Rare Event Nowadays: Two Royal Australian Air Force F-111 Paired

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On Saturday 18th May 2019 a unique opportunity to view and photograph two F-111s together since their retirement from the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) in 2010 was organised by both the RAAF and South Australian Aviation Museum. The aircraft were RF-111C serial number A8-134 and F-111C serial number A8-132. Aircraft A8-134 previously operated with RAAF 1 & 6 Squadrons at RAAF Base Amberley in Queensland and aircraft A8-132 was previously operated by Aircraft Research and Development Unit (ARDU) RAAF at RAAF Base Edinburgh in South Australia. Photographers and enthusiasts were allowed approximately half hour to view and photograph both aircraft together.

This opportunity came about due to the Australian War Memorial taking over the loan of ex RAAF RF-111C serial number A-134 which was on loan to the South Australian Aviation Museum since its retirement from the RAAF. To quote from an Australian War Memorial press release titled Memorial to welcome RF-111C aircraft into National Collection released on 20 April 2018, “Aircraft A8-134 is the sole surviving RF-111C that participated in missions over East Timor and has the greatest operational provenance of the preserved Australian F-111 Fleet”.

The South Australian Aviation Museum was loaned aircraft A8-132 as a replacement for aircraft A8-134. This aircraft was housed at RAAF Edinburgh since its retirement from operational service with the RAAF in 2010 in the hope one day of being placed as a gate guard to the RAAF Base. This aircraft will fit nicely within the collection of the South Australian Aviation Museum due to its operational history at RAAF Edinburgh in South Australia. This seems to be the right home for this aircraft in its retirement years.

I would like to thank the RAAF and South Australian Aviation Museum for organising this event. It was such a well-run event. I made the decision to travel from Newcastle, NSW, Australia to the event and I was not disappointed with that decision. I was fortunate enough to meet up with fellow aviation enthusiasts during this event. I would like to thank Dion Makowski for asking me to write this article.

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