RAAF Roulettes

Australian Air Force Roulettes performing in PC-21 aircraft over Canberra, Australia
The Australian Air Force Roulettes performing aerobatics over Lake Burley Griffin, Canberra
Smoke lingers from the Royal Australian Airforce aerobatics display in PC-21 aircraft in black and white

Made up of six aircraft and seven members, the Roulettes are the Royal Australian Air Force's formation aerobatics team. Photographed at the RAAF's 100th anniversary display in Canberra, the six Pilatus PC-21 single-turboprops advance through the autumn air, each pilot harnessed and G-suited at the controls to combat the impact of gravitational forces on the body.

Depicted climbing, then arching over and splitting into six fingers, this sequence, in a way, reminded me of John Baldessari's 1973 series Throwing Three Balls in the Air to Get a Straight Line (Best of Thirty-Six Attempts). Needless to say, aircraft flown at the hands of an aerobatic team are far more controlled, yet the visual enquiry into gravity, the introduction of inorganic objects to an atmosphere and the study of the interactions these airborne bodies share makes a compelling and distinct artistic investigation in itself. In the final image, air rushes in to whip up the smoke trails left by each roulette, a skeletal polydactyl hand.