Acro Camp Sneak Peek 02 – Formation

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On the third day of filming for Acro Camp, Don Weaver and Barry Sutton decided to do a formation flight out in the practice area. They gathered the Pitts and Paul, and the Super Decathlon and Lynda, respectively, and briefed the sortie at Pontiac. The Super D departed first and the Pitts followed shortly thereafter.
This sequence captures the join-up and two passes.

Editing is coming along well. Believe it or not, I think that I’m going to be able to complete the whole thing with nothing more than a Mac Book Pro and an array of outboard hard drives. The ultimate shoestring movie from beginning to end.
But still a beautiful movie! Just look at some of the near-golden-hour lighting in this sequence!

This sequence was a lot of fun to edit. I synched up all of the cameras and audio so that you get to hear all of the people in each of the aircraft all simultaneously, including both the radio transmissions and the intra-cockpit communications.
Everybody has his or her fears. Paul Berliner, the high-time airline driver, was fine with all of the acro, but was not at all comfortable with formation flight. He was a trooper and agreed to do the flight. And he stuck it out all the way through both passes. But I’d be lying if I said that I thought that he enjoyed it.
That’s a great deal of what Acro Camp is about. Confronting areas of discomfort. And exploring one’s envelope, whether mentally, physically, or otherwise.
Side note: Formation flight, like aerobatics, is not for the untrained or unfamiliar. Both Don and Barry have prior formation experience and they were on the controls of the respective aircraft during the entire formation sequence. And, although the footage looks in places as though the aircraft are pretty close, that’s an effect of the lenses and the aircraft kept a healthy buffer between them. Especially, you’ll notice, where Don rolled inverted.
Do try this at home. You’ll be a better, safer, more competent pilot. It might even safe your life someday. But do it with an experienced instructor in a capable aircraft and in compliance with the regs. And ease into it. You don’t have to be ready to fly wing for the Thunderbirds after your first flight.
The movie is on track for release later this summer, so stay tuned. More information about post-production and release coming soon. Stay subscribed to Airspeed and check out the Acro Camp website at

About Steve Tupper

Stephen Force is the superhero alter ego of mild-mannered tech and aviation lawyer, commercial pilot (glider, with private privileges in ASEL, ASES, AMEL, IA, and DC-3 (SIC) type-rated), and Civil Air Patrol lieutenant colonel Steve Tupper. Steve writes, records, and brings you the inside story about everything that really matters in aviation. He's flown with the USAF Thunderbirds, he's and airshow performer and air boss, and he's one of only five pilots ever to earn a FAST card in the glider category. Follow Steve's ongoing quest to do all that is cool in aviation at or on Twitter as @StephenForce.

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