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F111-F accident, Scotland 1987

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F111-F accident, Scotland 1987

Old 14th Sep 2010, 16:07
  #21 (permalink)  
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NorthSouth - yes, as it was a test it was indeed flown with an IRE in the Hunter T Mk7A / T Mk8b.
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Old 12th Nov 2010, 15:08
  #22 (permalink)  
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Hello Everyone, Since Yesterday Was Veterans Day I Decided To See What I Could Find On This F-111 Crash. Phil Baldwin Was My Brother In-law. Wow Was I Surprised To See This Link. I Am Glad To See That These Two Men Are Still Thought Of. If Anyone Has Any More Information Or Stories On Phil I Would Sure Be Glad To Hear Them Or Read Them. Thanks To All Of You For Remembering. My Email Is [email protected]
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Old 13th Nov 2010, 15:55
  #23 (permalink)  

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I visited the site recently sans camera, otherwise I would have photographed the Plaque.

I do however have a photograph of the wreath laid by his colleagues on the site a few days after the accident.

It might interest you to know that the townspeople of Lauder have mixed memories of the crash.

Along with the sorrow at the loss of two young lives, they remember the great way that they were treated by the US recovery and investigation crew who were in the town for a good while after the accident.

When all was over, they laid on a good ole U S of A barbecue for the whole town, as a thank you for the hospitality and by way of an apology for the inconvenience and and uwanted attention the little town had received..

El Grifo
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Old 24th Nov 2013, 06:56
  #24 (permalink)  
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i was there

And, I wrote a rather long email, which was not posted for whatever reason, the site told me it was because I was new or some such.

This is an old thread, I won't write a lot this time as perhaps the interest is gone, but I was part of the USAF recovery.

We'll see if this one posts...
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Old 24th Nov 2013, 09:15
  #25 (permalink)  

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Yep, nothing here routeviolet

Like I say, I live overseas now but often take the chance to visit the site when I am in Scotland.

Please post again. I for one would be interested in what you have to say !

El G.
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Old 5th Dec 2013, 03:00
  #26 (permalink)  
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Sorry itís taken so long, but Iíve been traveling since your reply, and I wanted to do it justice. Actually Iím in Wales right now and soon going to Leeds, after that if I can, Iím going to visit the site at Lauder, partly because of this contact bringing it to mind. If I can find who owns the field, I would like to walk it again. Maybe visit the pubs...

I will just free-wheel this from memory, instead of trying to keep my thoughts in strict order. I hope it makes some sense, anyway.

So you will know my viewpoint, I retired from the USAF, had just over half my 22 years in at the time, I was not aircrew, but Security Police (now Security Forces), the equivalent of RAF Regiment (not RAF Police). I was at the Newmarket, Lauder, West Binham, the Wash (I think the town was Wells on Sea) and Saudi F111 crashes. All I know about what happened in the air was what I was told, and from long-ago memory.

I think the one at the Wash was from Upper Heyford, but we were closer, the crash was at sea, and my CO went just to represent the USAF to the local authorities, taking myself and another guy with him in support.

As the military types reading this will know, if you do something once successfully, you then become the expert. Whether you are, or not, has no real bearing.

My first was Newmarket, where the pilots successfully ejected but the aircraft narrowly missed a stable of very expensive racehorses. Pilots suffered some vertebrae damage I believe. Compared to the others, it was very intact.

Next was Lauder. Different story entirely.

I remember speaking to a Brit (maybe Scot, canít remember) wearing a white shirt and slacks, briefly, about the crash, could that have been you? I believe you said you were at the site. I was about 30-something and would have been wearing BDUís and a beret. Southern US accent.

I was very impressed by BT, they had a landline (this was far prior to cells) set up at the side of the road for us by the time we got there. We had flown into (from memory) RAF Leuchars (sp?) in a C130 with the main force while some others had driven up so we would have vehicles. There were maybe 50 of us.

I was the 3rd ranking at the Lauder site, but the only one with previous experience of crash recovery, there was a Captain, a Master Sergeant, then me. I ran the actual recovery ops, while the Capt and MSgt arranged lodging, and importantly, getting along with the townspeople and local authorities.

I canít remember how fast we were told in knots or mph it was going, but I had a ballistics program on my Apple IIC and it worked out to 1350 feet per second, which is about the speed of a .357 Magnum pistol bullet. I donít know if this speed was accurate, it was based on what I was told by...someone who was a pilot, I think, and the memory is nearly 30 years old, but I remember the FPS. As I said, this may be wildly inaccurate.

We stayed at a Boy Scout building, sleeping on the floor, but at least with a roof. I think we had one shower for 50 something people. I was very pleasantly surprised by this, expecting tents at the best, and no shower.

The crater was indeed deep, the backhoe we had at the site hit the limits of digging ability before it ran out of parts to bring up, it just couldnít go deep enough. It was a small diameter crater, but about 15 feet deep--thatís just a guess from blurry memory.

There were a few larger parts, I remember one wadded up engine, and maybe parts of a landing gear, but the average part we retrieved was about the size of a postage stamp, of course with many larger and many smaller, but not much larger. We tried our absolute best to get everything, our orders were to get every single part.

I set up grid lines, used a white tape, and laid it out, then we kept the line side by side, stopping about every 30 feet to align the line. Everyone had a green canvas bag, then we dumped them into 1 yard cube boxes when they were full. I think we ran the search north-south first, then again east-west.

It landed in a flock of sheep, and it was a terrible mess, and I will stop there with that line, knowing relatives might read this, and that the people on this forum can read between the lines.

It really did look like it went straight in vertically, now that someone has mentioned that was likely, but we werenít told that, nor did it occur to me until I read it on this forum, but it makes sense. You donít think of an aircraft going vertically straight in, or I didnít.

There were parts spread widely, in no particular direction, but more towards town from the site, I think that would have been to the east of the site. I believed at the time the pilots tried to come down out of cloud, and it wasnít cloud, but fog, just because someone told me that, but it could have just been conjecture, so no argument from me over what actually happened, Iím not a pilot and donít have a clue, really, just telling what I remember.

A lot of parts were spread across a field of, if I remember correctly, soybeans and another of some sort of wheat or barley, also there were some peat bogs.

I remember the peat bogs, most people there had no idea what they were or how dangerous, but I did from previous experience, so I roped 20 guys together with one end of the rope on the winch of a hummer, I was afraid that people would break through into the water beneath the peat and drown, but it was necessary to have a lot of people to really do a toe-to toe grid search in order to get everything. We had to carry a lot of parts out of the bog up a very steep hill in wooden boxes. This was very hard physical work, I ordered the guys carrying the boxes up the hill to do nothing but rest when they werenít actually carrying, and had a hell of a time making them do it. Very good men.

I was told the capsule ejection was initiated just prior to impact and that likely the huge rocket the crew capsule is ejected on exploded when it hit, having been initiated then impacted. I was told the rocket weighed about 800 pounds, and I know it would have been something very energetic like potassium perchlorate and butyl, maybe that accounts for the wide spread of the parts to some extent.

Someone in the crew had superhuman reflexes, to initiate the ejection in the nanoseconds between the time they realized the ground was feet away, and impact.

JP (4?8?) was everywhere, the grass was slick with it as were all the parts, and after a short while, so were all involved in the recovery, so I guess it didnít burn off. There was no fire evident on the ground that I remember.

The town treated us very, very well, especially as they had every right not to, really, because the crash was probably less than seconds off being a real tragedy had it impacted in the town.

We arrived during the Common Riding, when all the townspeople ride the boundaries of common land in the area annually, to keep the aristocracy from taking it for themselves. Or, so I was told.

There were, I believe, 3 pubs in the area, one of which has ďLauderdaleĒ in the name. This could be a spurious memory, I remember thinking the plane crashed in the Lauder dale, and that was probably where Ft Lauderdale Florida got itís name, and Iíd been there, too. So, maybe I just mis-remembered it.

We worked from about 1000 to about 1700 and then hit the pubs like a hammer, closed them down, then did it again. It was not nice work, and the pubs helped. Yes, we had a big party and invited the town, I think the USAF paid for a lot of the drinks and all the food, I hope so, because the townspeople were very helpful and hospitable and we couldnít have asked for better. Especially since everyone had to realize it was a near miss and if it had hit Lauder instead of just outside, the carnage would have been terrible.

There was a shortage of vehicles, one of the people in charge of the vehicles was a TSgt, same rank as me, but only there in a support role, he was a very religious, non-drinking southern baptist. I convinced him I needed to travel to the pubs after work, and go from pub to pub, just to be sure none of our people got drunk and caused trouble. So, I would go in one pub while he waited outside, have a couple of drinks, then he would drive me to another, then another, then repeat, all night. He felt he would be violating his religious belief if he even went into such dens of iniquity.

Maybe not so interesting if youíre a pilot trying to figure out what happened, but those are my memories.

Thanks to whomever made the comment that it was a well-run recovery.

And, to all the zipper-suited Sun Gods out there, some of yíall are half as good as you think you are, which makes you very good indeed...

Thatís a compliment to aircrew in general, and military crew in particular, in case anyone might mis-interpret it.
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Old 5th Dec 2013, 14:29
  #27 (permalink)  

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Yep that certainly brings it back !

I was up there as freelance press not long after the crash and again the following day. I did not shoot a single frame.
It seemed inappropriate.

I did however visit the site after the recovery and photographed the wreath left by relatives. Still have it somewhere.

You are right about the pub The Lauderdale, I think there is a Black Bull also but cannot recall the name of the other.

When you visit the site do not feel you need to ask for permission. We have a right to roam policy in Scotland and we guard it carefully. Just be careful with the electric scare-fence on the stone wall which separates the field with the ancient tower and the crash field. I was not and got a jolt on my last visit !!

As with most Scottish Border towns Lauder is steeped in History.

Have a look :- Lauder - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 6th Dec 2013, 19:21
  #28 (permalink)  
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Hello routeviolet,

Thanks for an informative post. Indeed, a very sad task for you and your colleagues from the 48th.
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Old 20th Dec 2017, 13:34
  #29 (permalink)  
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Plane crash

My dad was the plant operator that was involved from start to Finnish in the removal of the plane from the crash site. He was there over 3 weeks.
There were a lot of dead sheep. And the ground was contaminated with jet fuel. The engines were found in the front gardens of nr by farm cottages.
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Old 21st Dec 2017, 06:00
  #30 (permalink)  
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Sadly the USAF lost a few 111

Jeff Guinn chats about flying the USAF F-111 Aardvark

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Old 5th Nov 2018, 19:29
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El Grifo I would love to have a copy of the picture of the wreath that you took. Does anyone have a picture of the plaque and/or know the exact location of the site? It has been over thirty years since this happened, but so many still remember it.
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Old 5th Nov 2018, 21:56
  #32 (permalink)  

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I can give you the exact location to the meter !
Let me look and see if I can find the image !
I am out of the office until the weekend, but promise to furnish you with location at the very least !

El Grifo
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Old 6th Nov 2018, 07:32
  #33 (permalink)  

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Historybuff This is the exact location lifted from Google Maps.
It is spot on ! I remember removing debris embedded in the Hawthorn Tree shown in the Sat Image.
Watch out for the Electric Fence if it still exists
I will look for the photograph on my return.
let me know if the co- ordinates work.
El Grifo
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Old 6th Nov 2018, 08:34
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Interesting thread - sort of related but I witnessed the Raven mishap at Upper Heyford back in 1992. Was stood outside the factory in Bicester where I was working and saw it pass overhead trailing flame before disappearing into cloud. About an hour later we heard reports on the local radio that an aircraft had crashed onto a car park just outside the town. Fortunately the crew got out fine but a bloke in the car park needed a change of trousers & underpants, having seen the plane spinning groundward and flinging himself under a parked car to avoid the blast + debris.
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Old 6th Nov 2018, 09:38
  #35 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by BEagle View Post
NorthSouth - yes, as it was a test it was indeed flown with an IRE in the Hunter T Mk7A / T Mk8b.
In fact it was the "Long Toss" manouevre which I recall involved a 4g pull-up from 100ft at 540kts at 7nm from target. The bomb would automatically release at about 45degs NU (or the IRE shouted "Recover!") and you held the 4g while rolling to 160degs off attack heading and about 45degs ND before recovering wings level at 100ft and back at 540kts. (If my memory has faded I'm sure that DH or another will correct me!)
On 16Sqn at Laarbruch we used to practice this over the North Sea at night, sometimes going IMC at an early stage..... You really had to trust your AI and Lord knows how the poor Nav coped without even a basic attitude indication.
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Old 6th Nov 2018, 20:03
  #36 (permalink)  
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El Grifo, tried those co ords on google maps and a lat/long finder and it is showing a location to the East of Lauder. I always though this aircraft came down between Stow and Lauder somewhere along the road that joins the A7 and the A68.
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Old 6th Nov 2018, 20:49
  #37 (permalink)  

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Spot on to a meter or so, trust me.
The memory is etched deep.
Practicing Toss Bombing on an unauthorised target
Thirlestane Castle !

El Grifo
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Old 28th May 2019, 00:10
  #38 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Dan Gerous View Post
El Grifo, tried those co ords on google maps and a lat/long finder and it is showing a location to the East of Lauder. I always though this aircraft came down between Stow and Lauder somewhere along the road that joins the A7 and the A68.
The aircraft came down in the field known as The Tower field at east mains farm Lauder. On the A697. The farmer at the time was David Runciman. I lived in a farm cottage about 800m from the crash site. As I had a rifle I had to go down to the crash site and shoot the injured sheep approximately 70 sheep. If you know where the plane came down you can still see the change in the soil. Routeviolet's account is a pretty good account of the area and what I remember, some of the glass in the windows of the cottages was damaged with the impact. The aircraft came down about 200m from the road and between the farm cottages at East Mains and Thirlestane farm
I often think about the two pilots that lost their lives that day I remember seeing part of a photograph of one of them with his family. R.i.p
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Old 28th May 2019, 11:35
  #39 (permalink)  

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As I previously said nigel. Right here. Our paths probably crossed on the day ! El Grifo
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