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Roulettes Questions

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Roulettes Questions

Old 11th May 2011, 02:19
  #1 (permalink)  
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Roulettes Questions

Hey everyone,

This is a re-post of my topic in another thread, because the others said it would probably help me out if I asked this to the Military guys in this section.

I'm a year 12 student in Adelaide, Australia and I'm doing a research topic about the Roulettes. My topic asks the question "Should the RAAF invest more money in the Roulettes for recruitment and publicity purposes?"

Even though I go to as many airshows as I can and love many things to do with aviation, I'm just a low level enthusiast and any help or opinions from professionals or other enthusiasts would be thoroughly appreciated.

One of the main things that I wanted to cover was why the Roulettes don't use jet powered aircraft. By no means am I saying that this a bad thing; I mean, every time I watch the Roulettes I'm left in awe because of their fantastic display. It's just that the Blue Angels, Thunderbirds, Russian Knights, Red Arrows, Blue Impulse etc. use jet powered aircraft. Most of the people I have asked said that it's because the RAAF don't have the money to use and support jet powered aircraft for the Roulettes, but I was wondering if this could be confirmed and if the RAAF DOES have enough money, do they choose not to change aircraft to maintain THE PC-9 because it has been successful with the Roulettes? etc.

It would be great if everyone could help out if you can share an opinion, or if you do, give us some facts and figures that would assist me with this project!

Thanks

Lewis
TehLewis is offline  
Old 11th May 2011, 08:29
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I don't own this space under my name. I should have leased it while I still could
 
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Teh, of the jets that the other air forces fly they are mostly trainers; only the US has sufficient 'modern' operational fast jets to spare for aerobatic team.

The RAAF has relatively small numbers of jets, including trainers, but a relatively larger number of PC9.

To provide a reasonable number of F18 or Hawk would denude or compromise your operational squadrons or cripple your training system. On the other hand you would appear to be able to spare enough for a prop-team.

Now you could provide a fast-jet team if you bought a number of additional airframe, so it does come down to money as it does everywhere else. An air display may be thrilling; it may be a great recruiting tool. But if you have to reduce the operational front line or forego some other tax-payer funded facilities it may feature lower down the desirablity list.

In the UK the Red Arrows use old Hawk T1s that are approaching the end of their service lives. To keep the Reds going would require re-equipping with Hawk 128s. These would be at the expense of the training system and once again they are considering disbandment of the RAF Aerobatic Display Team.

On the positive side, with the draw down of the RAF we may be over provided with trainers and possibly able to spare Hawk 128s or even, sacre blue, Tucano
Pontius Navigator is offline  
Old 11th May 2011, 12:43
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Teh,

If it's any help, FZjr used to be OC recruiting offices in several large cities. His opinion was that the RAF could save money by just following the Red Arrows with a recruiting van; the money saved would more than pay for the Reds!!

Best of luck with your project
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Old 12th May 2011, 01:19
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Thanks for the great information and help, guys. I'll be sure to include this in my assignment!

PS. I've seen the Purple Cobras and the Green Lemons perform and they were both very cool but I preferred the Cobras tbh :P
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Old 12th May 2011, 03:00
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Hi Teh.

I'm not military, but I enjoy a good airshow as much as the next person.

As pointed out earlier, Bang for Buck is probably the number 1 reason why we don't see the Roulettes in jets these days. I'm just glad I got to see them in their Macchi phase tbh. Military bands could fall into the same category but due to their lower cost, will never be as constrained or scrutinised as much as the Roulettes.

My 2 cents for your topic though is possibly a little deeper than you may want your assignment to go, but "choose to use" if you wish...

Most bean counters will tell you that the dollars don't add up enough to put them in jets & that's probably a fair point, especially, as alluded to earlier, it detracts from operational requirements. But, what value is put on National pride? It's an arbitrary figure that cannot be added to the budget, so it is easily dismissed. There are plenty of detractors to Nationalism, and thats another topic in itself! I'll always stop & look at a Blackhawk passing over, or a F18, even a Frigate in the bay...they all form part of the reason why I sleep soundly at night...(That & the fact we have a pretty powerful mate across the Pacific!)

You & I live in a country that has been largely spared the horrors of war on our own soil & it is easy to dismiss what we see on the TV as "over there" and change channel if it becomes too uncomfortable. I personally feel that every Nation should take pride in the work of our respective armed forces but, how exactly can we as civilians do that? We have a holiday for ANZAC day, some even go to the ANZAC day marches. We stop & remember on Armistice day...for a minute...of those that have gone before, and we buy a poppy or a legacy badge every year. These are all great initiatives of course but, whenever I watch the Roulettes & admire their skill, I like to think of our RAAF Lancaster crews during WWII, the Beaufighter pilots that protected our shores, etc. If I watch a parade, I think of those at Gallipoli, Kokoda, Long Tan, etc.

In my mind, the Roulettes not only represent the RAAF of today, but of almost 100 years of the RAAF service. Sure, they work as ambassadors & recruiting tools, but I think they represent more value than that. It's unfortunate that that value doesn't always equate to dollars & cents.

(Sorry for being long winded....)
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Old 12th May 2011, 13:09
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If you go back far enough, you will find several aerobatic teams have existed in the RAAF over the years. Several were from "operational" squadrons.

There were the "Black Panthers" (from memory) which I suspect were from 76SQN when they flew Sabres in the late 60's.

77 Squadron had a Mirage team early in the 70's - they lost a jet at Willy in 1975 or so when the pilot had a compresssor stall at low level (I've seen the wreckage).

Prior to that there was a "Miracles" team - also based on Mirage - that I think came from 2OCU - but can't be sure. At one time either Channel 9 or ABC had a 3 minute clip of them that they showed during intervals at the cricket etc. I had a copy of it on VHS.


In answer to your basic question - No......................

(Ex RAAF - 32 years service)
scran is offline  
Old 13th May 2011, 12:59
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Your questions appear to revolve around the aircraft type used by the team, but it most respects, as far as the RAAF is concerned, the aircraft type is a secondary consideration. It is driven by the unit that provides the team. Since the 1960's, the unit that has provided the official display team has been the Central Flying School. This is probably a good choice as the unit is the RAAF instructional standardisation unit, and does not have an "operational" ie front line focus (as opposed to, say, 76SQN/2OCU etc). This means the job of balancing competing priorities is less difficult.
So, whatever aircraft CFS operates will be the type the official team gets. From 1970ish to 1989ish, CFS operated the Macchi (), so that's what the team got. After that, the unit reequipped with the PC-9, so that's what the team got.
A question that is often put to the team is, "why don't you guys fly the Hawk?".....see above. Another reason is - be careful what you wish for. Relatively speaking, the PC-9 is an aircraft with a low landing speed, short runway capability, low ACN (a number that determines whether the runway and tarmac of a particular airport can handle the aircraft "footprint"). It can, and does, operate from grass fields. So, the Roulettes are able to range far and wide to present the show and represent the RAAF in many places they could not operate into if they were flying the Hawk.
In these times of increasing scrutiny over every defence dollar spent, the fact the Roulettes are (a) a part time team, (be) operate an inexpensive platform and (c) can deliver the show to the majority of locations in the country should deflect most criticism about having such a team. This is certainly a position that many full time jet teams overseas do not enjoy.
So, to answer your specific question: yes, the Roulettes could certainly put on a more exciting show flying jets (Hawks/Hornets). But could we afford it? Could we justify such an expense? What would the opportunity cost be? Who would get to see it? How often and where could they fly?
I put it to you the RAAF has stuck with the arrangements it has for the last 40 years because they appreciate that for an airforce our size, the Roulettes easily deliver the best bang for buck.
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Old 14th May 2011, 04:08
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In answer to your question, no. Half a dozen Harvards would be a lot cheaper / noisier / closer to the crowd / in view longer / war-ier / more suitable for blowing the crowd over while taxying out, than PC-9s.

Really, there is something just too polite about PC-9's whirring their way through formation aerobatics. While the crowd would appreciate what the Roulettes are and do, what they really want is a thrill and that went out with the Macchi and the introduction of the offset display line concept.

Another point is the lack of advertising about Roulette shows. They have been in Darwin twice in the last six months and both times most people only knew after the fact when seeing ten seconds of the display on the 6pm news.
Advertising seems to be left in the hands of the associated event, rather than via a RAAF PR organisation who should spruik the thing for weeks before hand.

Still, if some little kiddie is going to turn into a pilot, even a static display is going to flick the switch in his/her head

Last edited by The Wawa Zone; 14th May 2011 at 05:38.
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