Aborted take-off and ejection, Ohakea Airbase New Zealand, 24 August 1979
During an aborted take-off above refusal speed following a double engine surge and afterburner blowout the aircraft was unable to be stopped within the remaining runway.
The navigator initiated ejection at 90 kts and approximately 50 metres from the end of the runway.
The aircraft continued down the slope beyond the runway (a drop of 30m only 10m from the end of the runway) where it impacted a roadway embankment and caught fire.
The ejection was successful; however, the pilot suffered considerable back injuries.
The ejection module landed approximately 50 metres from the burning wreckage. Fearing the fire may spread towards the module, the navigator extracted and carried the injured pilot from the module.
The incident crew were Number 3 of a day four-ship F-111 maritime strike mission operating from RNZAF Ohakea airbase, taking part in an Australian/New Zealand Exercise.
The lack of chined nosewheel tyres caused surface water (from the heavy rain falling at the time) excited by the passage of the nosewheels to be ingested by the engines causing the engine surge and afterburner blowout.
(The modification to fit chined tyres had been suspended owing to problems experienced by the USAF).
The ejection module and tail fin of the aircraft were recovered and returned to Australia to be refurbished.
The module was modified to be used as a software simulator and test bed, while the fin was restored and put on display at No. 6 Squadron.
Both are now on display at Amberley Aviation Heritage Centre, the former as a centre piece of the Flame On presentation.
So far the score is New Zealand 2, Australia 1 (RNZAF as lost only one aircraft in Australia).