Pictures: Australian General Dynamics F-111 approved for service re-entry after June wheels-up landing

Sydney
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By Emma Kelly in Perth

The Royal Australian Air Force's fleet of 26 General Dynamics F-111 strike aircraft has been approved to re-enter service on completion of checks of the aircraft.

The fleet was temporarily grounded in late July following the loss on one aircraft of a wheel on take-off, which resulted in a wheels-up emergency landing (pictured below). The left main wheel of the aircraft had fallen off shortly after take-off, when its undercarriage was retracted.

The aircraft circled the RAAF's Amberley air base near Brisbane for almost 3h to burn off fuel before the pilot made an emergency landing, with the aircraft suffering superficial damage.

An incident investigation team found that there was a problem with the installation of the main wheel nut on the aircraft. The RAAF intends to replace its F-111s - eight of which have crashed since the type entered Australian service in the 1970s - with Lockheed Martin's F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

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© RAAF

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