Roulettes postpone 50th birthday celebrations

Ahead of the centenary of the Royal Australian Air Force next year, the RAAF Roulettes aerobatic display team are marking their 50th.

FILE PHOTO (3 October 2019): The RAAF Roulettes in their PC-21s during the new aircrafts’ first public display, at RAAF Base Point Cook, Victoria. Photo by Petty Officer Nina Fogliani.

Minister for Defence Personnel Darren Chester, who visited the Roulettes at their home at RAAF Base East Sale recently, said they were established in November 1970 as part of the celebrations marking 50 years of the RAAF, undertaking their first public display later that year.

“The Roulettes originally flew Macchi MB-326 aircraft, then in 1989 changed to the Pilatus PC-9/A and last year transitioned to the Pilatus PC-21 — the world’s most advanced pilot training aircraft,” Mr Chester said.

“The impressive skills demonstrated by the Roulette pilots have been witnessed by many at international events and in small country air shows over the years and they inspire the next generation of RAAF pilots.

“This year we will virtually celebrate the enjoyment the Roulettes have given Australians for 50 years — a proud legacy to acknowledge and recognise for this momentous milestone.”

The Roulettes fly as low as 200 feet at speeds of up to 685km/h with the pilots enduring up to six times the force of gravity during a display.

All the pilots are qualified flying instructors who work at the Central Flying School at RAAF Base East Sale in Victoria.

Between displays, the Roulette pilots teach other Australian Defence Force pilots to become flying instructors, who in turn will go on to teach the next generation of students to become pilots.

Roulette One Squadron Leader Jamie Braden said showcasing the flying skill and dedication of Australian Defence Force pilots through precision formation flying was enormously rewarding.

“My love of flying began when I saw the Roulettes flying at air shows when I was a child.

“If we can inspire other children in a similar fashion then I think we have done our job.

“2020 has been a challenging year for the Roulettes with most public displays cancelled, however, 2021 is shaping up to be an exciting year with numerous events on the horizon for Air Force centenary year.”

A series of activities planned to celebrate this milestone occasion have been postponed to 2021, as a result of COVID-19 restrictions.

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Brian Hartigan

Managing Editor Contact Publishing Pty Ltd PO Box 3091 Minnamurra NSW 2533 AUSTRALIA

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