Dan is a Second Officer with Qantas and remains an active member of Team MHR. Dan pilots the “Ride of your Life” and “The Ultimate” Experiences when he’s in Australia. You may recognise Dan’s flying as the second plane in the New Years Eve Airshow displays over Sydney Harbour Bridge along side Matt in 2014.

Name: Dan ‘Dodly’ O’Donnell

Hometown: Merewether

How long you’ve been working at MHR: Since 2010

Favourite aircraft & why: Amphibian Piper Cub – Float Flying is the most free I’ve ever felt in the air or on the surface.

When & how did you meet Matt: I first met Matt after Red Bull Air Race displays in 2008 in Perth.

How long you’ve been in the RAAF: Permanent RAAF 1998-2015, RAAF Reserve as a Fighter Pilot Instructor on the Hawk, 2015-Current.

Years flying experience: Dad was a pilot so I’ve been flying my whole life. Flying professionally / socially myself since 2001. Over 5,000 hours flying from Boeing 707 to F/A-18 to Boeing Stearman to Bombardier Global Express.

Favourite past time (other than flying): Spending time with family or anything else on wheels – Motorcycles, bicycles, cars etc.


Aircraft Dan has flown:
Cap 10, CT-4, PC-9, Boeing E-3 Sentry, Boeing 737-700/800, Hawk 127, F/A-18 Hornet, Cessna 152, 172, 182, Piper Warrior, CJ-6 Nanchang, Yak 52, Chipmunk, 8KCAB, Extra 300L, Extra 200, Robin / Alpha 2160, Pitts S2A, Stinson L5, Boeing Stearman, Piper Super Cub Amphibian, Bombardier Global Express 6000.

Dans Military Career:
1998 Joined the RAAF as a potential pilot
1998-2000 Bachelor of Engineering in Aeronautical Technology at ADFA
2001-2002 191 Pilots Course. Multiple awards including Dux
2003-2005 Pilot exchange to the USAF flying the E-3 Sentry. Awarded Wing Aircraft Captain of the year 2005 and Commendation for Meritorious Service 2005
2006 ICUS experience with Virgin Blue on Boeing 737 as part of the Wedgetail Introduction
2007 – Flying Instructors Course at Central Flying School. Multiple awards including Dux
2007-2008 Senior Flying Instructor on the PC-9 at 2FTS
2008-2009 Fighter Pilot Training Hawk 127 / F/A-18
2010-2013 B-Category Fighter Pilot at 3 SQN F/A-18
2012 Six month deployment to Afghanistan flying the Heron UAV. Awarded an ADF Bronze Commendation for leadership whilst deployed
2014 A Flight Commander at 76 SQN in charge of fighter pilot training on the Hawk 127 prior to resigning in December as a SQNLDR to pursue a civilian flying career (have remained an active reserve Fighter Pilot based at 76 SQN)
Separated from the RAAF after 17 years and 4 months service in Apr 2015.
Dans Aerobatic Experience:
Aerobatics Instructor in the RAAF on the PC-9 including formation aerobatic qualification
Joyflight pilot for multiple leading companies in Australia
Warbird flying to including running a successful warbird joyflight business 2010-2013
Competed in 2009 Australian Nationals. Placed second in Sportsman category
Multiple formation displays to include leading a dog-fight side act at the 2007-2008 Reb Bull Air Race in Perth
Member of the Purple Cobras F/A-18 Display team 2013
New Years Eve Display in Sydney Harbour in formation with Matt 2013, 2014, 2015
Low Level Extra 300 display for Matt Hall Racing Eastern Creek V8 Supercars 2014 and RCAAA (?) Annual function in the Hunter Valley 2014
Hold current Grade 2 Flying Instructor rating with both aerobatics and formation training approvals
CASA Delegate (examiner) for low level aerobatics waivers. One of only 7 in Australia