Roulettes energised by Air BP at Essendon Fields

A visit from the Royal Australian Air Force Roulettes to Essendon Fields is one of the many highlights of the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne, with their clockwork precision upon both landing and departure a true site to see for the 6,000 people who come to work in the Fields everyday. Amongst them, is Air bp, who this year played the role of refueller for the group of Pilatus PC-21’s.

Flying in formation, the Roulettes used Essendon Fields Airport as a base between air displays over Albert Park, with the need for a speedy, but safe, refuelling process imperative to ensure they were always on schedule for their next fly-by.

Brendan Craddock, owner of Craddock Aviation who runs Air bp’s Essendon Fields Airport facility, says his team’s role in supporting the Roulettes is always an exciting experience.

“The current Roulettes aircraft type is a Pilatus PC-21, which is one of the most advanced training aircraft in the world. It is always a pleasure to refuel these aircraft as it’s a rare occurrence in the aviation industry,’’ he said.

Two refuelling trucks to ensure ultimate efficiency and a significantly sized team were involved in the refuelling process led by Craddock Aviation’s father and son duo Brendan and Colin Craddock. The team also included Stacey McGill, Brendan Smith, Phillip Adams, Abel Teke, Kaylene Stevens and Troy Giri.

“Usually the squadron would depart as a team of six aircraft in formation, with the addition of a seventh aircraft positioned as backup stationed back at Essendon Fields. We arrange to have two refuelling vehicles present for the Roulettes, where possible, to ensure the most efficient refuelling. As soon as we’re finished the pilots can then commence their pre-flight checks and prepare for their next flight,” said Mr Craddock.

“We are so proud that the Roulettes are now a regular customer. This is the second year that Air bp and our on site operators Craddock Aviation have been involved with refuelling duties for the Roulettes during Melbourne’s Grand Prix, and we also assist whenever they are stationed out of Essendon Fields or when flying in during training exercises,’’ he said.

“We thoroughly enjoyed the experience of working with the Royal Australian Air Force and are already looking forward to the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne in 2024!’’

For more information on refueling at Air bp’s Essendon Fields facility, contact Nicholas Aquilina, General Aviation Manager via 0488 333 432 or