A Picture Paints a Thousand Words

January 11, 2007

This is my all time favourite shot of an F-111 – even though it cannot actually be seen. In fact it was taken by the F-111. We had cleared a small country airport with air traffic control and the local flying club. Nothing in the air in the local circuit in order for us to have a low level practise run up the length of the runway. But no one thought to tell the local painting contractor, who obviously thought that a “non flying” afternoon was a good opportunity to get out and paint some of the runway markings (the hard way!!). What this poor contractor was thinking a second or so after this photo was taken …Well, I would love to know.
(In case you miss the point of the photo, that is the shadow of the nose of the aircraft appearing from the left hand edge of the frame – one jet bomber at low level is about to distract him for a moment or two).

Gratuitous Aardvark

January 7, 2007

A gratuitous shot of a Royal Australian Air Force F-111 cleaning up. Actually, in RAAF service this aircraft was affectionately known as “The Pig”. I don’t think anyone ever called it the Aardvark. In fact even that nomenclature only happened long after it was a front line success.

RAAF F-111 Belly Landing

January 3, 2007

Nothing that can be said here really – check out a recent F-111 landing sans wheels – just an arrestor hook. A handy piece of gear hung over from its orginal Navy design!!

Aardvark (Pig) – F111

December 28, 2006

OK, I am a tragic F-111 fan. Just found this video on YouTube. It is a montage of Royal Australian Air Force F-111 video clips which contains a couple of people I know. I may be mistaken but at the beginning of the clip the crew member doing the preflight walk around looks remarkably like Shorty. (internal Blog link) Lost with Hobbs in Malaysia in 1999. And later on in the clip the reclining pilot is Geoff Shepherd(leaving site). He was CO at 6 SQN when I was there and went on to become the Air Commander, Australia and is now the Chief of the RAAF. Affectionately known as “Blinky” throughout the squadron for an involuntary tic he had, which only went away when it was time for his aircrew medical – the worst kept secret at the unit. His fellow pilots attributed that tic to his Mirage III ejection. Probably part of the squadron “urban legend” fabric but it made for a good story.

And nicely slipped into the middle of it all is a brief extract from the controversial Pavetack image run on the Australian Defence HQ – sometime in 1988 or 1989 if I recall correctly. The Air Force made the pungent point that those crosshairs could be placed on anyones office pretty much at will. It was an exercise that upset a few politicians and bureaucrats but the F-111 folk loved it.

The video quality is awful – just go along for the ride!!