Roulettes celebrate 50 years in the sky

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The Hon Darren Chester MP

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs

Minister for Defence Personnel

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13 November 2020

Ahead of the centenary of the Royal Australian Air Force next year, this year we mark 50 years of service for the RAAF Roulettes aerobatic display team.

Minister for Defence Personnel, Darren Chester, who visited the Roulettes at their home at RAAF Base East Sale, 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 they 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.

“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.

“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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