Jet's last trip long and winding road

A RETIRED fighter bomber made its final journey by travelling more than 900 kilometres to arrive at Fighter World at Williamtown yesterday afternoon.

The F-111 aircraft was transported from the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Base Amberley in Queensland to be placed on display at Port Stephens from Thursday.

Titled A8-148, the jet was one of two F-111s involved in sinking a North Korean freighter used to smuggle 150 kilograms of heroin into Australia in April, 2003.

Coincidentally, the ship was seized off the coast of Port Stephens after a four-day chase involving Australian soldiers, police and customs.

Flying from Amberley, the F-111 jets used two 800-kilogram precision-guided bombs to sink the freighter off Jervis Bay.

"The F-111 is an iconic aircraft in Australia. The public know quite a lot about their history," Fighter World manager Terry Wells said.

The retired F-111 is one of six loaned to aircraft museums nationally, bringing the total number of aircraft on display at Williamtown to 16.

Number 148 departed Queensland at 3am on Saturday, and stopped at regional towns including Goondiwindi, Moree, Willowtree and Singleton before arriving at Williamtown.

It was forced to take an inland route due to its large size, which made it difficult to fit on some roads, and the wings and horizontal and vertical tail surfaces were removed for the trip to enable safe transit.

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