Is this the Best AGP Flyover Ever?
If you need to know anything about the team behind The Race Toque, this is it: we appreciate fast cars and all thing flying in the sky.
Need more? Here’s a story of our trip in a Black Hawk.
How about the time the Gold Coast Indy Jumbo Jet nearly shunted?
What about this history lesson on a classic airfield race track?
And then there is the yarn about the WW2 aircraft engine that has been reborn for racing in Australia.
Now that that is sorted, here is the author’s hot take: the 2010 Australian Grand Prix had one of the best flyovers of all time, depicted above and below.
On a moist Sunday afternoon by the Albert Park Lake, there was the standard big bird flyover from GP partner Qantas.
Low and slow passes by 747s are pretty cool, but Airbus A380s are just next level, and frankly, something we are never likely to see again.
What made this display peerless for plane nerds, was the fact that six Pilatus PC-9s from the RAAF Roulettes were flying in formation on the wings of the mighty Airbus.
Jenson Button won the race or something… but who remembers that?
Without a doubt, one of the highlights of being trackside every year at Bathurst is witnessing first-hand the antics of the television chopper, either skimming the top of the Mountain, or playing chicken with the scenery down Conrod.
The visuals this crew churn out are incredible…
Thunderbirds are GO!
We have utilised imagery from the US Air Force’s stunt team previously, but it is worth expanding on here.
While the RAAF have a fleet of Pilatus training turbo-props for their Roulettes fleet, The Thunderbirds are comprised of big-boy F-16 Fighting Falcons.
Unlike the classic Adelaide 500 jet flyover, where the jet blasts overhead from nowhere with precision timing at the end of the National Anthem, shocking the crowd, the Thunderbirds were somewhat different.
No doubt their entry was timed to the millisecond, but at the 2018 Daytona 500, their approach from the southeast was in plain sight to every single of the 150,000 punters standing in the stadium.
It’s not uncommon for US race tracks to be located nearby operational airports, with Daytona International Speedway situated adjacent to Daytona Beach International Airport.
It’s a proper airport too, with three runways, the longest at 3,200m (enough to land an A380 or a 747), six domestic gates and an international terminal.
It is serviced by American Airlines, Delta, Canadian holiday experts Sunwing and American Eagle, while on race weekend, much of the apron space is filled with the various specialist charters that service NASCAR, many owned by teams or drivers.
Elsewhere in Florida is another motorsport venue with a significant aviation feel: Sebring International Raceway sits alongside fabled race tracks such as Silverstone for having developed from WW2 airfield roots.
Built initially as Hendricks Field in 1940, it hosted the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress, with its post-war operation as a civilian airfield kicking off in 1946.
Motorsport first appeared in 1950, utilising a closed runway, a ramp section, as well as portions of the former road network of the military base.
The famed 12 Hour sportscar race had its inaugural running in 1952, before hosting the Formula 1 World Championship once in 1959.
The track configuration has chopped and changed over the years, initially, it was a 17 turn, 8.3km track, shortened to 7.8km in 1983, 6.6km in 1987, 18 turn 5.7km in 1991, before arriving at its 17 turn 6.0km current layout in 1999.
The change in ’83 allowed for the concurrent operation of the race track and a runway, while the ’87 alteration opened up the second runway for permanent aviation use.
Today, the airfield is recognised as a general aviation facility for private and commercial planes, with twin 1.5km long runways.
A RAAF EA-18G Growler. 1,018km/h. 75m above the deck. Between the buildings.
Photographing it from above.
The Sunday from the 2018 Gold Coast 600 peaked at this moment. Let’s not talk about the race…
Here’s some additional RAAF action from QR and Newcastle.