LAUGHLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- Laughlin graced the skies over Corpus Christi Texas with one of the most unique formations that can be flown. Laughlin pilots had the honor to represent the base and Air Force at the Wings Over South Texas air show. The Formation flown is known as a dissimilar formation.
“Dissimilar formation is any formation that consists of two or more different types of aircraft. For Laughlin, we used to fly a 3-ship dissimilar formation for graduation flybys,” said Maj Martin Garrett, 86th Flying Training Squadron chief pilot. “These flights would consist of one T-1, one T-6, and one T-38. We added an additional 3 aircraft for our 6-ship dissimilar formation for more of a wow factor.”
“This is the first time that Laughlin has flown a 6-ship formation in an air show,” Garrett said. “The most recent Laughlin air show had a 3-ship dissimilar formation flight.”
The pilots involved in this event had to practice and make sure they knew exactly what they were doing when it came to flying a complex formation such as this one.
“Due to the need to upgrade multiple individuals from each airframe, we flew three practice sorties for this event,” said Garrett. “Each formation flight was roughly 30-45 minutes long, and each flight also had a briefing the morning prior to the flight.”
The pilots involved were very proud to represent Laughlin and the Air Force as well as honored to be given this opportunity to be a part of such an historic flight.
“It felt really great to do this formation to represent both Team XL and AETC. You rarely get to see Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training aircraft flying in an airshow, so the general population really doesn't know what we do here, Garret remarked. “They always see the more well-known aircraft during airshows, but it was great to be able to show the public what we do on a daily basis. Hopefully we can continue to fly these events to bring awareness to the public of our mission and our aircraft.”
Every pilot involved felt the same to be a part of the team such as 1Lt. Tylan Jones.
"Getting to represent the 47th Flying Training Wing, as well as the 87th Red Bulls and FAIP Mafia, was an amazing opportunity,” said 1Lt. Tylan Jones 87th Flying Training Squadron instructor pilot. “The AETC training aircraft in the same air show platform as the Navy Blue Angels, F-35C Demo Team, and F-16 Viper Demo Team will hopefully inspire future officers and aviators to join the World's Greatest Air Force."
The performance took a lot of time, planning, and coordination. The hard work and time spent really paid- off, giving air show attendees a historic show and amazing sight as the formation flew overhead.
“The expertise and professionalism displayed by each pilot made this formation a success, Garret reclaimed. “It was definitely a complex formation, but our training ensured we were able to do this safely and efficiently.”