Tag Archives: RAAF

Here’s Why Calling The Footage of a RAAF Boeing C-17 Flying Low Over Brisbane a “9/11 Stunt” is Nonsense

A Royal Australian Air Force C-17 Globemaster III took part in the traditional Brisbane Riverfire Festival. Clips of the airlifter flying between the buildings inundated the social networks. And someone labelled the display as an unnecessary “9/11 stunt”. Here’s why that’s pure nonsense.

Held each year at the end of September, Riverfire is the big finale to Brisbane Festival, Queensland’s three week arts and cultural festival in Brisbane, Australia. The event is also quite famous for the flypasts and aerial displays of Royal Australian Air Force aircraft: almost all the aviation lovers will probably remember the iconic RAAF F-111 AArdvaark’s “dump and burn“. Performed from 2006 to 2010 at night, the maneuver saw the aircraft dump fuel through a nozzle positioned between the two engines and ignite it with afterburner as shown in the video below.

With the retirement of the F-111 at the end of 2010, the RAAF had to find something else to thrill the crowds in the lead up to the evening fireworks display.

While the Australian F/A-18 Hornet have been the guest stars of the last years flypasts, in 2018, along with the display of the Roulettes Aerobatic team and the flypast of the EA-18G Growler (that made its Riverfire debut last year), the RAAF took part in the Riverfire Festival with a C-17A Globemaster. And this time, the airlifter, that had already taken part to the show in 2017 with a pretty high flypast, literally “stole the stage” performing its flypast at a much lower altitude resulting in the tons of videos you have probably already found online.

Here’s one of those I like the most:

If the majority of those who have watched the flypast, either in person or on the Internet, found it “cool”, many others have been scared by the sight of a big aircraft zipping between the skyscrapers, according to the mainstream media. Some have called the flypast “9/11 stuff” and 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 this criticism seems to be a little exaggerated. The Riverfire Festival is something planned months ahead. Almost everyone in Brisbane knows about the flypasts and the public is informed in advance as to when the displays are taking place and what are the best viewing points in town.

Here’s what the RAAF posted on their website to notify about the rehearsals on Thursday Sept. 27: “The aircraft will depart RAAF Amberley and reach the Brisbane CBD flying as low as 100 metres at approximately 300 km/hr. The aircraft will fly along the Brisbane River from the William Jolly Bridge to the Riverside Expressway where it will climb and do a loop over South Brisbane and come back to Kangaroo Point to fly along the Brisbane River down to the Storey Bridge. The aircraft will then make a second pass of the same flight path.”

Although the videos may not show that clearly, there was a lot of clearance between the C-17 and the surrounding buildings, giving the big but highly maneuverable Globemaster several “evasion” routes if needed to cope with some kind of in-flight issue. Moreover, as just said, despite its size, the aircraft is pretty agile and aircrews are trained to maneuver aggressively at low altitude as shown, for example, by the C-17s that visit the famous Star Wars Canyon in the U.S. or Mach Loop in the UK. For sure, you don’t happen to see a large military transport aircraft flying outside your window too often and this may be somehow worrisome. Unless it’s the end of September and you live or work in Brisbane: in this case you should be used to military jets and cargo aircraft performing flypasts over downtown.

That said, you may easily understand why comparing a low-risk, very-well-rehearsed display, performed by experienced and professional aircrews (who had also practiced the flypast in the simulator before rehearsing it in flight), flying a modern airlifter at low altitude and medium speed, in accordance with a widely advertised plan, to the 9/11-type of flying is pure sensationalist nonsense.

Top image: screenshot from Kirk Millar video via Airlive.net.

Australian EA-18G Growler Jet Damaged in Incident at Nellis Air Force Base

Aircraft Photographed with Smoke from End of Runway. Crew Reported as Uninjured.

A Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) EA-18G Growler electronic warfare aircraft is being reported as damaged in an incident that occurred at 10:45 AM local time on Jan. 27 at Nellis AFB, outside Las Vegas, Nevada, according to a statement issued by Nellis AFB and quoted in the Sydney Morning Herald.

The aircraft, one of a contingent of four Australian EF-18G Growlers at Nellis AFB for the Red Flag 18-1 air combat exercise, is part of the 340-person contingent of the Royal Australian Air Force participating in this year’s first Red Flag Exercise.

Red Flag is a large-scale, highly realistic air combat exercise originating from Nellis AFB and taking place over the large air combat training ranges that surround the area.

Early reports in both Australian and U.S. media say the aircraft is from the RAAF No. 6 Squadron who are participating in Red Flag now. There are also reports that the Australian EF-18Gs are “operating alongside US Navy EA-18Gs” at Nellis as indicated in a January 2018 article on Combat Aircraft magazine’s website.

Australian journalist Elena McIntyre of Ten News Sydney reported in a tweet that an “RAAF Growler apparently experienced a critical engine failure during takeoff at Nellis AFB, before skidding off the runway. Pilot and ground crew are safe.”

According to an article in Australia’s Air Force magazine, the first RAAF EA-18G Growler instructor pilot began flying the electronic warfare aircraft in the U.S. at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island in the United States in November 2013. Production of the first of 12 RAAF EA-18G Growlers began in 2015. Before that, RAAF flight crews trained on the U.S. EA-18Gs with the U.S. Navy’s Electronic Attack Squadron 129, “The Vikings”, permanently stationed at NAS Whidbey Island, in Washington state.

Photos from the accident that appeared on Twitter show the aircraft sitting upright, intact, with the canopy open and the leading-edge slats and arrestor hook down. There appears to be discoloration on the left vertical stabilizer from dark smoke also seen in photos that appeared on Twitter.

RAAF photos distributed prior to the incident show the four aircraft at Nellis AFB, with one of them painted in a special color scheme with a bright blue and yellow tail and upper fuselage. Based on the photos shown on Twitter the aircraft involved in the incident appears to be one of the other three aircraft without the special color scheme.

EA-18G Growlers from Number 6 Squadron arrive at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, for Exercise Red Flag 18-1. *** Local Caption *** The Royal Australian Air Force has deployed a contingent of approximately 340 personnel to Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada for Exercise Red Flag 18-1, taking place from 29 January to 16 February 2018.
Established in 1980 by the United States Air Force, Exercise Red Flag centres on the world’s most complex reconstruction of a modern battlespace and is recognised as one of the world’s premier air combat exercises. The exercise involves participants from the United States Navy as well as the United Kingdom.
For 2018, an AP-3C Orion, E-7A Wedgetail and a Control and Reporting Centre have been deployed on the complex, multi-nation exercise. Four EA-18G Growler aircraft from Number 6 Squadron have also been deployed for the first time on an international exercise, since being transferred to the Royal Australian Air Force in January 2017.
Training alongside allied nations is critical to the success of Air Force units on real world operations; helping develop further familiarity with foreign terminology, methods and platforms.

The RAAF received their first EA-18G Growlers in 2017. The aircraft are to be operated from the Australian RAAF Base Amberley about 50 km (31 miles) southwest of Brisbane.

So far there has been no official report about the status of the Red Flag 18-1 flight operations following the incident, even though no much disruption is expected.

Epic selfie catches moment EA-18G Growler pilot fires an AGM-88 HARM missile

Flight Lieutenant Todd ‘Woody’ Woodford, an Australian officer assigned to VAQ-135, launches an AGM-88 HARM All-Up-Round from a Growler.

The above selfie was taken by a Royal Australian Air Force pilot, FLTLT Todd Woodford, assigned to VAQ-135, a U.S. Navy Squadron that operates the EA-18G Growler, during a live fire exercise off the coast of Pt. Mugu, CA.

The Boeing EA-18G Growler is an Electronic Warfare/Attack variant of the two-seat F/A-18F Super Hornet that replaced the EA-6B Prowlers in U.S. Navy service.

Along with actively jamming enemy communications, the Growler, operating in a networked environment along with other two aircraft of the same type can use its EW pods to geo-locate a signal source and target it from stand-off distance with air-to-surface missiles.

According to the Tailhook Association, Woody, leading a division of three EA-18G aircraft during the live-fire portion of the US Navy’s graduate electronic warfare tactics course, HAVOC, became the first Aussie pilot to launch a HARM missile.

The RAAF officer is one of six Australian aircrew serving in US Navy expeditionary EA-18G squadrons as part of a bilateral Personnel Exchange Program, and is the first international partner to complete the HAVOC course. Woody will rejoin the VAQ-135 Black Ravens following HAVOC for his second deployment to the U.S. Pacific Command area in the EA-18G this fall.

In 2013, Australia committed to purchasing 12 EA-18G, 30+ ALQ-99 Tactical Jamming Pods, associated AEA equipment, and AGM-88 HARM and AARGM weapons. The integration of RAAF aircrew into US Navy operational squadrons has been on-going since the fall of 2014. Integrating, training and developing deployed experience in the EA-18G is a critical component to the Australia-US strategy for partnership in Airborne Electronic Attack.

Australia will take delivery of their first EA-18G at NAS Whidbey Island, WA in January 2017.

Photo credit: FLTLT Tood Woodford, VAQ-135. A big thank you to the Tailhook Association for allowing us to post this fantastic shot along with the caption.

All the aircraft types involved in the MH370 air search in one photo

Search by air for the missing Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 has been called off. Most (if not all) the aircraft tupes that undertook visual search from Australia, were grouped for a farewell picture.

Search for any sign of the missing MH370 flight in Southern Indian Ocean has been called off, since it is extremely unlikely that any debris will be found on the ocean’s surface little less than 2 months since the Boeing 777 from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing mysteriously disappeared from radars.

52 days into the search, anything would have sunk and for this reason the authorities have decided to focus on underwater search.

But before patrol and support aircraft and crews from Australia, New Zealand, China, South Korea, Japan, Malaysia and U.S. left Perth, RAAF Pearce, and RAAF Learmonth, planes from each participating nation were grouped for one last farewell photo.

Image credit: RAAF

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Royal Australian Air Force bids farewell to the C-130H with spectacular flypasts across the Red Continent

Nov. 19 saw the Royal Australian Air Force celebrate 34 years service of the Lockheed C-130H Hercules with a 2-ship retirement flight over Sydney.

Departing RAAF Base Richmond the two aircraft, one with a special yellow sunset tail paint scheme, formed a loose formation and flew along Sydney’s southern beaches at a reported altitude of 150 metres.

Separated by 600 meters, the two Herkys then orbited the Sydney harbour area for 20 minutes before departing to the North and the town of Barrenjoey, where they headed west to the Blue Mountains before returning to base.

Image credit: Royal Australian Air Force and Commonwealth of Australia

Another flypast was conducted on Nov. 23 when a C-130H  flew over Canberra approaching Mt Ainslie from the north/north-east before flying over the Australian War Memorial and Anzac Parade at 175 meters altitude. It then overflew the Parliament House at 300 meters before descending and departing via Anzac Parade and Australian War Memorial.

Another C-130H visited regional areas with a touch-and-go and overflight of the runways at Lake Cargelligo, Gilgandra, Tamworth at 4.30pm and Walcha.

The RAAF will retire the type for good on Nov. 30 and will bring down the curtain on a service record that has lasted since 1978 and has seen the type in hot spots all over the world.

The ABC Sydney website quoted former Hercules pilot Air Vice Marshall (Ret.) Greg Evans who said: “They’re being retired mainly because it’s a smart economic decision, they’re 34 years old and aircraft have a definite economic life.. but we’re living in fairly constrained economic times inside Defence at the moment.”

Richard Clements for TheAviationist.com

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