Pity ANN's 'poor' Tom Patton... he has to cover all manner of exciting aero-news, meet all kinds of aero-folks and every now and then, have one hell of an aero-adventure.
And this year, Sebring's LSA event provided yet another such opportunity. Tom was assigned to fly with Mike "Kahuna" Stewart, the flight lead and founder of Team Aerodynamix. "Kahuna" finished his RV-Super 8 in 2006. Prior to that airplane, he flew an RV-6. Stewart has over 4,000 hours in his logbook, is an FFI (Formation Flying Incorporated) check pilot and has served as Chief Instructor for hundreds of formation student pilots around the country, according to the Team Aerodynamix website.
Tom tells us that, "It was a beautiful morning to be in the air, and the team went through many of the maneuvers they perform during shows around the country. Noticing a triangle drawn on the Plexiglas of the canopy of Stewart's airplane, I assumed that it was how he kept his airplane aligned during formation flight.
But he told me that the triangle was for aerobatics, and then shifted into instructor mode. He said in the kind of formation flying we were doing, he focused on a couple of specific spots on the airplane next to him, and said 'you fly through the spot.'"
"Flying in the "stinger" position, I got a bit more than some of the others in the group. Pulling no more than a couple of Gs over the course of the 15 minute flight, 'Kahuna' gave me some outstanding camera angles of the other airplanes in the formation. 'The good news is, you're not scaring me,' I said after a couple of steep turns. 'Then I'm obviously not trying hard enough," he retorted, but kept the flying safe and sane.'"
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