F-111s fly over Noosa for the last time. Photo: Geoff Potter
F-111s fly over Noosa for the last time. Photo: Geoff Potter

F-111s final flight over Coast

THE F-111s have flown over the Sunshine Coast for the last time - a little late - but creating enough noise to spark some excitement among onlookers.

The Royal Australian Air Force's iconic fleet were expected to depart Amberley about 11.20am for the last time and fly over Ipswich, Brisbane, northern NSW and the Gold and Sunshine coasts before returning for their final landings at the Amberley RAAF Base.

Amateur photographer Leo Kiewik's love affair with the iconic F-111 once again led him to Ipswich.

The snapper from The Netherlands was among thousands of people to farewell the aircraft today.

“It will be the end of an era for me,” Mr Kiewik said after photographing Tuesday's dump-and- burn from outside the base.

“It will be the last time you see a flying F-111, and after that you will see them in a museum.”

Mr Kiewik arrived in Ipswich last week after visiting the region to photograph the F-111s in January.

He was a keen onlooker at the Mayor's Carols by Candlelight on Saturday, where he enjoyed his first night-time dump-and-burn.

“I was in Williamtown for the air show in September and I thought that would be my last chance to see the one-elevens,” Mr Kiewik said.

“Then I was invited to (last Friday's) media day and I decided to fly back to Australia.”

Mr Kiewik has photographed planes in France, Greece, Germany and Italy.

When he's not travelling the world, he works as an advisor at an employment agency.

“I like aircraft from the 1950s and '60s,” he said.

“I like the Hornets (which will replace the F-111s), but they're just not the same.”

The F111s passed overr Laidley, Rosewood, Amberley, Ipswich, and Brisbane.

The group then split, with aircraft flying a northern route over Sandgate, Redcliffe, Bribie Island, Caloundra, Maroochydore and Noosa.

They were to fly over Bribie Island at 11:27am, Sandgate, 11:55am, Redcliffe, 11:55am, Caloundra, noon, Maroochydore, 12:02, and Noosa at 12:05pm.

But the flight over Maroochyodore ended up being about 12.15pm.

A Defence spokesman said the iconic aircraft would return to Amberley about 12.45pm, to land for the last time.

“The Royal Australian Air Force and in particular the F-111 community wishes to acknowledge the outstanding public support and interest in the F-111 – a unique aircraft that has served Australia very well for over 37 years,” the spokesman said.

If you get a great photo - send to us at photo@scnews.com.au. The best will be published online and in tomorrow's Sunshine Coast Daily, together with those from our photographers at various locations.

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