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ABC News
ABC News

RAAF releases 360 vision of F/A-18F jet skimming Brisbane River during Riverfire rehearsal

The Royal Australian Air Force has released remarkable 360-degree footage filmed from the cockpit of an F/A-18F Super Hornet flying through the Brisbane CBD.

Filmed during a rehearsal for the annual Riverfire spectacular two weeks ago, the footage takes viewers through the city at high speed past office towers and along the Brisbane River.

In the video, viewers can click around to experience the flight in 4K from all sides as if flying the Super Hornet themselves, as the jet cruises vertically along the river and high over the suburbs.

The fighter jets' low-level fly-past is a popular feature of the Riverfire festival each year before the fireworks, with both jets and helicopters making several fast passes down the Brisbane River between South Bank and the CBD.

Starting high above the CBD, the Super Hornet swiftly comes down to the river, skimming over the William Jolly Bridge and Roma Street Parklands and circling back to the city.

Flying low over the river again, the jet circles around The Gabba and returns several more times over the suburbs before the rehearsal concludes.

Reserve Super Hornet Pilot Flight Lieutenant Matthew, whose last name cannot be used for security reasons, told ABC Brisbane ahead of Riverfire that pilots trained for weeks just for the single flyover. 

He said the adrenaline rush of the sheer speed had to be accounted for by each pilot when preparing for the flight, with the Super Hornets reaching speeds of 900 kilometres per hour during the Riverfire display.

"You have got to make sure you know where all the obstacles are and avoid them," he said.

"There is also that natural adrenaline rush that you feel when you're flying that close to buildings." 

It was the first time the Super Hornets have participated in Riverfire in three years, after COVID lockdowns cancelled the 2020 Riverfire festival.

In 2021, a C-17A Globemaster III performed the CBD fly-through to celebrate RAAF's 100th year.

The Air Force has 24 F/A-18F Super Hornets, all based at the Amberley RAAF Base, west of Ipswich.

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