Flying the Sherwood over to the U.K. had been in the planning stages for many weeks … just waiting for a good weather window …
one element was a pre-planned air to air sequence with two great colleagues … Dale Curtin from flying and Alan Moss from ATC
We had spent some time pre planning the sequences using PowerPoint to show possible angles and heights and headings and pre planned “loss of contact-sight” actions .. and Alan had kindly a advised of a dedicated frequency to use. It turned out ATC were monitoring the frequency as they contacted Dale before we rejoined the circuit.
We planned to take off separately … formation take off is only the stuff of Red Arrows … then formate over the South East training area … loose at first ..until we were comfortable the closer up
Wind was not too bad although it was a bit choppy in the receding cloud base .. the thick fog having receded at 10
We had planned that Dale would lead all comms and I would basically fly .. as advised … repeating back any pre planned turns … we used LEFT and RIGHT words and also directional headings .. ie head EAST for the next 2 mins … this meant that Dale effectively had a relatively fixed ‘target’ …. Leaving Alan to direct Dale above below behind ….
Dale initially had problems getting slow enough … which we had discussed on the ground .. so we already had planned that flaps would be down in the Robin …. And also discussed and walked through the potential for stalls in tighter turns whilst trying to keep the camera on station It worked a treat …
Once we were comfortable distances could be reduced and we could organise and position so that we got the desired aircraft angle as well as background content
Once we were out to the offshore islands we could try to position to get some of the more nose on shots .. involving Dale and Alan passing straight and level and then me pulling up and across behind before the curvature of the Robin canopy blocked the shot.
pulling the Sherwood up was always going to present a flattish bottom to the wash behind the Robin so we didn’t do any too close but still got reasonable wash effect from the Robin with its flaps down