Freedom to Fly Display Team

What is needed for an airshow display team to merely exist, let alone thrive? Calling all major sponsors, brand partners, and diversity/women advocates. Written by Angela Garvey

The Freedom Formation Display Team (FFDT) is Australia’s largest professional formation airshow display team, consisting of 13 aviators under the expert guidance of team coach Jeremy Miller.

Jeremy is internationally renowned for his airshow pilot technical prowess and for developing and coaching in airshow displays. He also serves as the Head of Flying Operations and Chief Flying Instructor at UPRT Australia, located at Archerfield Airport (Queensland, Australia). His proven passion for coaching airshow display teams and teaching Upset Prevention and Recovery Training (UPRT) underscores his commitment to the safety and integrity of the aviation industry’s future.

If you were fortunate enough to witness the FFDT’s performance at last year’s Pacific Airshow on the Gold Coast, anticipation would be building for our upcoming appearances on August 16, 17, and 18.

To join and continue to work alongside such a seasoned group of professional pilots, new team members must have the following attributes:
Ability – you must be skilled at your craft, with safety as your priority

Responsibility – to yourself, your team, and the public
Discipline – to standards, procedures and rules
Attitude – humility and teamwork, leaving ego aside, be humble always
Determination – you must be prepared to work hard
Fitness – prioritising a healthy lifestyle for peak performance
Focus – sleep routine and settlement in your body
Cost – acceptance of the personal sacrifice and financial cost
Support – you cannot do this alone; reach out for and accept support

Being a member of an airshow display team could be considered a self-centred activity. Time, money, dedication to the team, and safety are all prioritised above one’s most basic needs.

For me, these sacrifices are worth it by way of visibility: young girls must see female pilots and aircraft engineers in order to envision themselves in such roles, while young boys must recognise it as a norm.

A few years ago, I attended an airshow with over 100,000 spectators, where I was shocked to find not a single female airshow pilot graced the skies. While we appreciate our male pilots, the absence of female representation is disheartening for all those in attendance, especially the younger generation.

The wonderful Emma Mc Emma McDonald from Matt Hall Racing is currently Australia’s sole international female airshow display pilot – a clear pioneer in this space. Regardless, our numbers remain wanting, especially compared to the United States and Europe. This disparity with other countries does not stem from population differences but rather from the support and major sponsorship provided to teams by organisations, companies, and personal contributions. Actively backing, sponsoring, and nurturing diverse airshow display teams fosters an environment where female pilots and aircraft engineers can thrive in traditionally male-dominated roles.

My frustration with the lack of female representation in airshows in Australia, coupled with the mixed messaging, propelled me to become an airshow display pilot – despite the personal and financial sacrifices I knew were partnered with this. The benefit to future generations of aspiring aviators will undoubtedly outweigh these costs.

Sponsorship from brands and corporations is crucial – as is relevant in every other professional team sport. I am fortunate to have found support from the Norris family (Joe Norris and Dr Dee Norris), who generously provided their aircraft for my use, enabling my participation in the team. However, even without the cost of the aircraft, the total cost of getting a team to an international airshow like the Pacific Airshow still amounts to $460,000, with individual participation costs averaging at least $30,000 out of pocket per team member.

Avgas fuel, aircraft maintenance, aircraft parts, insurance, approvals, licensing, medicals, smoke tank, smoke oil, parachute, coaching, training camps, accommodation, meals, travel expenses, flight helmet, flight suit, inflight video cameras, airport landing charges, safety training, using holiday leave and taking time away from full-time work – make up the significant costs involved in a team member participating in an airshow. Each of these elements is crucial for the performance, safety, and logistical execution of the display.

Currently, three members of the FFDT, all in their 20s and early 30s, are complemented by a support crew of four younger pilots, both female and male, who are poised for integration into the team. This demonstrates the team’s focus on succession planning and its commitment to nurturing the next generation of Australian international airshow display pilots, aircraft engineers, and support crew. Investing in these individuals not only secures the future of aviation but also ensures that upcoming talent can aspire to emulate the women and men they see represented in these roles. The cycle of inequality need not persist.

If you aim to be a changemaker and wish to see your backing on a global scale, your sponsorship or contribution would be invaluable. We warmly welcome your support, which we will reciprocate by promoting your business on the world stage.

If you wish to support us in this endeavour, please contact (me) FFDT member Angela Garvey, at – or our team manager, Eddie Seve, at

Please watch the 2023 promo YouTube and turn your volume up! – Freedom Formation Pacific Airshow Gold Coast 2023.


Photos: Courtesy of Lorenzo Hariman


We are proud sponsors of this amazing team who perform precision stunts above the clouds in their own home built experimental aircrafts. They have just completed there training camp at Cowra and were featured on Channel 7. They are training to perform at the upcoming Pacific Airshow in August. You can follow their journey at and see all there other videos on their Facebook page Freedom to Fly Display Team


The team wowed everyone at the Pacific Coast Airshow in August. Read the article written in Australian Flying below about their training for the big event.