Mooney Formation Flying

This flying caper is catching! The latest was the opportunity to join Kevin and the rest of his fellow “tragics” to go formation flying. It seems that at least every other weekend, Kevin and/or his mates are out formation flying in Mooney’s. In fact one of the Mooney’s (VH-SJT), he used to half own, but has since handed that torch on.

The arvo started with a drool over SJT in its northern apron hanger followed by a briefing on the formation flight plan. We headed out of Jandakot and down to Bunbury. The trip involved Echelon Rights, Line-a-Sterns and Echelon Lefts, even a spit out the back… All those a the positions relative to the lead plane and the spit out the back was when we flew into the wash of the lead Mooney. We swapped the lead half way and flew into Bunbury. With a conveniently located wife, Wash’s Mrs Meagan picked us up and we headed into Bunbury for a late lunch. Politely we all avoided beers so the two guys who had pilot duties on the way back wouldn’t miss out…

The trip back was good too. I got a brief feel of the controls to see how “stiff” the Mooney is compared to my trusty 152. The formation flying involves soft touches on the rudder rather than aileron maneuvers, They are slow and deliberate moves to keep it all safe. There is also good communication between the aircraft. In formation, each has a role, such as monitoring other radio frequencies, while all radio calls are made singularly by the lead plane.

The whole trip was a good laugh. It was a pity I didn’t record some of the conversations, it would have made the video rather more amusing. Each of the guys has a nick name, although Rohan till this point had missed out. He was getting a few from us on the way back driven by his continual looking back when piloting the lead plane. Apparently this is not good practice. So, names such as “Rubber Neck Rohan” and History were coined. “History” because he keeps looking back rather than forward (nice one Kev!)…

Thanks fella’s for letting me tag along. I really developed an appreciation for the Mooney’s, particularly their speed. These things rocket for a 4 banger single prop. I think I heard the term, “the are like riding a skateboard on ball bearings”. Seems they can bite hard, but are awesome at the same time. I’ve the feeling that a Mooney rating will be on the cards not to far down the PPL track.

Finishing up for the arvo and all inspired, I went straight into Air Australia and booked a lesson for the next day (Sunday arvo). It meant having a different instructor for the day, but thats a different story…

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4 Responses to Mooney Formation Flying

  1. Steve says:

    That was some awesome footage. I loved the 500′ AGL on the beach. Looked like a great flight with some of our lovely Perth weather. We certainly are blessed on this side of the country.

    • ozflyer says:

      Was great fun too Steve, these fellas have it sussed. I hear rumours there is a trip in the wings to Leeuwin for lunch over the Easter weekend too. They left me inspired to get this PPL thing sorted quick smart…

  2. Steve says:

    Ah yes, Aeros is something we really must do…. soon! Have to get Mother’s Day, etc out of the way. Plenty of good weather coming along, cooler days, better climbs….

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