My creds: I began the CVW-171 in the spring of 2006, with only 5 members. Over the years, our aircraft have changed, and our members have changed as well, but the CVW-171 is now considered the best and largest squadron on YSFHQ (and I know it's debatable, but come on.)
Anyhow, without further ado, let me walk you guys through the creation of a new squadron, and hopefully this will inspire people to start and grow their own teams.
1) Your squad is your family on YS.
There are too many impersonal squadrons - squadrons that start just for the name sake. You CANNOT treat a squad like a title - your squad is a unit, a family. It is your squad, and it is your team - make sure that you gain relations to most if not all of your squad members, and your squadron WILL stand the test of time. If a squadron disbands, it's because of squabbling - and a squadron will only squabble if their roots are weak and the foundations are lacking. Roots can be tied and strengthened through the bonds of friendship. Corny, I know. But I can personally say that if anyone touches Seraphim in real life, me and a few other 171st members are 100% willing to travel a few states just to kick someones butt.
2) Communication is key.
The key to building relations is through communication, and that's what the 171st does. Constantly. Our Teamspeak server is up anytime our server is up, and the 171st has a habit of loitering on TS, just doing their own things with the mics on. It's almost like an office - where you and your co workers are all doing your own thing but can talk to another co worker at a moments notice. Or like studying with friends. Not only is it pleasant, but if crap does down on a server, you can call your boys on a moment's notice. A fully functional Teamspeak is imperative for squad relations, and if that's not possible, MSN is a good alternative.
3) Don't talk crap unless you can back it up.
Squad members can easily spit game, but more often than not they can't back up the crap they spit with the skills for the kills. Because of this, a lot of members can be lost to a rival squad - especially if that rival squad does indeed have the skill to back up what they say. Most of our current good members are recruits from other squads, and a lot of former members were also once members of other squads. The reason is simply because we kicked butt, and they knew it well enough to defect. Many of these squads are now dormant or dead because they decided to spit game and not back it up.
If anything, maintain good relations with most squadrons, and when you're ready, establish a friendly rivalry with another squadron - that'll get stuff pumped up.
WHAT YOU SHOULD HAVE:
- At least 2 other members who you know will be completely dedicated to the squad in the beginning stages of formation
- A general idea of what type of squad you are trying to become
- A relatively solid reputation in the YSFlight community
- Time, and lots of it
Who is the opposite of your personality? Who can you really get along with? Who is the most loyal? That is your choice for XO. The XO should complement you and provide a balance to the squad. He should be your best friend (on YS, anyway) and the first person you turn to when you need assistance or have a tough decision to make. He should be incredibly loyal and willing to do things on his own. Your third in command, as well. Choose wisely - often, a bad XO can cripple an otherwise solid squadron.
2) Decide on a fleet.
To compete with other squadrons, generally, your fleet should not be too out of this world, and the DATs you choose or create should be not too far off from the stock aircraft DATs. This was a huge problem back on YSP1, and many squads were called out for it (the CVW-171 actually formed as a direct result of an argument over aircraft performance). If you don't plan to be competitive, this shouldn't be a problem. But if you are, pick your planes wisely. If another squad calls you out, feel free to run it by Bombcat or me and we'll take a look. Not that we can force you into changing your DAT, but cheat planes are frowned upon and can get your squad a terrible reputation.
3) Prepare a forum, or ask for one on YSFHQ.
We have no solid recommendation for what you do concerning squadron forums, but I'd say now, with the Squadron Dev. Center in place and YSFHQ geared towards helping squads grow, that you ask for a sub forum of your own on YSFHQ, or link to it from the Squadron Headquarters. The reason is because YSFHQ is home to a slew of new players looking for squadrons to join, and when the newbies see your forum on the list of active squads here on HQ, it presents a very good opportunity to recruit straight from the forum itself.
Forum prep is relatively easy. Make sure your squad has a place to just chill (A lounge topic!), as well as a subforum for ideas, and flying tips. Other than that, the floor is open for whatever you want to do with it.
4) Recruit everyone.
I mean everyone. When you're a new squadron, anyone can help, crappy pilots or newbies included. Crappy pilots can become good pilots through solid practice and training, and newbies can become pros in due time. What you really want to do is sift through the garbage - bad members will quickly show their true colors, and drop off or be kicked out - and good members will become even better in time.
What's a good member? A friendly, agreeable, mature person. That is not to say that they need to have hit puberty to be mature (take Mitout for example, he joined really young but is one of our most lovable nuggets), but that they need to be serious, loyal and playing for fun, not to troll or to show off. Look for members with calm attitudes that contribute to the squadron. Keep them. Get rid of the rest.
A good way to recruit is to post in a new member's welcome thread - that will let them know that they're wanted, and you can get many new members that way. Let them know they're eligible to join your squad, and see how it goes from there.
Also, try posting a recruitment topic in the recruitment center. That should help a LOT.
5) Set up a Teamspeak and a server.
Get a free TS host, or repurpose an old computer to become a 24/7 YS server. Not only will that benefit the community as a whole (yay! another server to play on!) but it'll also allow your squad a home and a place to grow. Members can loiter on TS and talk all day. Many 171st moments happen when you least expect it. If you've ever wondered why our squadron seems more like a bunch of rowdy bros than a game squad, it's because we talk regularly. And the server is our stomping ground.
If you can't have your own server, perhaps it's a good idea to ask an existing server owner if you can use their server as your home turf. More often than not they'll say yes.
Once you have these basics in place, maintaining the squad should be simple. Just talk a lot, fly a lot, and share a lot. Once your squadron is solid and you have people that you KNOW you can trust, your squadron will succeed no matter what.