The following short article was composed and submitted to be part of a magazine release that in the end never came out. It was written a bit over a year ago and is in “we” form. It contains not only information specifically about the Virtual Patrouille Suisse, but all virtual demo teams around.
Only two meters from aircraft to aircraft, flying between 400 and 850 km/h and pulling up to 6G’s in a formation of 6 F-5 Tiger II, the Virtual Patrouille Suisse takes on the virtual skies to join virtual airshow events around the world.
We are a group of enthusiastic flight simulators who represent the virtual replica of the real air demonstration team, the Patrouille Suisse. Twice a week, we meet up and join a multiplayer session in the Digital Combat Simulator, short: DCS, to practice show routines for future virtual airshows events. Founded in 2004, we started with just four members and flew in red and white P-51 Mustangs in the IL2 combat simulator. Over the years, we have grown on members to form up shows with 6 jets and strategic background positions to support the team from behind the scenes. And recently, in 2014, we extended our software inventory with a self-developed F-5 Tiger II 3d model. Unlike the Patrouille Suisse pilots, some of our members are spread around Europe, as for
this year, from the Suisse, France and Germany. Like the real team, we only accept applicants with the right profile to avoid conflicts among all members. Instead, flight experience doesn’t play a big role since virtual formation flying is a unique experience in the flight simulator community.
Last year, in 2014, we celebrated our 10th year of existing and joined one of the biggest virtual airshow events in the year, the Virtual Festival of Aerobatic teams. Performing among 42 other demonstrators, such as the Virtual Blue Angels from America and the Frecce Tricolory from Italy, on this 3 day lasting event, we were able to put on a great ‘Schönwetter Programm(great weather program)’. Taking the next step this year, we start off by flying the next virtual airshow event in February, in the Suisse valleys surrounded by mountains what adds extra difficulty to perform a flawless show. More drastic power changes, tighter turning while flying in a constant climb or dive are needed to successfully adapt to the geography conditions to maintain a tight and solid formation.
Using ‘Teamspeak’ as our main communication tool while flying, the leader steers the other 5 wingmen through the virtual airspace with special callouts to synchronize all jets into one moving unit. Every little crucial change in pull or throttle must be reported to prevent the other aircraft from leaving their designated positions. Only with trust and experience in the leading of number 1, a flawless and smooth formation can be guaranteed.
Like the real, our shows start off with various formations like the Delta, Eiger and Melkstuhl. Throughout the display, we split into two groups. One is the diamond formation, consisting of four aircrafts, number 1 to 4, that perform various maneuvers in different formations. The other group, aircraft number 5 and 6 form the solos which show the F-5 Tiger II on the edge of maneuverability. Number 5 and 6 also fly a couple of maneuvers where they work as one to demonstrate high precision flying.
Real world recognition is present as we have contact to the real team pilots who give us key leading guidance. Inside the team we share a passion for airshows and aviation. We meet up commonly to spectate airshows like in the previous ‘AIR14’, held in Payerne, Suisse.