Each year there are several needless and tragic accidents which result from spontaneous and unpracticed low fly bys or beatups. With the advent of Adventure flight operations in Australia, we now have access to Aircraft with relatively high performance and which by their very nature invite a low level flypast with a pull up in front of admiring family and friends.
There is a misconception that this sort of thing is very 'military'; however, this could not be further from the truth. In fact, if a squadron pilot carried out a non authorized, non practiced, low fly past before landing , he or she would be court marshalled for illegal low flying. Such displays are reserved for special occasions and are carefully planned and practiced by pilots who have had extensive training in this most dangerous aspect of flying.
Low level Formation is an especially lethal practice in inexperienced hands. Formation is a demanding exercise at the best of times and at low level there is absolutely no room for error or the slightest distraction. We surely must ask if it is reasonable to expose an unsuspecting public to such risks, adventure or not.
Finally of course is the issue of legality. As we all know the lowest altitude permitted over a non built up area is 500ft AGL, so flight below that is illegal and so not covered by insurance. Accordingly, any incident arising from such activity would invite financial ruin upon the pilot, the Adventure Flight operator and their families.
Within the professional flying community a conviction of negligence resulting from illegal low flying is the ultimate disgrace and reflects very poorly upon ones professionalism (or lack of it). Accordingly, if you are tempted to impress your unsuspecting passenger with a low level pitch and break, think of the consequences, be professional and DON’T DO IT !
Prior to the Avalon Airshow, the Flight Safety Australia magazine ran an excellent article regarding just this sort of thing: if you haven’t seen it, it is definitely worth a read