The Diamond Pass in Review (PIR, a.k.a. the "Purr").
In this screenshot (from VFAT 2009), the wingmen are seen from a ground observer at show center.
In this screenshot (same frame), the wingmen are seen from above and you can see some of the following (read below):
- (Leader) has to set the correct bank angle and altitude (i.e. target G is very important as it correlates to bank angle in level flight). In other words the parameters and "line" are extremely important or everyone will appear OOPs (out of position).
- (Left wingman) has to fly deeper and further inboard towards the Leader (placing his canopy angled off the bottom of the Leader's missile rail).
- (Right wingman) has to fly higher (less stack) and slightly closer towards the Leader (placing the Leader's missile rail on the wing strake below the flag panel).
- (Slot) has to fly a deep and right offset, but more importantly also has to move his position throughout the entire pass. He starts underneath the Right wingman's missile rail and slowly moves to slightly right of the Leader's longitudinal axis by the end of the pass (crossing show center his canopy is roughly in line with the Leader's blue stripe/RWR antenna). This technique means that his longitudinal axis will always be in line with the Leader's longitudinal axis as seen from the crowd, regardless of when throughout the pass it is observed. (Similar techniques exists for the Slot pilot in other maneuvers as well, and demand a great deal of attention to detail).
Hopefully, you'll appreciate some of the challenges in each maneuver that may not be apparent at a glance to the observer next time you watch an air show from show center, but the pilots always try to cater to the crowd.