The loss of the aircraft’s port main wheel soon after takeoff was the cause of the incident
In the video in this post, a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) F-111 emergency lands at RAAF Base Amberley after experiencing wheel failure during takeoff.
The F-111C A8-143 was the aircraft that was involved in the incident, which occurred on July 18, 2006. It is noteworthy that the loss of the plane’s port main wheel shortly after takeoff was the cause of the disaster.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that after two hours of planning, during which they dumped fuel in nearby Moreton Bay, the F-111 aircrew members—Flying Officer Peter Komar, a novice pilot, and Flight Lieutenant Luke Warner, an experienced navigator—were instructed to try a belly landing after the tower informed them of the missing wheel.
The F-111 aircrew explains in the video that as their damaged jet descended, they lowered the aircraft tailhook, which picked up a cable and assisted in bringing it to a stop. As the jet rolled on its belly along the tarmac, it generated a shower of sparks.
On September 6, 1973, the F-111 CA8-143 was delivered to the RAAF. In 1980, it was upgraded to RF-111C reconnaissance standard. The aircraft was never fixed after the belly landing, and its rudder and fin are still on display at RAAF Base Amberley.
The RAAF F-111s’ history is pretty fascinating.
In 1963, the Australian government bought 24 F-111C aircraft. The first of these was delivered to the RAAF on September 4, 1968, while the remainder were finished between 1968 and the beginning of 1969. But soon after, the whole fleet was grounded in the United States while severe flaws in the F-111’s design were fixed. The 24 aircraft were finally accepted by the RAAF in 1973, and between June 1 and December 4 of that year, four groups of them were flown to Australia.
Four F-111C aircraft were converted to RF-111C reconnaissance planes. Between October 1979 and April 1979, these modifications were made to the first, A8-126, in the United States. Between July and September 1980, Australia changed the other three.
As attrition replacements, the RAAF acquired four ex-U.S. Air Force (USAF) F-111As in 1981. These planes were delivered to the service in 1982 and later upgraded to F-111C specifications.
To prolong the useful life of the type, the Australian government opted to buy up to 18 former USAF F-111Gs in 1992. The RAAF eventually received 15 F-111G aircraft, which were delivered in late 1993 and early 1994. Additionally, three other ex-USAF F-111Gs were kept in the U.S. for Australia but were never delivered.
On December 3, 2010, the RAAF retired its F-111 fleet. During the service life of the type, eight F-111s (seven F-111Cs and one F-111G) were destroyed in accidents, which resulted in the deaths of ten airmen.
Photo from screenshot video