Media Room: Media Releases
Department of Defence
RAAF JETS IGNITE CLOSING CEREMONY EXCITEMENT
The Royal Australian Air Force lit up Sydney tonight when two F-111 strike aircraft from RAAF Base Amberley in Queensland took part in the closing ceremonies of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.
The first jet, crewed by 42-year-old pilot Wing Commander Dave Steele from Murwillumbah, and navigator 34-year-old Squadron Leader Geoff Harland from Adelaide, swooped low over Homebush Bay performing a spectacular ‘dump and burn’ to the delight of the crowd in the packed Olympic Stadium.
An hour later, a second jet, crewed by 30-year-old pilot Flight Lieutenant Andrew Buttsworth from Nambucca Heads, and navigated by 24-year-old Flying Officer Brad Machan from Cairns, soared over the Sydney Harbour Bridge trailing a 200 metre long flaming tail to signal the start of a massive fireworks display.
The popular ‘dump and burn’ sequence, performed exclusively by the Australian F-111s, occurs when jet fuel is dumped, or released, behind the aircraft and ignited by the massive twin engine afterburners.
Wing Commander Steele, Commanding Officer No. 6 Squadron, and pilot of the jet which was seen by billions of television viewers worldwide watching the Olympic Closing Ceremony, described it as an exhilarating experience.
"The adrenaline really started pumping when we saw the stadium lights on our approach run," he said. "We came in at low power, then brought in the afterburners just before we went over the stadium which gives you a real kick as the extra power comes on.
"Then we activated the dump and fed fuel out the rear of the aircraft between the two jet exhausts where it ignited into the long trail. Actually you can’t see the dump and burn trail from the cockpit, just the orange glow in the sky behind the aircraft."
The F-111 crew members were among thousands of people who contributed to the Sydney 2000 Olympics finale but without even touching the ground. The aircrew, all from No 6 Squadron at Amberley, completed their brief but spectacular appearance over the Games City and were back at their home base within hours.
Richard Hogan, Defence Media Liaison, Canberra Ph 0419 621 753
Paul Lineham, Director DPACC-SQ, Brisbane Ph 0408 972 329
Crew photos are available from the AAP Pic Desk and vision of pre-flight preparation is available from ABC Brisbane. Additional vision and post flight interviews will be available from Channel 7 Brisbane on a pool basis tomorrow morning.
Aircraft: F-111G, operated by No 6 Squadron, RAAF Amberley.
Engines: Two Pratt and Whitney TF-30 turbofans each developing 8165kg thrust or 12,400 hp
Airframe: Length 23.0 metres, Height 5.3 metres
Wingspan: 21.3 metres extended, 10.3 metres swept
Weight: 22,725 kg basic, 51,846kg fully loaded
Ceiling: Above 50,000 feet
Speed: Supersonic at sea level up to Mach 2.5 (2500km/h)
Crew: Pilot and Navigator
First flight over Olympic Stadium
Crew: Wing Commander Dave Steele (pilot) 42 of Murwillumbah, New South Wales
Squadron Leader Geoff Harland (navigator) 34 of Adelaide, South Australia
Direction: North to South over centre line of stadium
Altitude: 1000 feet (about 300 m) above stadium climbing during dump and burn to about 15,000 feet (5000 m)
Flight over Sydney Harbour Bridge
Crew: Flight Lieutenant Andrew Buttsworth (pilot) 30 of Nambucca Heads
Flying Officer Brad Machan (navigator) 24 from Cairns, Queensland
Direction: West to East over Bridge
Altitude: 1000 feet (about 300 m) and climbing during dump and burn to about 15,000 feet (5000 m)
by Ministerial and Executive Coordination and Communication,
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