Close Formation Flying
Echelon Right
Line Astern
Echelon Right
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Flying an aeroplane in close proximity to another is highly demanding but lots of fun. This skill is taught to all military pilots during their basic training and expanded upon once on their operational squadrons

I am not a military pilot I hear you say. That maybe so but flying close to another aeroplane is not just for the military pilot but for all pilots who wish to do so. The day may come when you are asked to assist another pilot in trouble and the best means of help is to shepherd them back to an airfield for a safe landing

Having completed the On-Track Aviation Close Formation Course you will have the necessary skill and confidence to do this task safely and effectively. Moreover, the course will help you improve your flying skills and your airmanship as you will now have to think about more than just yourself

Pre-Course Entry Requirements

The pilot must hold a:

(a) valid pilot licence aeroplanes

(b) valid medical certificate

(c) valid and current class/type rating for the aeroplane to be used on the course

Ground Training

5 hours theoretical knowledge training cover formation positions, changes and manoeuvring as well as introducing formation leading

The training shall be integrated with the flight training so that the maximum benefit is gained from time spent in the air

Flight Training

5 hours dual flight instruction and 45 minutes solo flight

Flight Test

There is no formal flight test on completion of the close formation flying course. However, prior to the first solo formation flight an independent dual check is carried out


The aeroplanes we use for the course are the Robin 200s or PA28s. Any low wing aeroplane would be a suitable type to use on the course. The only requirement is that the aeroplanes are matched in performance

Pilots may use their own aircraft at the discretion of On-Track Aviation Limited


AP3456 Royal Air Force Flying Manual Volume 5
On-Track Aviation Limited Close Formation Flying Syllabus


To fly as PIC as a wingman or operate as leader of a formation of aeroplanes


There are no formal validity requirements. However, good airmanship and common sense dictate that a pilot who has not flown formation for some time should seek refresher training from a suitably qualified instructor

SERA.3135 Formation Flights

Aircraft shall not be flown in formation except by pre-arrangement among the pilots-in-command of the aircraft taking part in the flight and, for formation flight in controlled airspace, in accordance with the conditions prescribed by the competent authority. These conditions shall include the following:

(a) one of the pilots-in-command shall be designated as the flight leader

(b) the formation operates as a single aircraft with regard to navigation and position reporting

(c) separation between aircraft in the flight shall be the responsibility of the flight leader and the pilots-in-command of the other aircraft in the flight and shall include periods of transition when aircraft are manoeuvring to attain their own separation within the formation and during join-up and breakaway

(d) for State aircraft a maximum lateral, longitudinal and vertical distance between each aircraft and the flight leader in accordance with the Chicago Convention. For other than State aircraft a distance not exceeding 1 km (0.5 nm) laterally and longitudinally and 30 m (100 ft) vertically from the flight leader shall be maintained by each aircraft


On-Track Aviation Limited: Wellesbourne Mountford Aerodrome, Loxley Lane, Wellesbourne, Warwickshire. CV35 9EU, United Kingdom
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