From the extreme roar of jet engines to the gentle purr of pistons, military and civilian aircraft criss-crossed the sky above one of Queensland’s most iconic beach destinations, Surfers Paradise, for the inaugural Pacific Airshow Gold Coast.
CAPTION: The Royal Australian Air Force aerobatic team, the Roulettes, fly past crowds at the Pacific Airshow Gold Coast. Story by Flight Lieutenant Gerard Reed. Photo by Leading Aircraftwoman Taylor Anderson.
The Airshow featured three days of aerial demonstrations and flypasts from August 18-20.
ADF support included flying displays from Air Force’s F/A-18F Super Hornet and Roulettes aerobatic team and flypasts from the impressive C-17A Globemaster and C-130J Hercules.
On the ground, the ADF encouraged the next generation of aviators with a high tech interactive flight simulator from the Aviation Motivation Program, displays by the Australian Air Force cadets and ADF Careers.
Pacific Airshow originated at Huntington Beach in California, with the Gold Coast event featuring aerial tributes from United States partner forces.
F/A-18F Super Hornet pilot Flight Lieutenant Scott Wood, from 1 Squadron at RAAF Base Amberley, said the Super Hornet handling display demonstrated the manoeuvring capabilities of the Rhino.
CAPTION: The Royal Australian Air Force aerobatic team, the Roulettes, conduct an aerobatic display at Pacific Airshow Gold Coast in Queensland.
“This was the first time we have performed this handling display for the public. We flew fast and low – up to 1100 kilometres per hour, and as low as 50 metres over water, pulling up to 7Gs,” Flight Lieutenant Wood said.
“Participating in this event was very special and quite surreal.
“I remember going to air shows when I was young and watching flying displays. I never thought I’d end up in performing in air shows, especially for the Pacific Airshow in front of friends and family who live locally and being able to show them the F/A-18F Super Hornet and have them cheer me on.”
Air Commodore Micka Gray, Head of Air Shows – Air Force Headquarters, said the Pacific Airshow Gold Coast was a great opportunity to showcase Air Force’s capabilities in the air and also interact with the public on the ground.
“Our Air Force people at the air show were out mixing with the crowd, asking about their experiences, answering their questions about the Air Force and the discussing opportunities in the RAAF and the ADF,” Air Commodore Gray said.
“We spoke with a family who had just emigrated from South Africa for a new life for their 10- and 12-year-old children. They were very keen to find out more about the cadet scheme and all that it offers.”
The Pacific Airshow is new to the Australian circuit, and a different model, being over the beach.
For the ADF, it was an opportunity to engage with people who don’t usually attend air shows.
“Our participation in this event is a way of giving back to the community to thank them for their support to Defence and to encourage people to consider the Defence Force as a career. Not just as aircrew but in the many roles in the ADF,” Air Commodore Gray said.
The three-day program also featured classic aircraft, including the P-51D Mustang, P-40 Kittyhawk and the Focke-Wulf FW190, demonstrating the skills of aviators of former times with a range of civilian aviators who put their machines through remarkable aerobatic displays to the delight of the crowds below.