Roulettes reminisce on 50 years

Friends and family of Central Flying School (CFS) belatedly celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Roulettes Aerobatic Team with a family open day on the flight line at RAAF Base East Sale last month.

CAPTION: The Air Force Roulettes perform an aerobatic display over the air traffic control tower for the Air Force Roulette’s 50th anniversary family open day at RAAF Base East Sale, Victoria. Story by Flying Officer Brent Moloney. Photo by Richard Prideaux.

The event, which was originally scheduled for 2020, reunited current and former Roulette team members, who have made a significant contribution to Air Force and the wider community.

Commanding Officer of CFS Wing Commander Damien ‘Buzz’ Buswell was proud to see the school’s hangar brimming with nostalgic former Roulettes team members, their families and excitable aviation-enthusiasts of all ages.

“The wider-community doesn’t generally get to see what Air Force gets up to, so the Roulettes are a great way to showcase our precision flying and advanced technologies,” Wing Commander Buswell said.

“It’s great to see the young and old get excited about the Roulettes on days like today.”

CAPTION: Air Force Roulettes on the ground at RAAF Base East Sale as P-51D Mustang (VH-SVU) of the RAAF Museum Point Cook taxis past. Photo by Richard Prideaux.

Solo aerobatic displays from a No. 100 Squadron World War 2-era North American P-51 Mustang and a CFS Pilatus PC-21 kept the crowd of almost 350 looking to the skies when they weren’t otherwise enjoying performances by the Air Force Band, multiple static displays and an inflatable bouncing castle.

As the Roulettes Aerobatic Team conducted a late-afternoon display, former Roulette team members entertained with a running critique, heaping praise on the team for a job well done in typically windy East Sale flying conditions.

Squadron Leader Mark Keritz, a four-year veteran of the Roulettes Aerobatic Team, led the team through the display centred over the East Sale air traffic control tower and Central Flying School hangars.

“The first Roulettes team formed in 1970 as a way to bolster recruitment efforts,” Squadron Leader Keritz said.

“We have always flown the latest training aircraft of the day so we can show prospective pilots a bit about what the aircraft can do and what they’ll learn as a pilot in the Air Force.”

The first official Roulettes Aerobatic Team display was held over Point Cook in early December 1970 in preparation for the Air Force Golden Jubilee.

CAPTION: The Air Force Roulettes perform an aerobatic display. Photos by Richard Prideaux.





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