March 2001 Issue

Follow the Leader

Flying in a group can be fun, but it can also start a string of events that lead to tragedy

A balmy summer day. A low-and-slow taildragger. Some would say there is no better way to wind up a weekend fly-in than a leisurely trip back home, accompanied by a few friends in their nearly identical airplanes.

Flying with friends has its share of joys. The camaraderie is great when droning along. There’s always a friendly face – and someone to have lunch with – during fuel stops. And pooling experience gives some of the advantages of a multi-pilot cockpit, even if those multiple pilots are in different cockpits.

But there are also some dangers, as well. The temptation to fly in formation, even loosely, cannot be ignored. Peer pressure may lead you into weather conditions that make...

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