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First two RAAF Roulettes Pilatus PC-21s arrive

written by australianaviation.com.au | July 24, 2018


The first two aircraft for the Air Force Roulettes in Darwin. (Sid Mitchell)
The first two aircraft for the Royal Australian Air Force Roulettes in Darwin. (Sid Mitchell)

The first two aircraft for the Royal Australian Air Force’s (RAAF) aerobatic display team have arrived in Australia.

The pair of Pilatus PC-21s, with registration HB-HWS and HB-HWT, landed in Darwin on Saturday July 21 from Kupang in Indonesia, as these photographs from Sid Mitchell showed.

On Sunday, the PC-21s flew from Darwin to Adelaide via Alice Springs, according to flight tracking website FlightAware. The following day, the two aircraft reached RAAF Base East Sale.

The Air Force Roulettes are replacing the Pilatus PC-9/A, which have been flown since 1989, with the PC-21s.

VIDEO: A look at the Roulettes in action from the RAAF’s YouTube channel.

The Australian Defence Force is acquiring 49 PC-21s as well as simulators and training devices under the AIR 5428 Pilot Training System.


Under AIR 5428, the PC-21 will replace both the ageing Pilatus PC-9/A advanced trainer, which has been in service since 1988, and the CT-4B Airtrainer, which is currently used for basic training. The PC-9/A is due to be withdrawn in 2019 after 30 years of service and more than 500,000 flying hours.

AIR 5428 is an integrated system designed to train all future Royal Australian Air Force, Royal Australian Navy and Australian Army pilots. The project spans flight screening through all phases of pilot training from basic flying training at Central Flying School (CFS) at RAAF Base East Sale through to the advanced flying training at 2FTS (No 2 Flying Training School) at RAAF Base Pearce, north of Perth.

Lockheed Martin is the prime contractor with responsibility for delivering AIR 5428 and is providing the ground-based training environment, with Pilatus providing the PC-21 aircraft and Hawker Pacific providing maintenance support.


The first six PC-21s advanced trainers were formally welcomed into service at RAAF Base East Sale in August 2017.

Some images of the Air Force Roulettes first two PC-21s at Darwin from Sid Mitchell

Comments (14)

  • TwinTiger


    Why the Swiss Flag on the tail?
    Are they awaiting formal handover to the RAAF at East Sale?
    Or does a Swiss ‘passport’ make it easier to traverse international boundaries en route …?

    • Matt


      Registered in Switzerland, hence the HB-

  • James


    Love to fly one of them. Looks unreal.

    @ Owen Zupp

    See if you can get your hands on this thing at the same time as the PC-12! Lol

  • Adam Singer


    Terrible paint job!

  • Frank Beetz


    Until they are formally handed over and de-registered from the Swiss civil register (see the HB registration) the risk and title is still with the manufacturer !

  • Randal


    Still on the Swiss civil register for the ferry

  • Bob


    They would have been flown out under Swiss registration .

  • Stuart


    To add to the comments about the Swiss registration it is a requirement of that registration to have the Swiss flag on the aircraft.
    @ Twintiger, it is not the Swiss passport that makes the transit easier it is being a civilian registered aircraft, the overflight approvals would be much more complicated for military registered aircraft and the PC21s are owned by Pilatus until handover at East Sale.

  • Richard McLean


    I remember when the PC9’s were delivered .. getting old!

  • Damian


    Terrible paint-job! Not only does it look terrible but it appears to have no discernable pattern or ‘meaning’…..just a series of random triangles (?)

  • Guy


    Whilst the pilots are no doubt fit, I doubt that they do acrobatics. Surely the aircraft are for the aerobatic display team.

  • Paul


    So embarrassing to have your countries display team as the PC-21!!!!??? Super hornets would be much more better!

  • Iva Falsename


    Rumour has it that the triangles will lead to a team rename from “The Roulettes” to “The Doritos”, with the added benefit of the branding rights paying for airshow fuel.

  • Allan


    What was wrong with the current paint scheme? Is the new scheme fleet wide or specific to the Roulettes?

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