The basic premise of formation flying is the concept of mutual support; the days of doing it alone
are buried in history. The team concept is essential to successfully engage and defeat the enemy
in today’s air warfare. Each member of the team has something to contribute if the team is to
perform its function of destroying enemy personnel and resources. Mutual, not independent, action
is the secret of successful air warfare. Although bomber, troop carrier, and interceptor missions
require limited precisionformation, most military flying operations are done in formation.
A formation must be flexible enough to meet the most significant or immediate threat, yet still
complete the mission. The selection of a particular formation is determined by the mission,
performance of your aircraft compared to the enemy aircraft, air superiority situation, and enemy
tactics. Regardless of the formation used, each has one thing in common: a dependence on all
members of the flight:teamwork is the vital key to success.
The effectiveness of a formation mission is highly dependent on solid flight discipline and formation integrity, which originates in mission preparation, transition to the flight briefing, ground operations, and the actual flight. It terminates at debriefing. Flight discipline is absolutely essential for successful mission execution.
More than any other type of flying, formation builds confidence and teaches self-reliance, self-discipline, and proper application of aggressiveness in military flying. Aggressiveness is a state of mind, an attitude not to be confused with speed and roughness of flight control movement. Aggressiveness is knowing the rules and parameters, recognizing deviations, and making expeditious, controlled corrections. Formation training teaches you the basic techniques and procedures. You must be disciplined and aggressive, and you must trust lead. The ability to fly a good formation does not come easily.