What's On

Pacific Airshow takes to the skies of Surfers Paradise

July 26, 2023

The Gold Coast will host the greatest air show ever seen in Australia from August 18 to 20. The three-day festival of flight, Pacific Airshow Gold Coast, will be one of the biggest events ever held on the Gold Coast.

The event will be held in the skies over Surfers Paradise and will feature three days of world-class aerobatics and manoeuvres in the planet’s most hi-tech aircraft flown by the world’s greatest pilots, including the Gold Coast’s own pilot extraordinaire, Hayden Pullen. What’s more, Pacific Airshow Gold Coast will take place over water, rather than an airport (as is usually the case) meaning you can enjoy the most intense air show performances in the world from the beach!

Gold Coaster Hayden Pullen will be taking part in the air show and says nothing compares to flying over his beloved Gold Coast coastline.

“I have to say, flying over the Gold Coast I look around and I get reminded of how lucky I am to fly in such an awesome part of the world,” he says.

“I think the Gold Coast is the best place you could ever put an air show in, because of just how beautiful it is, and the infrastructure we have for hosting an event like this.

“It’s also well known to people overseas – even if they’ve never been, they’ve heard of it.”

A pilot with his plane
Gold Coast pilot Hayden Pullen

He says one of the biggest differences to flying at Pacific Airshow Gold Coast over other air show events he generally flies in is that the pilots are actually individual parts of a team of performers for the whole show. “You still need to get your own part right but the workload is shared with your team mates and the focus feels more spread and to fly with some of the world’s best pilots is as good as it gets,” he says. “You have to be mentally prepared to perform at your very best… with no option to fail. There’s no better feeling when you think: ‘hey, I nailed it’.”

The concept for Pacific Airshow Gold Coast began in Huntington Beach, California, in 2016. It soon became the most attended air show in the United States – attracting over three million guests, and earning multiple awards as America’s best air show. It became one of southern California’s biggest family events.

Event organisers expect a large crowd for what’s set to become an annual event. “Since launching our expansion to Australia in April, we’ve been inundated with calls and emails from people across the globe desperate for us to let them in on the secret,” event organiser Kevin Elliott says.

Along with Hayden Pullen, you’ll get to see the most daring pilots on this earth perform unbelievable aerobatics and manoeuvres at break-neck speeds, including the world’s highest profile aerobatic pilot, Wayne Boss. A veteran of hundreds of air shows across the globe, he also has his own Netflix reality series, and this will be his very first performance in Australia.

You’ll get to see the best flying action by the world’s best pilots (photo credit: Pacific Airshow)

During the event there’s also often less than 60 seconds between flying acts, so there will always be something new and exciting happening in the skies above you. The event precinct will stretch for several kilometres along the Surfers Paradise Esplanade, with live bands, outdoor bars, street vendors, art exhibits and more… all just a few metres from Surfers Paradise’s world-famous beach. The three-day event will showcase everything the Gold Coast has to offer for legions of air show fanatics from all across Australia, and the world.

Thanks to the support of the Australian Defence Forces, you’ll also get to see the best pilots the air force and navy have in their squadrons. Military pilots will show off the power and precision of the Royal Australian Air Force’s (RAAF) F/A 18F Super Hornets; Top Gun-style twin-seat fighter planes capable of air interceptions, close air support and interception of enemy supply lines. You’ll get to see true Maverick and Goose-like flying action!

The finely tuned Air Force Roulettes will also blow minds as they show off their aerobatic capabilities, in tight formations at high speeds, passing each other with just a few metres in between.

Though it’s not only the best of Australia’s defence forces on display at the air show. The US Air Force will also display their best line-up of aircraft and pilots. The US Air Force PACAF F-16 Demo Team will also showcase the capabilities of one of the world’s top aircraft, the F-16 Fighting Falcon, while the US Marine Corps will showcase their best aircraft and pilots. And the action doesn’t stop within the planes: the US Navy Leap Frogs will perform a parachuting demonstration in the skies above the Gold Coast, landing beside the beach.

All this flying action will be taking place as live bands and performers play, in a precinct built on the Esplanade in Surfers Paradise, which runs parallel to one of the country’s most famous beaches. Pacific Airshow Gold Coast is family-friendly and aims to become the absolute must-attend annual event on the Gold Coast for residents and visitors alike.

Tickets range from $45 for a single day General Admission pass, and $90 for a three-day pass, and $125 for a one-day family pass (two adults/two children) to a range of VIP passes featuring corporate chalets, shared hospitality suites, private cabanas, and other unique VIP experiences.