After an 8 month long application process, the Port Adelaide Aviation Museum has been one of six groups nationwide to take delivery of the flash, albeit retired, F-111 jet. The applicants have been filling in forms since February, having to prove the plane would be looked after. One wonders, of course, if this amount of costly and time-consuming bureaucracy is absolutely necessary. When a Museum describes itself as a State Aviation museum, the odds are high that anything in their care will be looked after but that’s a discussion for another day. Meanwhile, the Adelaide museum president, David Byrne, is over the moon about the impending acquisition: “The F-111 was simply such an iconic aircraft because so many people recognise it and know it. We have nothing like it at all in our collection. It’s not until you stand next to it that you realise how awesome it is.”
F-111s were part of the Australian Defence Force for almost four decades, from 1973 until 2010, when they were replaced by a squadron of Super Hornets. Mr Byrne said the US used its fleet in the Vietnam War and to bomb Libyan leader Muamar Gaddafi in the 1980s, but Australia’s jets were not needed for combat and instead served as a “deterrent’. The planes, which could fly at two-and-a half times the speed of sound, were endearingly nicknamed “Pigs” because they could hunt at night and fly low in the weeds.
“Anyone thinking of attacking you would want to think twice because these aircraft had the capability to retaliate quite effectively,” he said.