Heal flying to new heights with roulettes
SHE might not be a Top Gun but Bundaberg's Aimee Heal is doing the next thing.
And it was inspired by her home city.
At most motorsport events the Roulettes, through the Australian Air Force, will wow fans with their aerial display and manoeuvres.
The Bathurst 1000, Australian Formula One Grand Prix and the Adelaide 500 are just some of the events that have these machines in action before the start of their races.
Since January this year one of the Roulettes has been a Bundy pilot with Flight Lieutenant Heal joining the team this year after rising through the ranks.
But she was unable to show her talents with this year's Australian Formula One Grand Prix cancelled in Melbourne due to the coronavirus crisis.
"I've been in the Air Force for 11 years now and I love the variety of my work - so far I've flown King Air 350s, KC-30s and since January this year I've been flying PC-21s with our aerobatic display team, the Roulettes," Flt Lt Heal said.
"The Roulettes consists of seven pilots and we fly all around Australia to showcase a variety of manoeuvres in low-level formations."
Flt Lt Heal started her journey at the Australian Defence Force Academy for three years before doing a pilot's course and graduating from that in 2013.
She is now based in Victoria, at the RAAF Base in East Sale, at the Central Flying School.
Her role is to assist the other Roulettes and test the new aircraft, the PC-21.
"As Roulette 7, my role is to reduce the workload of Roulettes 1-6 to allow them to concentrate on flying," she said.
"I co-ordinate displays and public affairs activities with event organisers on behalf of the Roulette team and liaise with the Roulette Leader to ensure all events run efficiently.
"I also fly the spare aircraft to the event airfields and conduct any other flying CFS requires."
Her journey to being a pilot started in the Rum City when she was four and on a helicopter ride in the region.
It got her hooked.
"I've always wanted to be a pilot," she said.
"We used to visit the air show in Bundaberg and one time at the Agrotrend agricultural and farming show, my dad took me for a helicopter ride - I loved it!
"During high school, I realised the Air Force was a way for me to achieve my flying dream so I applied to study at the Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA) in Canberra when I finished Year 12." she said.
Flt Lt Heal will hopefully get to show off her skills later this year when the coronavirus pandemic recedes to allow major events to happen again.