Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

At Wildcat we subscribe to the adage “there’s no such thing as a stupid question”!  With this section of the website, our intention is to de-mystify any/all aspects of formation aerobatics and Pitts flying in general.  If you can’t find the answer you’re looking for, don’t be shy: leave it as a comment below so we can answer it for you here.

How close do you guys fly to each other?

We have three formation positions for the Wildcat pair: Line abreast – where we are both “nose to nose” like in a horse race. Line astern, where Wildcat 2, effectively chases Wildcat 1 around the sky and echelon. In echelon the formation looks like a dart, from – “fleche”, dart in French, or Fletcher – a maker of arrows in Old English.

Line abreast is the hardest position to hold station as “Two” has little forward reference which impedes vertical positioning. However when we loop in line abreast, Wildcat 2’s wingtip should be between 66cms and 2 metres from wildcat 1’s.

In echelon – Wildcat 2 should be tucked in tight and Wildcat 1 can generally hear 2’s propeller noise over the racket of his own biplane. “One” can generally see “Two”, peripherally whilst in echelon, whilst still looking ahead! If “Two” can’t be heard or seen – he probably isn’t close enough!

Line astern. The top of two’s propeller is just a couple of feet away from the bottom of “One’s” rudder. “One” can generally hear “Two” during the slow parts – top of the barrel-roll, for example.
So how close are we?

The answer is very, very close – probably far closer than you’d feel comfortable following a car on a motorway

Does the G-Force hurt?

No! If you fly as hard and as frequently as the Wildcat guys, then one becomes quite inured to it. It’s certainly a little tougher after a lay-off of a few weeks but the body becomes G-fit quite quickly. The team also breathe and strain throughout the manouevres to minimise the effect of G. A fourteen stone pilot pulling 6’g’ weighs 84 stones. That is potentially quite tiring!
Do you speak to each other during your airshow?

Very little! We have a radio check on the ground to make sure that we can speak to each other, and after that Wildcat 1 does all the radio calls for the formation when transiting, and will always alerts other members of the formation to the new frequency before the frequency change. When we start our display, we follow a routine, so radio calls are kept at a minimum. If the radios fail we revert to hand signals. We generally have a chat after the flight! If we’re both smiling when we shut down, it’ll be a fairly short chat!
How much practice do you do?

I guess we did about 80 flights together before we felt we were ready to show the world our stuff! A flight is generally between 20 and 30 mins of close formation and about 60% of that is formation aerobatics. A practice session would comprise about 4 flights. As the Wildcat guys all brought different skills to the table, we gelled quite quickly over a nine month work-up.
Is this your full-time job?

No and we wouldn’t want it to be – we are out here doing what we love, hoping that by making a spectacle of it that you’ll love it too! If we had to do it every day the shine would tarnish very quickly!
Could you display for our wedding?

In principle, yes! Contact us through our website and we’ll revert and discuss it. However, there are a few places we just aren’t allowed to play: Westminster Abbey is a no-go!
What would it cost?

Depending upon where we had to go, probably a whole lot less than a firework display! We are an East Anglian Team based just outside Norwich. We’d love to come to Jersey for the weekend to help you celebrate your nuptials but that cost would equate to a Chinese New Year firework extravanganza!
Can I come and fly with you?

For introductory experience flights, our Pitts Specials are both of the S2B two-seat variety which enables us to provide multiple options of formation aerobatic experience flights. Each flight includes a thorough mission pre-flight brief, comprehensive sortie profile including various elements of formation flying and finally a ‘warts and all’ team debrief delivered with the aid of an accompanying in-cockpit video – a copy of which is presented to our guests. Although these experience flights are available for individuals to purchase, they are most successful as part of a corporate entertainment or team building event that can be either held at Old Buckenham in Norfolk or at a more convenient airfield of your choice.
I’m training for my PPL, how do I get into aerobatics?

Well, we at Wildcat are delighted that you are training for a pilot’s license, welcome to our world! Wildcat would suggest that you obtain your PPL, build some hours and then find a school that can offer you aerobatic training. There are some good schools and some fine aerobatic training aeroplanes available throughout the UK.

Can’t find your answer?

If your question hasn’t been answered yet to your satisfaction, then please leave us a comment on this page so we can sort it out for you!

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