I have written about the Royal Australian Air Force’s low-level flying displays for years, with Brisbane’s Riverfire celebration always being the most jaw-dropping of them all. Even though the iconic F-111 “Pig” is no longer the star of the show, with its amazing “dump and burn” maneuver, RAAF Super Hornets, Growlers, C-17s, and more have stepped in to keep the aerial spectacle part of the event enthralling and unique. I have seen clips showing so many angles of these flybys over the years—with last year offering the most spectacular perspective yet—but I have never seen any of them from the cockpit point of view… Until now.
Television reporter Rob Morrison of 9News rode along for one of the very low and thundering C-17 passes over Brisbane and captured some awesome cockpit footage in the process. It provides a rare peek into how exactly the pilots pull off such a low pass deep in urban terrain.
Click to the right to the second part of Robb’s post to see the Instagram video and make sure you have your sound on!
I know exactly what you are thinking. You are asking yourself if you are going to hear “terrain, terrain…terrain, terrain… obstacle ahead… terrain, terrain” in your sleep tonight!
It turns out that the RAAF posted another video—this one being in 360 style—shot during practice for the event that shows the same flight profile and a bit more:
The C-17 is a very powerful and maneuverable beast for its size, especially down-low in the thick air. You can see how agile it really is in the videos and how fast the power comes on and off during the flyby sequences.
Aside from formal displays, the RAAF C-17 force, which includes eight jets, is really active when it comes to low-level training, just like its American counterpart. Videos of their training flights surface from time to time and they never disappoint. While RAAF tactical jets weave through urban obstacles for their displays throughout the year, Riverfire seems a bit unique when it comes to pushing the big transports very close to skyscrapers. The entire practice of bringing flight displays so close to urban obstacles is very much a RAAF thing. In the United States, such circumstances are far less common.
You have to hand it to the Aussies, they really know how to fly to impress!
Here are some shots from the RAAF of this year’s C-17 display for Riverfire:
And some bonus Super Hornet shots from Riverfire for good measure:
Finally, here is an amazing 360 video shot from the cockpit of an EA-18G Growler that did the flyover last year. The RAAF just posted it on their Youtube page:
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