Izzy Taylor