Home' Air Force News : December 9th 2010 Contents December 9, 2010
F-111 FAREWELL SPECIAL
LAC Aaron Curran
THE F-111 went out on Friday,
December 3, with a spec-
tacular six-ship display over
a crowd of more than 2000
Its final flight was one to
remember, with people in
the crowd cheering, clapping
and even crying as the F-111
reminded everyone of its abili-
ties and show-stopping pres-
In the grey skies over RAAF
Base Amberley, six 6SQN
F-111s conducted a flypast
in formation with one aircraft
doing a solo display and a low
and long dump and burn -- the
last one in history.
CO 6SQN Micka Gray, who
flew A8-125, said the weather
made moving the formation
"In the morning we picked
up on the sense of occasion
that was happening and then
we had to get back into flying
that fairly complicated sortie,"
he said. "It was a busy sortie
but very gratifying and looking
down at all the people was just
great. I tried not to think that it
was the last time -- but it was."
WGDCR Gray took with
him a RAAF Ensign, US flag
and his late father's 22SQN
When they landed, fami-
lies of the crews and a huge
media pack were waiting for
them -- and they were greeted
by thunderous applause from
A8-125 was the first F-111
to touch down on Australian
soil on June 1, 1973, and to
meet it and marshal it into
place was Daryll Macklin, then
a CPL airframe fitter. Daryll
was also there on its last day
and was given the honour of
marshalling it for the last time.
"I was proud and privileged
to be able to do it," he said.
"It was absolutely mag-
nificent and just like old times.
Who would have thought 37
years ago that I would be at
the start of it and at the end of
it as well?"
Another person with a link
to 125 was then airframe fitter
John Manuel, 62. John went to
the US to pick up the first six
F-111s and made sure he was
at the farewell.
"I worked on 125 in 1973,"
"Seeing the display gave
me goose bumps and it was
very emotional. They will never
Once the six Pigs were on
the tarmac and shut down
for the last time, two F/A-18F
Super Hornets flew low over
them to symbolise the chang-
ing of the guard and to say,
"We take over from here".
It was then back to the
Boeing hangar where WGDCR
Gray symbolically handed
the F-111 fleet back to CAF
AIRMSHL Mark Binskin.
With the toasting over and
speeches done, the thousands
of people, all with an associa-
tion with the F-111, then con-
verged on Matson Oval near
the front gate for a long barbe-
cue and even longer tales -- all
It was quite surreal because four
years ago we knew this was coming
up and all of a sudden we are here
at the end of the F-111. I will miss
working around it and it is the end
of a long line for me.
been an icon of Australia for many
years and has provided Air Force
with a great capability.
A lot of boys have worked on it,
doing long hours into the night and
early mornings, in wind and rain. I
dream come true for me.
I have been with the aircraft for 18
years and I absolutely love the girl.
of an era, but also good to see the
changing of the guard.
On some trips away we did long
days and hard work and when you
work well as a team it goes through
the whole group. There is still a lot
of loyalty to it out there.
I have been at 6SQN since 2008
and was lucky enough to be on the
last F-111 operational conversion
It has been an excellent experience
NOSTALGIC RETURN: Daryll Macklin
who marshalled 6SQN's A8-125, after
its final flight -- repeating the job he
did with Australia's first F-111 in 1973.
Photos: LAC Aaron Curran
BUZZING: Below, crowds take a last
look at the F-111. Photo: CPL Andrew Eddie
JUST GREAT: CO 6SQN WGCDR Micka Gray speaks to the media
after his last flight.
Photo: LACW Sandra Midson
performs the last
dump and burn.
Photo: CPL Andrew Eddie
Mathew Michell is
after stepping from an
F-111 for the final time.
Photo: LAC Dan Pinhorn
and also a bit sad that it is going.
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