Disaster struck RAAF aerobatic team

The newly-established ‘Red Sales’ aerobatic team from the Central Flying School, East Sale, crashed on this day while rehearsing for a performance at the base’s Air Force Week display the following month. Four Vampire T.35 jet trainers, two carrying passengers, took off from East Sale at 1.44 pm. Disaster struck about 20 minutes later, during recovery from a formation barrel roll at low level. All four aircraft ploughed into a timbered rise some 12 kilometres south-west of the base and exploded on impact, killing instantly the six men on board. Debris was scattered over a wide area, and the wreckage cut telephone and power lines in the area. The formation of a new team was officially announced on 27 February 1963, with the ‘Telstars’ making their debut public performance in four Vampires the next day.

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