Stubfin
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Mystery to me F-111

Fri Jun 30, 2017 12:42 am

Saw a picture of an F-111 in an air park next to Inde Motorsports Ranch in Willcox AZ. Nothing on their website about it. Tough to tell what model due to the angle of the shot but there's one clue that points to a possible FB or G model. Anyone know anything about it like the model, tail number, how it got there and when. Worked FBs and Fs over 13 years. Just curious.
 
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Stitch
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Re: Mystery to me F-111

Fri Jun 30, 2017 1:15 am

Here is an Instagram Pic of it:
Image
 
Stubfin
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Re: Mystery to me F-111

Fri Jun 30, 2017 1:57 am

Thanks for the reply. Ya that's one of two photos I was looking at. That photo eliminates the jet as an F-111A model - no intake spliter. Unfortunately, that's all it eliminates. The other photo is from the other side and a bit closer but from the same lousy angle. The only clue there points to an FB or G model as there is a raised area on top just in front of the cockpit. That indicates the former astrocompass system tracker installation on the FB-111A. I Believe it was left alone when they moded them to G models. So the search goes on. Thanks again Stitch.
 
JeffSFO
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Re: Mystery to me F-111

Sat Jul 01, 2017 10:25 am

According to this site it's an F-111F (74-0187 / CC [cn E2-105]):

http://www.aerialvisuals.ca/AirframeDossier.php?Serial=184401

Any chance you worked on this particular frame?

A little history: it's a combat veteran, having participated in both Operation El Dorado Canyon (the bombing of Libya in 1986 and the longest fighter combat mission in history) and Operation Desert Storm in 1991:

Image
74-0187 F-111F 27FW by RedRipper24, on Flickr

It also has the distinction of being the last F-111 to enter AMARC back in 1996...

http://www.f-111.net/t_no_F.htm

...and of being the last F-111 in the boneyard as of 2015:

Image
Airfighters.com photo by Peter Boschert

Inde Motorsports Ranch could have only acquired it recently which explains why there's so little information available about it at present. Good acquisition on their part--I'm glad to know that it wasn't cut up for scrap!
 
Stubfin
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Re: Mystery to me F-111

Mon Jul 03, 2017 12:53 am

Thanks for taking the time to dig out all that info and respond. Never heard of the airialvisuals website but looks like it's packed with fascinating info. That info convinced me the mystery was solved until I took a look at Google Earth. GE presents a clear overhead view of the F-111 sitting at the dispaly area and plainly shows the longer wings of an FB-111A. As can be seen, the wingtips align with the trailing edge of the horizontal stabs. The F-111Fs wings were 3.5 feet shorter also in common with the the F-111A, D, E and EF models. An F-111Fs wingtips should align a few feet further up the leading edge of the stabs with the wings swept fully aft. The only other model to have the longer wings were the defunct F-111B and the Australian F-111C. It's neither of those. You got me ooohhhh sooooo close!

Did I work on 187? Specifically I don't remember, but then theirs only a handful of tail numbers I do remember specifically working on. The rest are a blur. There were four squadrons of F-111Fs at Lakenheath. It could have been assigned to another squadron. I rarely worked on other squadron's jets. I found a short statement on the AMARG website stating 187 was assigned to the 431st Test & Eval squadron at McClellan AFB and spent time at Edwards AFB from 89-91. I was at the Lakenheath from 87-92 so for a good part of the time I was in England it was in California.

Could this jet still be F-111F 187? Sure. AMARG doesn't say it was scrapped. The disposition column is blank. I've contacted the Inde Ranch but no repsonse as yet. I'll be contacting airialvisions to see where they got their info. I'm still piling up the evidence for a final verdict. Keep it coming.
 
Stubfin
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Re: Mystery to me F-111

Mon Jul 03, 2017 10:40 pm

The "other photo" showing the raised area on top in front of the cockpit: https://nasaaz.com/wp-content/uploads/2 ... eathre.jpg
 
rmxr
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Re: Mystery to me F-111

Wed Jul 05, 2017 9:00 am

Long wings, astro housing, bigger wheel/tire/brake package spells FB/G to me.

I've got a bit of info tucked away here that I'll go thru that will help eliminate some tail numbers as possibilities.

Back soon.
 
rmxr
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Re: Mystery to me F-111

Wed Jul 05, 2017 10:01 am

I would say that F-111F 74-0187 is the one remaining F-111 at AMARC. Recent Google Earth photo shows one F-111 remaining at AMARC south-west of the Kolb Rd underpass. It would be the last-built F-111 in existence and probably being held as a significant aircraft. It was actually the second last F-111 off the production line but the last-built aircraft, 74-0188 was destroyed in a crash during service.
 
RetiredWeasel
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Re: Mystery to me F-111

Wed Jul 05, 2017 4:27 pm

As rmxr stated, the current AMARG inventory list (15 Jun 2017) shows 74-0187 as still being on the property and the only F-111 left and recent google imagery shows it still parked in Area 20 at AMARG.

http://www.gmap.nl/wp-content/uploads/a ... entory.pdf

That being said, here's another photo of the aircraft at the Wilcox Indy Track which clearly shows the tail number of 74-0187:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1LCPFYqzT7Rh2IVwVM_2LXTglqCRuYllaZw/view?usp=sharing

So there is some sort of anomaly that maybe you can sort out. I'm certainly not an expert on F-111 model differences.
 
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Tugger
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Re: Mystery to me F-111

Wed Jul 05, 2017 5:31 pm

A couple questions:
The canopy seems "clouded" in one of the pictures (reply #6) but the others at Inde Motorsports show it as clear. Is that just due to the viewing angle?
Also would they/why would they paint over the battles it had participated in? It seems to me those are something to keep, it is the history of the aircraft.

Tugg
I don’t know that I am unafraid to be myself, but it is hard to be somebody else. -W. Shatner
 
rmxr
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Re: Mystery to me F-111

Thu Jul 06, 2017 2:31 am

The more I look at the photo of that jet, the more I believe it is an FB-111A or F-111G.

I think the Tail Code and Tail Number (CC and 74-0187) have been added to that aircraft, perhaps to make it look like something it isn't.

The aircraft has long wings (5 sets of hi-lift devices vs 4), bigger, fatter tyres (sorry tires), and astro-compass hump.

Pity we don't have a shot of the centerbody area between the tailpipes; The FB/G had a different afterburner configuration from the others. The afterburners came pretty much on the axis of the engines while the other models had a kicked-up (7 degrees from memory) afterburner. If you look at side-on photos, the line of the engine/afterburner in the FB/G is a straight line, while the others have a noticeable curve upwards. The fuel dump nozzle was lower on the FB/G sitting just below the 'figure 8' panel while the others had the nozzle in the lower part of the '8'.

Towards the back of the fin, forward of the rudder, above right of the CC marking, partly overlapped by the squadron, wing, command (?) insignia is a small oblong access panel. I believe that this is a transponder access panel that was unique to FB/G.

We'll get this bird identified yet!

Cheers from the land of the mighty F-111C.
 
Stubfin
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Re: Mystery to me F-111

Thu Jul 06, 2017 10:44 pm

So much info. Now I know what it's like to stand under Niagara Falls. Awesome!

RetiredWeasel - "current AMARG inventory list (15 Jun 2017) shows 74-0187 as still being on the property and the only F-111 left and recent google imagery shows it still parked in Area 20 at AMARG." Well that's a definite green flag for an FB/G vote.

That photo you dug up throws more mud in the picture. If it's an FB, and evidence points to it, why is it marked with a F model tail number that is supposed to be still at AMARG. If that is indeed the case then my guess is the owner had some connection to 187 during it's lifetime and just marked an available FB/G as 187. Sure wouldn't be the first time. The most glaring example is the gate guard at RAF Lakenheath. We had nothing but F models there and in the end they stick an E model on a pole and mark it up as an F. A sacrilege to anyone stationed there during those days. That said, I guess they had to do what they had to do.

Tugger - Why clouded? I can only guess and say the clouded "glass" photo was from some years ago and the second photo was more recent as evidenced by the somewhat new darker gray paint. They may have cleaned up the cloud just as we clean plastic headlights that fog up due to the sun beating on them. The canopy "glass" was some sort of polycarbon laminate - best an avionics guy can come up with.

Paint over battles - You mean the banners in the photo on post #4? As I understand it, 74-0187 was the last F-111 headed to the boneyard. The banners were a final goodby to the US F-111 fleet and signified all the wings and their combat contributions. It was a one off gesture. Sadder yet was painting over the combat mission markings on the F models a few months after returning from the Gulf War. They should never have been touched or at least reapplied. 390 at the AF museum still has them but that's about it. http://www.f-111.net/t_no_F_files/lastF-artwork.jpg

rmxr - Agreed. Good amount of solid evidence it's an an FB/G. Short of someone reading the data plate in the cockpit, it's a pretty solid bet. "Make it look like something that it isn't" - note the Heath gate guard story.

"The fuel dump nozzle was lower on the FB/G sitting just below the 'figure 8' panel while the others had the nozzle in the lower part of the '8'." I forgot all about that and you're right. I found this comparison photo: http://photobucket.com/gallery/user/mrv ... NzM=/?ref= Now if you look at RetiredWeasels Inde 111 photo (post #9) you can just make out the dump mast configuration. It's screaming FB/G to me Agree?

Transponder panel? As an avionics tech I should know this. Unfortunately, when I was working FBs at Pburgh and Pease avionics techs were separated into three shops: A shop - was attack radar/navigation, B-shop was autopilot/instruments and C-shop was comm/nav penetration aids. That beacon would have fallen under C shop. I was a B shopper. We rarely worked other shops systems so I just don't know about the panel.

Evidence is looking pretty slim that this is a 74-0187 let alone a genuine F-111F. The only sure fire way to ID it would be to set eyes on the data plate in the cockpit. Still waiting on words from Inde Ranch. Thanks much for all the info.
 
RetiredWeasel
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Re: Mystery to me F-111

Fri Jul 07, 2017 12:16 am

Stubfin wrote:
.....then my guess is the owner had some connection to 187 during it's lifetime and just marked an available FB/G as 187. Sure wouldn't be the first time.


That was my thought also, so I looked up the owners/partners of the Inde Motorsports Ranch to see if there was any possibility of one being a former AF jockey. Didn't find any evidence of that but the founder and builder of the ranch was a Graham Dorland who also was founder and CEO of Airborne Express.

But here's the interesting thing and adds a little intrigue into the whole scenario: He was up until a couple of years ago on the Trustee Board of the Pima Air Museum which is adjacent to Davis Monthan and ARMARG. They currently have a F-111 on display also. It raises the question in my mind....did they have two at one time? And he got a claim on the extra? Idle minds start building conspiracies ;)
 
rmxr
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Re: Mystery to me F-111

Sat Jul 08, 2017 11:27 am

As I get the time, I'm continuing to go through my info, and at this stage I'm going to assume that this aircraft is an FB/G. From the list of 76 FBs originally built, I have eliminated 33 aircraft as being the one we are looking at as I can confirm their fate.

If this aircraft is a recent FB/G disposal out of AMARG, my money is on it being either FB-111A 67-0161 or 67-7195, or, F-111G 68-0260. These aircraft were stored under a higher level of maintenance and preservation for spare parts in support of the Australian Air Force F-111C/F-111G fleet, and were the best and most complete long-winged aircraft at AMARG. Most, if not all, the other FB/Gs had been picked over for FB/G-unique parts like #5 hi-lift wing components, aft engine doors, aft strakes etc.

The Inde aircraft is a very complete aircraft and appears in quite good condition. It appears to have had a relatively recent all-over paint job which has covered it's original markings. Where did it come from???
 
Stubfin
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Re: Mystery to me F-111

Sat Jul 08, 2017 10:53 pm

MYSTERY SOLVED Received a response from Mr Dorland himself at Inde Motorsports Ranch. It is an FB and not an F or G model but.....here's what he had to say:

Thanks for the inquiry..this appears to be an FB 111 from the data plate…but the aircraft never flew or was never outfitted with a cockpit or engines…it was used for non destructive testing and wired as such …we believe it was done after the F-111A s had dorsal crack problems….A fellow in Idaho purchased it from General Dynamics and used it as a display aircraft and then he died and we bought it at auction…cost us more to move it!!! We put it in Cannon AFB colors. Hope this helps your inquiry…if you have any other questions please refer them to me…All the best, Graham

A bit disappointing but saving any F-111 airframe is a good thing. Big thanks to everyone posting info.
 
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scbriml
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Re: Mystery to me F-111

Sun Jul 09, 2017 8:13 am

Stubfin wrote:
MYSTERY SOLVED Received a response from Mr Dorland himself at Inde Motorsports Ranch. It is an FB and not an F or G model but.....here's what he had to say:

Thanks for the inquiry..this appears to be an FB 111 from the data plate…but the aircraft never flew or was never outfitted with a cockpit or engines…it was used for non destructive testing and wired as such …we believe it was done after the F-111A s had dorsal crack problems….A fellow in Idaho purchased it from General Dynamics and used it as a display aircraft and then he died and we bought it at auction…cost us more to move it!!! We put it in Cannon AFB colors. Hope this helps your inquiry…if you have any other questions please refer them to me…All the best, Graham

A bit disappointing but saving any F-111 airframe is a good thing. Big thanks to everyone posting info.


So what's the registration or msn?
Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana!
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RetiredWeasel
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Re: Mystery to me F-111

Sun Jul 09, 2017 2:27 pm

Stubfin wrote:
MYSTERY SOLVED Received a response from Mr Dorland himself at Inde Motorsports Ranch. It is an FB and not an F or G model but.....here's what he had to say:

Thanks for the inquiry..this appears to be an FB 111 from the data plate…but the aircraft never flew or was never outfitted with a cockpit or engines…it was used for non destructive testing and wired as such …we believe it was done after the F-111A s had dorsal crack problems….A fellow in Idaho purchased it from General Dynamics and used it as a display aircraft and then he died and we bought it at auction…cost us more to move it!!! We put it in Cannon AFB colors. Hope this helps your inquiry…if you have any other questions please refer them to me…All the best, Graham

A bit disappointing but saving any F-111 airframe is a good thing. Big thanks to everyone posting info.


:checkmark: :checkmark:
Looks like it came from the late Merle Maine auction who's estate included the 'Warhawk Air Museum' in Nampa ID. They had a F-111 in 2013 and this airframe appears to be that one. No info on registration or serial though. Here's a couple of links to browse.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sJrenwwazSM
http://www.ruudleeuw.com/usa14-warhawkairmuseum.htm
 
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kc135topboom
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FB-111A prototypes

Sun Jul 09, 2017 6:37 pm

There were at least 7 FB-111s that never became operational aircraft, some of them were non-flying test models with no USAF tail numbers:
TF-111K/YF-111A/YFB-111A; USAF # 67-0149, RAF # XV-884
TF-111K/YF-111A/YFB-111A; USAF # 67-0150, RAF # XV-885
FB-111A; No USAF Tail # assigned, but would have been 67-0156, GD Test # B4 (this is most likely the FB-111 mentioned above)
FB-111A; No USAF Tail # assigned, but would have been 67-0157, GD Test # B5
FB-111A; No USAF Tail # assigned, but would have been 67-0158, GD Test # B6
http://www.f-111.net/t_no_K.htm
FB-111A/YFB-111A/FB/EF/F-111 AMP FLIGHT TEST; USAF # 67-0159, fitted with Triple Plow I intakes instead of Triple Plow II intakes
FB-111A/YFB-111A; USAF # 67-0160, Fitted with preliminary 'Double blow-in doors' design intakes. Decommissioned to AMARC 1975, aft section was removed to be fitted onto 67-7194 in the late 1970's. The remainder was scrapped.
http://www.f-111.net/t_no_FBG.htm
On a side note there were no F-111G new builds, all 34 TAC/RAAF F-111Gs were converted from SAC FB-111As. This mostly included removal of the SCRAM launch equipment and wiring, and the removal of SAC Coded Switches interface (SAC removed the Coded Switches before the aircraft was transferred to TAC).

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