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    interpretation 23 interpretation 26

    Control formation flights as a single aircraft. Separation responsibility between aircraft within the formation rests with the flight leader and the pilots of the other aircraft in the flight. This includes transition periods when aircraft within the formation are maneuvering to attain separation from each other to effect individual control during join−up and breakaway.

    • P/CG Term - Formation Flight
    • FAA Order JO 7610.4, Chapter 12, Section 11. Formation Flight ICAO Annex 2, 3.1.8 Formation Flights
    1. Support formation flight join−up for two aircraft when all of the following occur:
      1. Requested by any participating pilot.
      2. All participating pilots concur.
      3. Either of the participating pilots reports the other/s in sight.
      • EXAMPLE
      • “ROOK01 has EAGLE03 in sight, request formation join−up with EAGLE03 at flight level two zero zero. EAGLE03 will be the lead.”
      • “EAGLE03 verify requesting flight join−up with ROOK01.”
      • If affirmative:
      • “ROOK01 climb and maintain flight level two zero zero. Report (advise) when formation join−up is complete.”
    2. If multiple single aircraft request to join−up, multiple formations are joining as one, or aircraft are joining an established formation, obtain confirmation of required items listed in subparagraph 2−1−13a, from the lead aircraft.
    3. After join−up, aircraft beacon code assignment will be determined by formation type.
      1. For a standard formation only the aircraft acting as the lead will squawk an ATC assigned beacon code. Ensure all other aircraft squawk standby.
      2. For a nonstandard formation, each aircraft should squawk an ATC assigned beacon code. Controller discretion allows aircraft in a nonstandard formation to squawk standby if operationally advantageous.
        • REFERENCE
        • FAA Order JO 7610.4, Paragraph 12−11−6, Nonstandard Formation Tactics, subparagraph b3
      • EXAMPLE
      • “N123JP squawk standby.”
      • Or
      • “N123SP have N123JP squawk standby.”
    4. When formation break−up is requested, issue control instructions and/or clearances which will result in approved separation through the lead or directly to the requesting aircraft in the formation.
      • EXAMPLE
      • “N5871S requesting flight break−up with N731K. N731K is changing destination to PHL.”
      • “N731K squawk 5432, turn right, fly heading zero−seven−zero.
      • “Center, BAMA21. BAMA23 is requesting to RTB.”
        “BAMA21 have BAMA23 squawk 5544, descend and maintain flight level one−niner−zero and change to my frequency.”
      • “Center, BAMA21. BAMA23 is requesting to RTB.”
        “BAMA23 squawk 5544. BAMA23 Radar contact (position if required). Cleared to SSC via direct. Descend and maintain flight level one−niner−zero.”
    5. Military and civil formation flights in RVSM airspace.
      1. Utilize RVSM separation standards for a formation flight, which consists of all RVSM approved aircraft.
      2. Utilize non-RVSM separation standards for a formation flight above FL 290, which does not consist of all RVSM approved aircraft.
      3. If aircraft are requesting to form a formation flight to FL 290 or above, the controller who issues the clearance creating the formation flight is responsible for ensuring that the proper equipment suffix is entered for the lead aircraft.
      4. If the flight departs as a formation, and is requesting FL 290 or above, the first center sector must ensure that the proper equipment suffix is entered.
      5. If the formation flight is below FL 290 and later requests FL 290 or above, the controller receiving the RVSM altitude request must ensure the proper equipment suffix is entered.
      6. Upon break-up of the formation flight, the controller initiating the break-up must ensure that all aircraft or flights are assigned their proper equipment suffix.