Yallourn North local goes sky high

Views: An idea of how close the Roulettes get to each other on formation.



YALLOURN North native, Steven Heriban recently had the chance to present a Roulette display at the 2023 Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix over Phillip Island.

Mr Heriban works as an Instructors’ Instructor at the Sale RAAF Base but does Roulette performances like these up and down Australia.

“I attended Yallourn North Primary School and Lowanna College during high school. I enjoyed playing football and learnt to fly at the Latrobe Valley Aero in Traralgon from age 16, where I attained my GFPT (General Flying Process Test), before joining the RAAF at 18 (years-old),” Mr Heriban said.

“Coupled with the passion for aviation and a keen sense of adventure, the Air Force seemed like a logical career for me.

“I’ve spent more of my life in the Air Force than not and have had many postings around Australia as well as internationally.

“Flying with the Roulettes is a career highlight and by far the most challenging and exhilarating flying I’ve performed.”

The day before the Grand Prix (Friday, October 20), Mr Heriban had plans to do aerobic tricks over his hometown of Yallourn North, but they were subsequently binned after poor weather stopped the display from going ahead.

Ahead of the scheduled practice run over Yallourn North, Mr Heriban expressed his excitement to have the opportunity to fly over his hometown.

“While I absolutely love what I do, I also really enjoy coming home to such a beautiful part of the world and spending time with my friends and family who all still live in the Latrobe Valley,” he said.

“It is certainly going to be an incredible highlight to have the opportunity to perform a practise display overhead my hometown while we get ready for our Moto GP displays.”

Nonetheless, Mr Heriban was still prepared enough to do a Roulette display the following day at the Grand Prix. He was also scheduled to do another performance on Sunday (October 22), but that was cancelled due to weather too.

“We did make it to the MotoGP, we got a full display done on Saturday, and then (Sunday) was absolutely terrible weather, so we flew there and did a fly past, but the cloud was sitting at around 600 feet so we couldn’t do a display,” he said.

“It was amazing, I’ve been to the track, so it was really cool to see it from the air.

“We had five aircraft, we normally fly with six, but we had someone ill on the day.

“The weather opened up for about 20 minutes, so it was just enough time to get the display done.”

Mr Heriban has been within the Air Force longer than he hasn’t, spending the last 19 years at the RAAF Base, now holding an important role, teaching future instructors.

“We instruct instructors, so we take people coming off their aircraft types, so say they flew transport or fighters, they come to us and we teach them to be an instructor,” Mr Heriban said.

“They then go to the schools and teach them how to fly.”

Mr Heriban has been in a number of displays around the country this year alone, taking on displays at some Supercars events, including Sydney and Bathurst, as well as performing at the new Pacific Airshow on the Gold Coast in Queensland.

“We would hope for a flying display every weekend if we could,” he said.

Experience: Yallourn North local Steven Heriban as been with the Air Force since he was 18-years-old. Photographs supplied