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Aussie Matt Hall flies Pacific Airshow in California

written by Adam Thorn | October 3, 2023

Air Race World Champion Matt Hall made his second appearance at the Pacific Airshow at Huntington Beach, California, last weekend.

The Australian flew his MXS-R and performed alongside fellow team member Emma McDonald, who made her first major display on international soil.

The event, which attracts crowds of up to 700,000 people each year, also saw performances from the iconic US Air Force Thunderbirds, who fly F-16s and an original C-47 Skytrain that has been flying since 1941.

US Air Force Thunderbirds (Pacific Airshow)

The Pacific Airshow in the US is the original event that spawned the Gold Coast iteration that launched in August 2023.


Speaking to the Gold Coast Bulletin, Pacific Airshow CEO Kevin Elliott said that starting in 2024, the event – which occupied roughly 1km of beachfront this year – could widen its footprint on the beach, add VIP areas, expand deeper into the streets, and add “double-storey hospitality”.

“We built the venue and sized it for what we thought we could sell without taking more of the beach than we thought we needed. The last thing we wanted to do was take more beach than there was demand. Fortunately for us, demand met our capacity,” he said.

“Now we know there is more demand, we can expand. Next year, we plan to expand the event precinct even wider to accommodate more capacity.

“I think we can go 50 per cent larger – there are a lot of ways we can expand, either side [of the beach area], push back in the street a bit too, which would require diligent planning and traffic management. We close the street anyway, so we’ll look at that.”

Elliott also hinted that the line-up could expand for future events, and nighttime music events are also “on the docket” for consideration.

The schedule for 2023 included flypasts from RAAF C-130 Hercules and Boeing C-17 Globemaster aircraft, as well as displays from the RAAF, US Marine Corps and US Air Force.

In addition, Westpac Helicopter conducted a lifesaving rescue helicopter demonstration, Gold Coast Skydive performed a formation skydive, and Fw190 Downunder and the Precision Fighters showed off a Focke Wulf 190, P-51D Mustang, and a P-40 Kittyhawk, among other displays.

Soon after it wrapped, the RAAF released Top Gun-style footage showing one of its Super Hornets clocking 8Gs as it soared over Surfers Paradise.

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