Can I fly in formation without specific training or experience?
Answered By AOPA
A friend of yours just had his aircraft painted. He wanted to get some nice pictures of his aircraft, but not just on the ramp, he wants some flying, too. He proposes that you go out some nice Saturday and do some formation flying so that he can get the shots he wants. You weren’t in the military, have no formation flying experience, and you’re not too sure this sounds like a great idea, especially from a safety and legal standpoint. Can this flight be done legally?
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AOPA Staff Answer
The short answer is yes, this flight can be done legally, but there are a few requirements. FAR 91.111 outlines those:
“(a) No person may operate an aircraft so close to another aircraft as to create a collision hazard.
(b) No person may operate an aircraft in formation flight except by arrangement with the pilot in command of each aircraft in the formation.
(c) No person may operate an aircraft, carrying passengers for hire, in formation flight. “
Whether or not this flight is safe is up to the PIC of each aircraft. We spend most of our civilian flying career trying to stay away from other aircraft, so this isn’t something that comes naturally to most. Training is available from several organizations and companies out there; a quick internet search brings up lots of options for you. AOPA has written articles and made videos on this topic too.