According to Parkes Aero Club member Erik Lensson, Parkes and the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) have had a long and special association.
The club and the town had the privilege of hosting the RAAF’s Roulettes aerobatic team, not once but twice last year.
And there was a touching gesture towards the aero club during their last visit in November.
The town first welcomed the Roulettes in April for the 2018 Parkes Aero Spectacular at the Parkes Airport, which was a celebration of 70 years of flying in Parkes.
Erik and Warwick Tom were the organisers behind the massive air display and event and both were thrilled with the day’s turnout of 2200 people and the performance of the Roulettes.
While in the area, the Roulettes had a training run and photo shoot at the Parkes Radio Telescope the day before the Spectacular on April 14.
The pilots had in tow a gift they wanted to present to the aero club, but at last minute were unable to give it.
Upon their return to the shire in November to perform at the Band Together Farmers concert at the Parkes Showground – a fundraiser for the mental health of Central West farmers – the Roulettes pilots were given another opportunity to show their gratitude.
“The picture frame presented to us at Parkes Aero Club [in November] is the one that was meant to be given to us at the Parkes Aero Spectacular, but it got broken in transit back in April,” Erik said.
“The replacement photo is actually from the Friday, April 13 Roulettes flypast of the Dish.”
The pilots presented the new frame signed by the pilots, as well as a special plaque with the Roulettes logo, to new club president Wade McConnell, who was elected for the role in August last year.
“The Parkes Aero Club hosted the Roulettes airshow in 1985 flying Macchi jets, in 1993 and in April 2018, and the aerobatic team used our clubhouse as a base for the Band Together Farmers concert,” Erik said.
“The Roulettes home base is the Central Flying School, currently located in East Sale Victoria. However, Parkes Airport hosted the RAAF Central Flying School during and briefly after World War 2.
“Though the Roulettes formed much later, there is a valid connection to Parkes for the RAAF and therefore the Roulettes.”