What's new
Van's Air Force

Don't miss anything! Register now for full access to the definitive RV support community.

Formation Flying - Mid-Atlantic


Active Member
Hi all…

Looking to find some folks or groups doing regular formation flying in the Maryland area. I have previous formation experience and I’m looking to get back into it with my new RV-8. Any contacts or links welcome.

East coast Formation clinic

There is a great event that happens every year at the Easton airport (ESN) usually the second weekend in October. It precedes the airport’s “Aviation Day-Chicken drop” https://eastonairport.com/ead/. It is very organized and professionally run.

It is mostly T34’s, but if there are enough RV’s to form a few elements we can attend the clinic.

If interested in attending, please let me know as last year there weren’t any RV’s so I couldn’t attend. However, I was fortunate enough to fly in the backseat of my friend’s T34 and it was amazing.

Easton Formation clinic 10/13

I haven’t been able to get in contact with the organizers of this.Who plans on attending? I want to know if any RV’s are going to be there before I take the day off and fly down.

Easton Airport Day (ESN)

I have done this event numerous times with my RV-8. Last time was two years ago. Unfortunately, I was the only RV there in spite of reaching out to many formation RV folks I know. I do not have plans for participating this year. A flight of 4 or more RVs would be the best way to do this event.

This event this year will be held on 13 October thru 15 October. Friday is largely the arrival day for most out of towners with some formation practice taking place. The formation flying tends to be a bit tribal. By that I mean, T34s fly with T34s, Epsilons fly with Epsilons, RVs fly with RVs.

Saturday is the main event featuring the World Famous Chicken Drop. You are issued a rubber chicken and ordered to drop it on the airport truck parked next to the runway. RV's require a Chicken Launch device for this. I posted plans on making this several years ago on Vans Airforce. I actually won this event twice. You would not have enough time to build and practice at this point in time unfortunately.

There is a $50 fee to participate which includes your meals for Friday evening, Saturday lunch and an awesome dinner that evening. Coffee and donuts served each morning. Most of the out of towners already have accomodations lined up.

As of now about 50 planes are attending including a few warbirds. You are supposed to have a wingman card to particpate in the mass formation on Saturday. You can still drop your bird, but will have to fly in trail at the end of the mass form flight. Spectator crowd is normally 3000 - 5000. Gets bigger every year.

The main contact for this event is Steve Dalton (Mozam). He can be reached at [email protected].

Hope this info helps,

Bruce Raymond (Mugsy)
Last edited:
Easton Formation clinic

I received a text last night for “Smitty” the T-34 head guy and he said “Sadly, we don’t have anyone running the formation clinic for the RVs” and “no one has shown up who can instruct formation for several years now”

I’m really disappointed as this is a great event with many experienced formation pilots that we could all learn from. Plus it’s close for us NE RV pilots.

I’m going to reach out to Steve Dalton for one last shot in the dark, but I think it might be too late for us to organize a group of RVs for this year’s event.

Keep your fingers crossed….

The REAL problem

That is not the problem. The problem is that no RVs are showing up !

IMO the real problem is "you can't get there from here".

Two available ways to get "carded". Red Star and FFI. Red Star has proven that they generally don't want to deal with RVs, and there are no FFI instructors or check pilots in the NE. Two of us out of Leesburg, VA (KJYO) did get some instruction several years ago from Red Star instructors out of Frederick (KFDK). Although there was a clear path to getting a "wing" card, there was no real way to get a "lead" or "instructor" or "check pilot" certification. Thus without any "chiefs", there was no way to propagate "indians".

I fly two ship RV formation about twice a week. With the same partner. You don't need any certification to do this, and I feel quite comfortable flying without certification. But we can't do any official events in waivered airspace.

We have found it very difficult to train new pilots with the exception of ex-military. Once every two weeks will not get proficiency for a pilot who has never had formation experience.

Several weeks ago we flew with Peter Barrett, the OP of this thread. His military training was obvious, and with a couple more flights to experience our mostly FFI procedures, we will have a three-ship capability. But nothing is official. We don't have any capabiity to grant any cards. And as noted in a prior post, if we attend events such as Easton, we can't fly in formation in the main flyover without a carded instructor.

There is an annual school in Pine Bluff, AR, but that's a long haul. Falcon Field in Atlanta has a large group of formation pilots, and I believe "carding" capability. But no organized school. There is a group that flies out of Raleigh, but again, no formal school.

So until we get critical mass in the NE with instructors and check pilots, we will have a hard time getting organized carded formation flying in this area.