Defence has acknowledged the 50-year anniversary of the first public display of the RAAF’s aerobatics team.
Minister for Defence Personnel Darren Chester has marked 50 years of service for the Royal Australian Air Force Roulettes, visiting the aerobatics display team’s home at RAAF Base East Sale, Victoria.
The Roulettes 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 initially flew Macchi MB-326 aircraft, before moving to the Pilatus PC-9/A in 1989, and the Pilatus PC-21 in 2019.
“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,” Minister Chester said.
“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 pilots enduring up to six times the force of gravity during a display.
Roulette pilots are qualified flying instructors, who work at the Central Flying School at RAAF Base East Sale.
The Roulette pilots teach other ADF pilots to become flying instructors, who go on to teach the next generation of students.
“Showcasing the flying skill and dedication of Australian Defence Force pilots through precision formation flying is enormously rewarding,” Roulette One, Squadron Leader Jamie Braden said.
“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.”
He concluded, “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.”
The activities planned for the celebration of the 50-year milestone have been postponed to 2021, as a result of COVID-19 restrictions.