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 Red Star Яoolettes

Australia's Nanchang & Yak Formation Aerobatic team
Next display  : Pacific Air Show Gold Coast 16-18 Aug 2024


Team History


The group started with Lindsay Sinclair the father of eastern block aircraft introduction into Australia and his company Red Star Aviation. This comprised a group of enthusasists  that toured Australia in their Eastern block  flying machines. Lindsay also introduced the Chinese Nanchang to the group.

The name " Яoolettes" evolved at a Queensland air show. The RAAF Roulettes could not get to the show due to severe weather between them and the show venue. The organisers approached Lindsay and his group and asked if they could do some flypasts to fill in for the RAAF Roulettes. Lindsay said yes. The organisers then asked if the group had a name. Lindsay made one up on the fly ... "Call us the Russian Яoolettes" ... The name has stuck ever since.

In March 2022 the Russian prefix was dropped and we are now known as "The Red Star Яoolettes". This reflects the team's origins and acknowledges Lindsay's pivotal role in forming the team

The teams aircraft are hangared in the Southern Highlands of NSW at Mittagong,Luskintyre and Wagga Wagga. We train regularly to keep our skills sharp. In 2019 the team flew nine 5 ship Displays and thirty dedicated 5 ship practice sessions. The teams training base is Cowra. Thanks to the unbelievable support of the town council, the people of Cowra and particluarly FlyOz. The Team is unique in flying two differrent types of of aircraft in a synchronised display. The aim is to always have something in front of the crowd. The team is also FAST compliant.

 The Team has performed at the following:

AUSFLY 2015 Narromine,

Armidale 2015

Tamworth 2014

Gunnedah 2015

Moree 2015

Hunter Valley Air Show (Maitland) 2015

Australia Day Sydney Harbour 2015,2017

Scone Warbirds Down under 2018

Bathurst 2018

Wings Over Illawarra 2018,2019

Avalon International Air Show 2019

RAAF Airshow Edingburgh 2019

Temora 2013, 2015,2018,2019 (scheduled for 2022 show that was cancelled due weather)

Wings Over Illawarra 2018,2019

Watts Bridge (Brisbane Air Show) 2018

Warrumbungle Wings and things (Coonabarabran) 2022

Pacific Air Show Gold Coast 2023

Iimage: Mike Abbott


Team Aircraft

The team fly two types of aircraft the Nanchang CJ6A and the Yak52.

Both these aircraft come from a common linage the YAK18. Subsequent development lead to the YAK52 and the  Nanchang. Both aircraft share many design features one of which is a complete lack of Hydraulics. Pneumatic systems are used for engine start,undercarriage retraction/extension, wheel braking and flap operation.

Nanchang CJ6A

This is the larger of the two and was the first indigenous aircraft designed in China. The aircraft is built by the Nanchang aircraft company in Nanchang China. In Australia it is known as the "Chang". The team's aircraft have all been re-engined with the M14PF engine of 400hp. the original  Housai engine was rated at 285hp. The teams M14 engined Changs have significantly improved performance over a stock Chang. The Chang is rated to +6G and to -3G. Though not quite as aerobatic as the Yak it is significantly faster in the cruise with better vertical performance. The Chang has a Vne of 200Knots. The Teams aircraft with the bigger engine are known as "Uber Changs"


The Yak52 was designed in Russia as a basic to intermediate trainer and was used by the  DOSAAF (state run flying school) . It too is powered by the M14 radial engine of 360Hp. The YAK is a fully aerobatic aircraft with no manoeuver limitations. It is rated to +7.5G to -3G and has a Vne of 220Knots. The YAK has a dedicated inverted oil and fuel system that provides an extended inverted and negative G capability. The aircraft is generically known in Australia as the "Yak"


The Team


Niall Higgins. A founding member of the team and the teams linguist with extensive experience in the YAK, Tiger Moth and Stearman. Niall is a rated QFI. Team Yak Pilot


Al Pickering. Ex RAAF Helicopter pilot (and proud of it!) Al has flown the UH-1H "Huey" Iroquois/Gunship, CT4A and YAK52. Al is a qualified military and civil flying instructor. FAST check pilot. Team Yak pilot Former A330 Captain with QANTAS.


Phil Deacon. "The Doktor" Phil is the teams resident engineer. Phenomenal knowledge of Chang and Yak  technical details. Phil is also a Yak52 pilot.


Sharon Willard. Team secreatary and Treasurer. A pilot in her own right qualified on the YAK18T

Jim Eaglen. Ex RAAF fighter pilot with extensive Fighter time on Mirage III Tornado F3 and FA18.Former Team Chang Pilot and Chang owner, now team advisor . FAST check pilot

A330 Captain in QANTAS


Sean Trestrail. Ex RAAF fighter pilot and Fighter Combat Instructor (FCI) with extensive experience on the Mirage III and FA18 . Sean is the  Team manager.

Sean is also a  FAST check pilot. Team Chang pilot.

Former A380 Captain in QANTAS


Alex Von Mengersen "The Count"

Alex is a commercial pilot, who operates adventure flights out of Wagga Wagga as well as a LAME and avionics engineer. Fast lead pilot. Team Chang Pilot.


Mike Glynn. Ex RAAF Caribou

pilot. the teams assessor also

responsible for Media.

Mike was a former Chang owner.

Former Boeing 747 Captain with QANTAS


Egon Mahr. A founding Team member.  Ex RAAF pilot with extensive experience on the HS748,BAC111,Winjeel and SU26. Egon has extensive unlimited aerobatic experience . FAST check pilot. Former Team Chang pilot, now Team mentor and advisor. Former A330 Captain in QANTAS


Colin Turner. Team Photographer and Private pilot.


Contact the Team

Our Address

Red Star Яoolettes

PO BOX 118


NSW 2752



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