11 Februari 2010

Air Force Grounds F-111 Fleet

11 Februari 2010

All F-111 flying has been temporarily suspended. (photo : Wiki)

The Royal Australian Air Force's fleet of F-111s has been grounded after the engine in one of the fighter bombers caught fire in mid-air.

The aircraft was performing in the Singapore Air Show on February 4 when on-board instrumentation indicated an engine fire although no fire was visible to air traffic controllers.

The pilot completed his safety checklist, declared a mayday and landed without incident at Changi air base.

Inspection of the aircraft revealed some fire damage in the left engine.

An RAAF spokesman said an investigation into the incident has begun.

"Air Force takes flight safety very seriously. The aircrew handled this incident swiftly and decisively," the spokesman said.

He said all F-111 flying had been temporarily suspended while the cause of the fire is determined.

The ageing F-111 fleet will be retired at the end of the year and will eventually be replaced by the Joint Strike Fighter.

(ABC)

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