In November 2010 the PCDU team were invited to attend the Media Day at RAAF Amberley where members of 6 Squadron were gathered to give us one final look at the F-111 before it was retired from service. We have gathered the interviews we recorded during the Media Day and combined them with a couple of discussions to present our tribute to the F-111 and all those who helped to keep them in the air.
This is our longest episode to date so you may want to make use of the PAUSE button to get through it all. Like the PIG, it’s big, but we think the content is just too good to leave any of it out. The F-111 has been a major part of our lives over the last 30 years in Australia and New Zealand and anyone who has experienced the RAAF’s trademark “Dump & Burn” display will have some idea why we’re so sad to see them go.
From seeing an F-111 doing 4-point hesitation rolls, aileron rolls and a loop at Avalon to watching them racing past while sitting on the beach on a summer’s day, the F-111 became an icon of Australia’s military as they provided us with a long range projection of power. They leave a large gap in our force structure now that they have been retired and a hole in the hearts of many who kept them flying.
So long, pig and remember: That’ll do, Pig. That’ll do!
The contents of this episode include:
- The Media Day’s opening press conference (starts at 06:08)
- A discussion with David Vanderhoof about the history of the F-111 including its inception and service with the USAF & RAAF (starts at 32:06)
- We talk to Wing Commander Terry Deeth about his time as a bombadier/navigator (or Weapons Systems Officer) with the F-111 while on rotation to the USAF (starts at 51:33)
- We visited the F-111 simulator on the base and got to meet:
- Steve Clark, a former RAAF F111 pilot who has more hours in an F-111 than almost anyone else in the world (starts at 1:05:40)
- Brett Denton, a computer technician who helps to keep the simulator operating (starts at 1:11:29)
- While everyone likes to focus on the guys in the cockpit, an F-111 needs a lot of maintenance between flights so we managed to catch up with a few of the techos:
- Flight Lieutenant Adam Firth & Sergeant Chris Walker (starts at 1:15:32)
- Corporal James Morton (starts at 1:30:19)
- Corporal David Bash, an American now living in Australia (starts at 1:35:50)
- We talk with Flight Lieutenant Vlad Bismark about flying the F-111 (starts at 1:47:25)
- We have a chat with Brendan Cowan from ADF Serials about the history of the RAAF’s F-111s and with Chris Daley from the Save the F-111 page on Facebook about how the page developed and where it’s going now (starts at 1:55:28)
- We interview Wing Commander Al Curr who ejected from an F-111 on take off from RNZAF Ohakea in New Zealand (starts at 2:14:12)
- Our final chat is with Wing Commander Michael (Micka) Gray, officer commanding 6 Squadron and the world’s last F-111 unit commander (starts at 2:20:42)
We also have a couple of “Shout Outs” in this episode:
- Flight Lieutenant Skye Smith for her tireless efforts in making the Media Day run smoothly, not to mention herding us about the base and ensuring we didn’t wind up where we shouldn’t be (wonder if there’s a “Keeping media on track” medal in the ADF??? :)
- Listener Chris Whyte who we met at RAAF Amberley has produced an F-111 tribute video called “RAAF F-111 tribute feat. TV Rock – ‘In the Air'” – you can find it on YouTube and it’s well worth watching a few times