Royal Australian Air Force Roulettes recently took tennis ace Sam Groth for a flight – and the results were pretty amazing.
After the flight, some of the RAAF’s top pilots faced Sam Groth’s world-record breaking serve on the tennis court – and those results were pretty amazing too, in a scientific kind of way.
The reciprocal comfort-zone challenges, recorded with scientific instrumentation, showed that while the pilots were super cool, calm and collected in the air, their heart rates and stress levels went skyward while facing a rocket on the tennis court – and, likewise, when the uber-cool tennis ace was taken out of his comfort zone, his stats shot into the red zone too.
The Roulettes fly some of the fastest and most manoeuvrable non-jet aircraft in Australian skies, and enjoyed taking the world’s fastest tennis server into their ‘office’.
The Roulettes fly at speeds of up to 590km/hr, with pilots relying only on their hand-eye coordination. During this particular flight, Sam’s experience was monitored, and a loop the loop manoeuvre sent his heart rate soaring – with the odd expletive passing his lips!
Sam then invited two Air Force pilots to be at the receiving end of his world famous tennis serve, inflicting similarly elevated heart rates on the pilots.
Sam credits his ability to serve faster than anyone else to a combination of the physical attributes that he was born with, plus technique, a loose arm, leg drive and a lot of practice.
“Before each serve, I come up with a clear plan for the serve and the first shot of the point I hope to hit off the return. I try to visualise hitting the serve and then try to completely clear my mind and relax once I step up to the line,” Sam said.
Roulette pilot Flight Lieutenant Tom Sawade said the key to performing any challenging manoeuvre in the air also relied on preparation and training.
“Our manoeuvres are well thought out, well taught, and well practiced,” he said.
“Before any aerobatic sequence, I am constantly checking my heights and speeds to ensure that I can complete the manoeuvre safely and keep the aircraft within limits.”
Tom believes a passion for aviation is important because becoming an Air Force pilot is a challenging task.
“You need to love what you’re doing, and having the right people around you will help you through the tough times,” he said.
“Being an Air Force pilot is an extremely rewarding job – and is achievable with the right amount of hard work and determination.”
The Air Force is currently recruiting men and women at the top of their game. To learn more about the variety of aviation roles available visit defencejobs.gov.au/airforce/aviation or call 13 19 01 (unpaid advert, but fully endorsed by CONTACT)