Big Pig

 

While it’s easy to be unkind about the big, heavy and expensive F-111 Aardvark, it was definitely a multi-tonne Mach 2 marvel for its time. So as a special treat, here’s a bit of a walk-around of the Royal Australian Air Force’s A8-134, now thoroughly ‘de-fanged’ and permanently retired.

#134 (cn D1-10) is a General Dynamics F-111C on long term loan from the RAAF to the South Australian Aviation Museum. The C model was a special reconnaissance variant of the Aardvark, developed for the RAAF with longer wings, strengthened undercarriage, and a sophisticated camera fitout.

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A8-134 first flew at Fort Worth on November 18th, 1968 but the type didn’t become operational with the RAAF until July 25th, 1973 – after a long series of technical issues had been worked through.

She was modified to RF-111C standard in 1980 and served with both No.3 and No.1 Squadrons before being retired on December 3rd, 2010. After a period of outside storage at RAAF Amberley in Queensland, and then on display in the RAAF Amberley Aviation Heritage Centre, she was repainted in SEA camouflage and trucked to the SAAM for loan/display, arriving there on March 18th, 2013.

2 thoughts on “Big Pig

  1. I love the F-111. From the unusual ejection setup to the swing wing to the way it could perform the most memorable airshow fly-bys, it just had a lot of character. I think we are going to miss that as we transitioned into more and more automated and drone like aircraft

    1. I have to admit I’m not nearly as passionate about the big bird. But I’ll never forget the first time I saw one display – first slow and spread, then fast and delta, and a ‘dump-and-burn’ finale. I literally had an “Ahhhhh” moment, and instantly understood why the fans were so enthralled. It also drips with technology, and it’s a real privilege to get as close as I can to one.

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