The pride of the Royal Australian Air Force is the supersonic F1-11 fighter bomber -- also called the 'Cadillac of the skies' by its pilots.
The pride of the Royal Australian Air Force is the supersonic F1-11 fighter bomber -- also called the 'Cadillac of the skies' by its pilots. Although four of Australia's F1-11's have crashed, the men who fly them have tremendous faith in the planes. The swing-wing jet is a big step up from other aircraft flown by the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), and pilots and navigators have to undergo an intensive training course before they're allowed to operate the aircraft for the first time. Mistakes can be expensive -- the F1-11's are worth about 16 million dollars (U.S.) each (ABOUT GBP 7 million sterling).
SYNOPSIS: Flying the F1-11 is considered to be one of the glamour jobs in the Royal Australian Air Force. Twenty-four of these planes were ordered ten years ago at a price tag of one hundred and fifty million dollars (U.S.). When the aircraft were finally delivered the price had more than doubled.
Air crews spend weeks mastering the controls of the aircraft, initially in a flight simulator at the Amberley Air Force base in Queensland.
One design Characteristic of the F1-11 is its swing-wing. Understanding the theory of it is also new to the pilots. The wing enables the plane to redesign itself in flight, from the fixed wing shape of a slower aircraft, to an arrowhead shape for supersonic flight.
The student pilots operate the aircraft under the eye if an instructor, but are expected to carry out most normal procedures themselves.
All of the trainees are expected to undertake their first flight on their first day. First flights, like these, call for extreme concentration, and its not until they're back on the ground that most students feel the full effect of the flights.
Since it was conceived in 1959 the F1-11 has been flying in a storm of controversy. Some twenty-five of the planes have crashed in America, and four others have crashed in Australia However the Australians say that they are still very pleased with the safety record of the place.