WE WERE THERE: Super Hornets abuzz as old favourite flies
THE year 2011 will go down in history as the year we traded in the trusty old F-111 for the new, sleeker and more maneuvarable F/A-18F Super Hornet.
A total of 24 Super Hornets were phased in at Amberley RAAF base over the course of the year, with crowds of enthusiasts travelling from across south-east Queensland to see the new fighter jets soar into town.
The last four of the new contingent arrived at Amberley on October 21, 2011, with the 20 jets that had already arrived flying out over the Sunshine Coast to lead to new arrivals home.
On arrival, they were welcomed with an official ceremony which included then-defence minister Jason Clare.
Mr Clare said it was an important day for the RAAF.
"The Super Hornets are the new frontline of Australia's Defence Force," he said.
"They are amongst the best fighter planes in the world - and all 24 aircraft have been delivered on budget and ahead of schedule."
Saying goodbye to the F-111 also meant saying goodbye to the classic "dump and burn" spectacle that had become a staple of Brisbane's Riverfire event since 1998.
The final Riverfire dump and burn was performed in September 2010, while Ipswich residents saw the magnificent spectacle on the F-111's last official day of service at Amberley RAAF Base on December 3, 2010. The Super Hornets will effectively act as a stopgap before the arrival of the Joint Strike Fighter.