RAAF C-17 maneuvering at low level over Brisbane is one of the highlights of the annual Brisbane Riverfire Festival.
On Sept. 23, 2021, a Boeing C-17A Globemaster III of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), radio callsign “Stallion 63” flew a practice run for the annual Riverfire Festival due to take place on Saturday Sept. 25. Operating out of its homebase at RAAF Base Amberley, the aircraft, serial A41-206, performed a number of low passes along the Brisbane River and through the central business district at 300ft AGL.
Photographer James Woodrow was there and took the amazing photographs of the C-17, wearing special 100th RAAF Anniversary markings, you can find in this post.
Riverfire Festival is the big finale to the Brisbane Festival, Queensland’s three week arts and cultural festival held each year at the end of September in eastern Australia. From an aviation point of view, the event is quite famous for the flypasts and aerial displays of RAAF aircraft, including the Australian F/A-18 Hornet and EA-18G Growler and the Roulettes Aerobatic team. Most aviation lovers will probably remember the iconic RAAF F-111 AArdvaark’s “dump and burn“ passes, performed at night, from 2006 to 2010.
Anyway, since 2017, the RAAF C-17A maneuvering over Brisbane has become one of the highlights of the Brisbane Riverfire Festival.
As already reported here at The Aviationist, in 2018, the C-17 literally “stole the stage” performing its flypast over downtown Brisbane and resulting in tons of videos that were posted online. As you may remember, while the majority of those who watched the flypast, either in person or on the Internet, found it “cool”, some others were scared by the sight of a big aircraft zipping between the skyscrapers. Some media called the flypast “9/11 stuff” and said people were “terrified” by the “unnecessarily stupid and dangerous stunt” as the display was defined by those who slammed it on the social media. However, all the criticism seemed way too exaggerated, as I commented in a post published here back then.
Dealing with the RAAF Globemaster fleet, four C-17As were introduced between December 2006 and March 2008, with another four acquired in 2011, 2012, and 2015. The C-17A provides the Australian Defence Force with a strategic airlift capability, able to carry large items of equipment and cargo over long distances and, as often happens with such “force multipliers” their support is, if not in overbooking, in very high demand.
H/T to our friend Rich Cooper for the heads-up and to James Woodrow for sending us his stunning shots!
David Cenciotti is a freelance journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written four books.