How Pilots prepare for an Airshow Flyby in a Military C-17 Globemaster

Brisbane Australia Airshow

Airshows are always exciting to watch for all of us, young and old. How pilots prepare for an airshow is all about safety. But, did you know how much time pilots spend on planning just one single airshow?

Staff Sgt. John Eller conducts a pre-flight check (walk-around) on his C-17 Globemaster III Jan. 3 prior to taking off from Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii for a local area training mission. Sgt. Eller is a loadmaster from the 535th Airlift Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Shane A. Cuomo).

Flight safety at the highest level

Hours and days are spent preparing for a flyby in a big transport plane like the C-17. Everyone present in the airplane as well as the spectators on the ground (you) need to remain safe during the entire show.

Airshow flybys incorporate the need for tedious planning to stay clear of all ground obstacles, buildings, structures and anything else the airplane needs to stay clear of at all times.

Did you know? Even the pilots of the airline flights you take are spending a great deal of tedious time preparing for every single one of your flights.

Every detail of the planning phase has been organized, following a checklist-like pattern, to ensure every aspect of your flight has been covered and briefed.

The process of preflight preparation and briefing ensures safety. The procedures for an airline pilot’s preparations for a safe flight is very similar to that of military pilots. However, a civilian airline pilot does not incorporate tactical and low to the ground-type flying planning, of course.

how pilots prepare for an airshow, C-17 Globemaster take off.
AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy — A C-17 Globemaster III takes off from here bound for McChord Air Force Base, Wash., after transiting through Italy. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Mitch Fuqua).

How do Air Force pilots prepare for an airshow in a C17 Globemaster?

Here is a video produced by the Royal Australian Air Force on what goes into the planning of one of their airshow exhibitions.

Video 1: How pilots prepare for an airshow – Planning

Planning for the Sunsuper Riverfire airshow. Video: Royal Australian Air Force.

Royal Australian Air Force C-17A Globemaster airshow flyby, filmed in the cockpit

Fasten your seatbelt. We’re about to see the Sunsuper Riverfire Airshow in Brisbane, Australia, from inside a C-17A Globemaster airplane!

During your ride, you’ll hear a lot of warnings in the background. But that’s normal during an airshow low to the ground and close to obstacles. everything has been rehearsed and planned to the extreme (for safety), as explained earlier. During routine non-exhibition flying, of course, the pilots would take immediate corrective action on such warnings, to avoid an accident.

Video 2: How pilots prepare for an airshow – The airshow as seen from the cockpit (pilot’s view)

Welcome onboard. Time to see an airshow from inside the performing airplane! Video: Royal Australian Air Force/YouTube.

Featured Image

how pilots prepare for an airshow
A C-17 Globemaster III from the 437th Air Wing, Charleston Air Force Base, South Carolina, flies away from a KC-10 Extender after being refueled off the coast of North Carolina. Photo: USAF.

Do you enjoy watching airshows?

Which airshow is the best in the world, and why? Do you have any special moments to tell us about or pictures to share? We could include your story in a story. Please contact us here.

Updated August 26, 2020.

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