Thousands gathered to see the exciting debut of the Air Force’s new PC-21 Roulettes team at RAAF Base Point Cook in Melbourne.

Five brand-new Pilatus PC-21 aircraft took to the sky and delivered an impressive 20-minute performance.

Roulette pilot Flight Lieutenant Daniel Armstrong said it was symbolic to kick start the PC-21 Roulettes display season at the birthplace of the RAAF.

The RAAF Roulettes PC-21 aircraft during the first public display at RAAF Base Point Cook, Victoria. Photo: Petty Officer Nina Fogliani

“The Roulettes had their first public display at this base in 1970 and it is great to return here with a new team and brand new aircraft 49 years later,” Flight Lieutenant Armstrong said.

“Point Cook is the oldest RAAF base and the PC-21 aircraft is one of the newest additions to the organisation. It is a nice way to demonstrate that we are proud of Air Force’s past and also excited about its future.”

Flight Lieutenant Armstrong said the team had practised hard in the last few months to put together a great show.

“The PC-21 is one of the most advanced training aircraft in the world and we’ve designed our demonstrations and displays to highlight its capability and performance,” he said.

“During the display, the Roulettes fly within three metres of each other, performing low-level aerobatics and a number of different synchronised manoeuvres. Throughout the display, the Roulettes fly as low as 200 feet above the ground at speeds of up to 685 kilometres per hour.”

Flight Lieutenant Armstrong said the Roulettes’ jaw-dropping precision took a lot of hard work, trust and teamwork.

“It was very rewarding to see how much the audience loved the show and I felt like all the hard work has paid off for the team,” Flight Lieutenant Armstrong said.

“The meet-and-greet time at the end of display was also very exciting. I absolutely enjoyed speaking to the fans and seeing how inspired they were by the performance.”

The RAAF Roulettes are renowned as one of the world’s premier aerobatic display teams, having performed thousands of shows around the world in the last 49 years.

The RAAF Roulettes leader, Squadron Leader Jay Tuffley, chats to the crowds during the first public display at RAAF Base Point Cook, Victoria. Photo: Petty Officer Nina Fogliani

The Roulettes were established in 1970, flying the Macchi MB-326 aircraft, which was replaced by the Pilatus PC-9/A in 1989.

In March 2019, the PC-9/A officially retired from the Roulettes team and was replaced by the PC-21.

“The PC-21 is one of the most advanced trainers in the world. It is capable of producing 1600 horsepower and a maximum speed of 685 kilometres per hour,” Flight Lieutenant Armstrong said.

Members of the new PC-21 Roulettes team are Squadron Leader Jay Tuffley, Flight Lieutenant Mark Keritz, Flight Lieutenant Daniel Barclay, Flight Lieutenant Darren Wong, Flight Lieutenant Lachie Hazeldine, Flight Lieutenant Daniel Price and Flight Lieutenant Armstrong.