Go Flying Australia Podcast 007: Matt Hall – Former RAAF Fighter Pilot and Red Bull Air Race competitor

Summary: On todays episode I talk with Matt Hall who is a Red Bull Air Race Pilot and former RAAF FA-18A fighter pilot, Fighter Combat Instructor, combat veteran in the F15E Strike Eagle with the USAF.

matt hall - two aircraft


How Matt got started in Aviation – His Father introduced him to aviation (General Aviation).  Matt has been flying in the right hand seat of aircraft such as CitabriasAusters, Piper Pawnees and in Gliders since he was a young child.  He always knew he was going to become a pilot.

Matt’s experience in the RAAF – Matt joined the RAAF as a Direct Entry Officer.   His pilot training involved 6 months on the CT-4 and 9 months on the Pilatus PC-9.  Matt was the dux of the course and chose to go to fighters (flew the Macchi as the LIF and onto FA-18A).

Matt saw a lot of changes to the FA-18A‘s capabilities during that time.  Matt’s most memorable experiences were graduating from the Fighter Combat Instructor, running the Fighter Combat Instructor course as an instructor and Flying the F15E in combat with the USAF.

Matt left the RAAF – Was busy preparing to become a Red Bull Air Race pilot and finishing his career in the correct way.

Matt’s transition to becoming a Red Bull Air Race Pilot – Becoming an Red Bull Air Race pilot was not a long term goal as the start of his career as its a new sport.  Matt is one of the few fighter pilots to be able to retire and transition to another exciting type of flying.

Matt explains the Red Bull Air Race – See here for details.  Matt explains that there is a lot of stress on his body during the races.  Matt needs to watch closely what he is eating and drinking and can loose up to 2kg of body fluid during a short flight.

Air racing as as a team event – It like any motor sport, there is a large team to ensure the pilot has everything to be successful.  Matt’s Aircraft – the MXS-R.  Matt uses telemetry to track the performance of his aircraft during training and races.

Matt’s roles as an educator (Teaching airmanship to pilots) – Matt uses his Air Race role and media attention to encourage people to get into aviation and to teach experienced pilots about airmanship and ensure they are as safe as possible.

Matt talks about the three phases of airmanship that people go through:

1. Learning – you know you don’t know anything and need someone to help you.

2. Experienced Phase – ‘I know everything’.  You don’t think anything can happen to you anymore.  This can be a short or long term phase.

3. Mature – Where you become more conservative and start listening to people and take a proactive approach.

Ozrunways – We chat about how Matt uses the Ozrunways app to assist in flight planning and navigation.

P51 Mustang – Matt talks about his share in a P51 Mustang.

Matt’s experience flying the F15E Strike Eagle.

Rapid Fire Questions

Which famous Aviator would you like to meet – Charles Kingsford Smith.

What aircraft would you buy if money was not an option – Grumman Goose.

Best Aviation Day – Jet Ranger 206 flight to lunch with the family.

Next Red Bull Air Race – The next race is in Chiba, Japan on 16-17 May.

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Matt Hall Racing

QBE Airmanship


*Photos used with permission from Matt Hall Racing who reserves all rights

The Sky Is Not The Limit: The Life of Australia’s Top Gun

The action-packed true story of Australia’s very own top gun pilot, Matt Hall.

“I would sit there at the controls and think: I’m going to go left, and I can. I want to go right, and I will. I don’t have to follow the road. I don’t have to follow rules. I don’t have to ask anyone – I can go left when I want, I can go right when I want. I had discovered the freedom that has kept me flying to this day.” Since he was old enough to notice planes, Matt Hall wanted to be a pilot. Flying with his Dad in a glider, making models at home and meeting officers from the Air Force fuelled his ambition. So when he was accepted into the RAAF’s grueling training school it seemed a dream come true. But dreams take hard work and focus – and the willingness to make your own luck. From the rigours of his first professional job as a top Gun fighter in the Battle of Baghdad where he experienced extreme fear and loss for the first time, to his post Air Force career as a professional racer where he has survived near fatal situations to become one of the most renowned pilots in the world, Matt Hall has led an extraordinary life. His story is a rare glimpse into a normally closed world where skill, quick thinking and a cool head can mean the difference between life and death. ‘A must read for anyone interested in flying’ COURIER MAIL
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