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Footage of Brisbane’s RAAF airshow rehearsal has spooked US viewers

Incredible footage of a C-17 plane weaving over Brisbane’s skyline has turned heads across the globe, as the Royal Australian Airforce conducted a rehearsal for an upcoming airshow.

The jet was filmed from multiple angles by startled onlookers as it made its way over the city at low altitude.

The Thursday afternoon flyover preceded the Sunsuper Riverfire event, which begins at 6.45pm Saturday, ending three weeks of the Brisbane Festival 2021.

While locals were informed of the spectacle in advance, the footage struck an uncomfortable chord with a number of Americans, who just marked the 20th anniversary memorial of the 9/11 terror attacks.

But the flyover was not nearly as dangerous as it appeared.

“No, no, no, just no,” NBC senior executive Mike Sington tweeted.

“A Royal Australian Air Force jet weaves through the skyscrapers of downtown Brisbane, on purpose. It was a rehearsal for an air show, causing immediate flashbacks to 9/11.”

Several US viewers chimed in on the post, describing the vision as “terrifying” and questioning the safety of the yearly Brisbane event.

A C-17 pilot in the US Air Force told Task & Purpose the spectacle would never have happened in the United States.

“If the crew’s timing is off or if they are slow to react, the jet would collide with a building. Very risky,” the anonymous pilot said.

“Those Brisbane videos are insane. We could never do something like that.”

Some commenters pointed out the angle of the viral clip gave the illusion of the plane ducking in and out of skyscrapers, when in fact it was following the Brisbane river.

“It’s not immediately discernible in the angle in this video, but that plane is flying above a river that runs through the city. Not weaving in between buildings. Also it was widely publicised before it occurred so people weren’t caught off guard,” Australian reporter Chad Ryan explained.

“You can clearly see the width of the river and the space it has, The plane looks closer to the building than it actually is,” Lliam Parslow said.

Warning: Strong language

The RAAF posted an update this week informing locals of the Thursday flyover of a single Boeing C-17A Globemaster III strategic airlift aircraft, taking off from RAAF Base Amberley.

“Safety, noise management and the environment are vital considerations in the planning and conduct of Defence flying activities, and participating squadrons will operate with a view to minimising the impact on local communities,” the statement read.

“The health and safety of all personnel participating in this event is paramount. All Australian Defence Force personnel are required to adhere to state and territory government travel restrictions and health advice. There are a range of Covid-19 risk mitigation measures in place for this exercise.”

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