The RAAF Roulettes aerobatic display team put on a great formation flying display at the Avalon Australian International Airshow 2017 with a six ship group of their current steed, the Pilatus PC-9/A turboprop trainer. Roulette pilots are qualified flying instructors from the Central Flying School at RAAF East Sale (there are 7 pilots in the team at any one time. 6 fly in the display and 1 provides ground commentary – the latter also flies the teams spare seventh aircraft).
Roulettes PC-9/A’s will be replaced by 2019 with the new and improved Pilatus PC-21 (49 are on order to replace the 65 PC-9/A’s currently in service with numerous RAAF units). The first two that have been delivered to the RAAF were in the static displays after having only recently arrived from Switzerland. The PC-21 features improved performance and advanced technology to ensure pilots will develop the necessary skills to progress onto flying advanced aircraft such as the Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II.
The finale of the show was a great bit of formation flying by RAAF McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet multi-role fighters. The four ship display included RAAF No. 2 Operational Conversion Unit (2OCU) single seat F/A-18A and two-seat F/A-18B Hornet fighters alongside a No. 3 Squadron two-seater and a No. 77 Squadron F/A-18A. The flying display included great high-speed and “dirty” formation passes with the flaps, gear and tail hook down (highlighting the original US Navy design characteristics).
The McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet entered RAAF service between 1984 and 1990 and remains a huge crowd drawcard as they continue to bring the thunder. They were a fitting way to complete the flying component of the Avalon Australian International Airshow 2017 (the only down side for photos is that the sun is generally starting to get low behind the flying displays by this time of day). Bring on Avalon 2019!