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