o those unfamiliar with formation flying, flight within a wingspan’s distance of another airplane looks eerily similar to an imminent collision. And collisions in airplanes generally don’t end well. But, in some cases, formation flying actually presents a lower risk than flying alone. And besides that, it is some of the most fun and rewarding flying a pilot will ever experience. Like all flying, formation flight was invented by birds. During a bird migration, these long-distance travelers generally form an organized pattern; I assume they do so for support and to protect each other from potential enemies, just as military pilots who fly in formation do. In studies of what motivates people to keep flying once they get their private pilot certificates, one of the biggest factors is a sense of community. There is no question that the bonds between pilots who participate in formation flying are very strong. It’s a great source of motivation for continuous improvement, and it’s an enjoyable way to hone your skills.