Formation Flying, Inc.
I want to start flying formation. Do I need a formation
FAR §91.111(b) permits pilots to participate in formation flight "by arrangement" of each PIC in the formation. In other words, the activity must have been briefed and voluntarily undertaken by each pilot. There is no specific certification required to engage in formation under Part 91. It is highly recommended, however, that all pilots interested in formation flying seek qualified training.
What is a formation card for, then?
A formation card is required to participate in formation flying at airshows or Aviation Events that are conducted under a Certificate of Waiver (CoW, or "waivered airspace").
How is a formation card obtained?
Once an FFI Flight Lead observes that a candidate pilot has obtained sufficient training and experience flying to FFI standards, he or she may issue a recommendation for a checkride, and then arrange for an evaluation with an FFI Check Pilot.This evaluation includes a knowledge assessment of airshow regulations, operations and procedures, and a rigorous 4-ship formation checkride flight. If the candidate is successful in all aspects of the evaluation, the Check Pilot submits supporting documentation to FFI, and an appropriate formation credential is then issed to the candidate pilot.
How long has FFI been in existence?
FFI was founded in April 1999 by Stu "Falcon" McCurdy to meet the Experimental aircraft community's desire to participate in airshow formation flying. Since then, hundreds of pilots have earned airshow formation credentials under the FFI program.
What's the difference between FFI and FAST?
FFI and FAST are both Recognized Industry Organizations accredited by the FAA to evaluate pilots seeking Industry credentials to fly in formation at airshows or Aviation Events that operate under a Certificate of Waiver. FAST signatories focus primarily on warbird aircraft. Organizations or groups training to FFI standards are primarily focused on non-warbird, general aviation aircraft, but may support training for warbird aircraft with compatible performance characteristics.
Are FFI and FAST cards equivalent?
The FAA and Transport Canada recognize FFI and FAST cards as valid credentials authorizing pilots to fly formation at airshows or Aviation Events that operate under a Certificate of Waiver. FFI and FAST maintain procedures which are interoperable, and each formally recognizes the other with reciprocity of privilege. As always, the Flight Lead always has final jurisdiction in regard to the makeup of his or her flight.