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The next step for the budding Roulette pilot is to fly in a larger formation. This may be a three- or four-plane formation. Naturally, the outgoing Roulette will fly in the back seat of the new team member's plane. As well as formation aerobatics, there are a number of other manoeuvres to introduce, namely ripple rolls, snake loops, rollbacks, the corkscrew and station changes during manoeuvres. Each manoeuvre is introduced progressively over a series of flights and practised at height. Once competent, the new team member is gradually stepped down over a number of sorties to 500 feet above ground level.
New team members start off as Roulette 2, 3 or 4. Roulettes 5 and 6 are the sychronised pair and pilots move into these slots after at least one season (6 months). Roulette 5 is the sychro lead and Roulette 6 is the wing.
Pilots introduced to these positions begin their training in much the same manner, however, they fly less close formations. Again manoeuvres such as the rolling cross, heart, mirror and solos are introduced over a number of sorties, and gradually stepped down to 500 feet. Once competent, Roulette Leader is introduced and a fully-sychronised High Show is practised without Roulettes 2, 3 and 4. The final step is to introduce all new members into the full six-plane High Show at height, and then gradually step down to 500 feet. A solo check is conducted on each new team member by the Commanding Officer CFS while the show is critiqued by the Officer Commanding Air Training Wing. All up, a new pilot will have flown around 35 dedicated sorties, and flown the show in various forms about 70 times before, finally, it's on with the show.
The Roulettes fly as close as 3m during manoeuvresDuring the show the aircraft are manoeuvring whilst positioned approximately 3m apart. The pilots are able to fly so close because they know what and when each manoeuvre is coming up. In addition, Roulette Leader will call all manoeuvres on the radio and call for smoke on and off.
The smoke is generated by the pilots using a trigger on the control column hand-grip. This supplies an oil mixture to the right exhaust duct where it is vapourised and the smoke trail formed.
During the show all aircraft fly ‘off’ the lead aircraft. Once the synchro pair break away from the main formation, then Roulette 6 flys off Roulette 5s wing.
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Information source: Australian Air Force

 

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