The thrill of a low pass

There are few things as thrilling in aviation as low level flying and low passes. This was once again proven when a rather spectacular video emerged this week. The video, which has been deleted from Youtube, showed an F-5 flying so low he’s cutting the treetops. A still of the video can still be seen at The Aviationist. If you’re really into aviation you should have experienced low passes yourself. As a spectator on the ground, a passenger or maybe even as the pilot. One of my very first experiences with a low pass was during the arrival days of the International Airshow at Koksijde. The Fouga display was known for staying very low after take-off. One of the advantages of the airfield of Koksijde is that you can stand at the head of the runway. So you can probably figure out where I was standing. I managed to snap a head on of the Fouga, after which it went over us and pulled up. A couple of years ago at Abbeville there was a Fouga doing the same kind of take off. Being further away from it didn’t make it less impressive. I didn’t manage to photograph it, but it did bring back the memories though. fouga29-06-07_3g fouga29-06-07_1gAnother pass I’ll probably never forget is the one below. The picture basically shows it all. It was very low and impressive! The guy is not really underneath the plane for full 100%. He’s probably somewhere under the wing. But still one of the most memorable low passes I have ever witnessed. yakgNext one is a cheating as it’s a plane on final, but the pictures are nice and when standing underneath it I can guarantee that it was really low. caravan25-07-12_8g caravan25-07-12_10gOf course there have also been some undocumented low passes. One F-4 going a little lower than the others during the Phantom Pharewell at Wittmund in 2013. The Texan and an SV-4 going low over Malle airfield at the end of the A2A Academy. For one second I thought he was going to hit a flagpole, but although he was that low he was more than far enough from it. Others were the Turkish Stars and the Ramex Delta (2x Mirage 2000) going over us at low altitude and, in the case of the Ramex Delta, with afterburners. These were not as low as the ones documented above, but the two extra dimensions of the jet noise and the unexpectedness made them just as impressive.


Feel free to share your favorite low pass video, experience or photo in the comments or on our social media pages.


4 thoughts on “The thrill of a low pass

  1. The first time I went to Jamestown Air Spectacular (South Aust.), Chris Sperou performed an inverted ribbon cut in a Pitts, slicing a ribbon strung between two poles at about 2.5 metres. A variation on this theme perhaps, but I’ve never forgotten it!


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