LAST year was supposed to be the last F-111 dump and burn at Brisbane’s Riverfire festival, but just like a good live band, the jets have come back on stage for one final encore.
Wing Commander Micka Gray, of RAAF Base Amberley’s Number 6 Squadron, last year said 2009’s Riverfire appearance would be their last.
For the many fans of the iconic dump and burn – where the F-111 releases fuel and sets it alight with its afterburners – the news it would no longer be performed was devastating.
But the RAAF has changed its mind and will give residents of south-east Queensland one last chance to see a dump and burn at this year’s Riverfire festival.
Brisbane Festival general manager Valmay Hill told The Queensland Times yesterday that the F-111s would definitely turn out this year.
“Brisbane Festival is happy to confirm the F-111 dump and burn will return to Brisbane’s skies for the final time on September 4 as part of QBE Riverfire 2010,” she said in a statement.
“We’re excited to have the Australian Defence Force onboard again as part of this much-loved event which launches the three-week Brisbane Festival program in front of over half-a-million Queenslanders.
“We can confirm that 2010 will be the last year audiences can experience the F-111 dump and burn before the aircrafts are decommissioned and replaced by the F/A-18F Super Hornet.”
While RAAF Base Amberley has taken stock of 11 F/A-18F Super Hornets – the jets set to replace the F-111s when they are retired – the new aircraft do not have dump and burn capabilities.
Wing Commander Gray has previously told the QT that performing the dump and burn at Riverfire gave his pilots invaluable training.
“Riverfire is great for us because the mission simulates what we do for a tactical training mission,” he said.
“There’s an enormous audience of hundreds and thousands of people and the media, so the pressure is on the boys to get it right.
“It simulates the level of pressure that’s not always there in some other simulations we do.”
This year’s Brisbane Festival runs from September 4-25. For more details visit www.brisbanefestival.com.au.