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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 153023
Last updated: 20 February 2019
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Date:07-DEC-1982
Time:19:45 UTC
Type:Silhouette image of generic F111 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
General Dynamics F-111F
Owner/operator:493rd TFS, 48th TFW, United States Air Force (USAF)
Registration: 70-2377
C/n / msn: E2-16/F-16
Fatalities:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Sgurr na Stri, Strathaird Estate, Cullin Hills, Isle of Skye -   United Kingdom
Phase: En route
Nature:Military
Departure airport:RAF Lakenheath, Suffolk (LKZ/EGUL)
Destination airport:RAF Lakenheath, Suffolk (LKZ/EGUL)
Narrative:
At about 8 pm on the night of 7 December 1982 after descending to about 1,000 feet over Loch Scavaig, F-111F s/n 70-2377 struck the southern face of the 1,620 foot peak of Sgurr na Stri, on the Strathaird Estate, in the Cullin Hills on the Isle of Skye, near Loch Coruisk, Scotland**. A shock wave from the explosion almost destroyed a bothy at Camusunary where three climbers were spending the night. The jet was not armed, but aviation fuel caused a fire to rage for a time on Sgurr na Stri.

The aircraft had been flying in company with a second F-111 which stayed in the area until an RAF rescue helicopter arrived. The accident was also witnessed by a group of climbers who were spending the night in a hut at Camasunary, less than a mile from the crash. They also described a huge red fireball which lit up everything for miles around.

The climbers joined an RAFMountain rescue team which arrived by helicopter about an hour and a half later and the combined party then split up and climbed the mountain by two routes. Shortly after midnight they arrived at the crash site, one party bivouacking there overnight, the other returning to Camasunary. The remains of the aviators were brought down at 10 am on Wednesday morning by a fresh rescue team.

The unarmed aircraft, serial number 70-2377, was on a regular training mission from RAF Lakenheath in Suffolk. It was on a night time automatic-flying training exercise. Although the aircraft had terrain-following radar, which theoretically enabled it to fly on auto pilot at heights as low as 200 feet, but something went horribly wrong and it flew straight into the rock face of Sgurr na Stri.

Both crew were killed on impact. The pilot in the left hand seat of the aircraft was Major (Lt Col. selectee) Burnley L. ("Bob") Rudiger Jr., aged 37, from Norfolk, Virginia. Major Rudiger was survived by a wife and two children who were then resident at Risby, Suffolk.

The weapons system operator in the right seat was 1st Lt. Steven J. Pitt, 28, from East Aurora, New York. Lt. Pitt was survived by a wife and two children, then resident at Icklingham, Suffolk.

In October 2002 large pieces of wreckage were still to be found near the summit. This includes what appears to be a wing hinge approximately 500 meters from the probable impact site. Piece weighs about 150 pounds made of steel, and seems to be the fuselage to wing box joint. There is still plenty of wreckage about and the impact area is steep and tricky ground. May 2015

F-111F s/n 70-2377 had accumulated 941 flights and 4,153.9 flight hours at the time of crash. At the time of the accident, Maj. Rudiger was a Lt. Col. selectee. He received a posthumous promotion to Lt. Col.

** The Strathaird estate was at the time owned by Ian Anderson otherwise more famous as the lead singer and flautist of the rock group Jethro Tull!

Sources:

1. http://web.archive.org/web/20170921070650/http://www.ejection-history.org.uk:80/Aircraft_by_Type/F_111/F-111.htm
2. http://www.joebaugher.com/usaf_serials/1970.html
3. https://heavywhalley.wordpress.com/2012/12/02/f111-crash-on-sgurr-na-stri-in-skye-near-loch-coruisk-getting-ready-to-pay-our-resoects/
4. http://www.isbuc.co.uk/People/F-111Crew.php
5. http://www.f-111.net/t_no_F.htm
6. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-20583719
7. http://photohebrides-elgol.blogspot.co.uk/2009/01/memorial-to-burnley-l-rudiger-jr.html
8. https://airforce.togetherweserved.com/usaf/servlet/tws.webapp.WebApp?cmd=SBVTimeLine&type=Person&ID=162399


Images:


Memorial in Elgol

Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
03-Feb-2013 08:00 Dr. John Smith Added
03-Feb-2013 10:59 Dr. John Smith Updated [Location]
03-Feb-2013 13:02 Dr. John Smith Updated [Embed code]
25-Aug-2014 19:15 Dr. John Smith Updated [Destination airport, Embed code]
10-Nov-2014 23:07 Dr. John Smith Updated [Source, Embed code, Narrative]
12-Aug-2015 14:21 TB Updated [Operator, Location, Embed code]
25-Oct-2015 18:37 Dr.John Smith Updated [Operator, Embed code]
25-Oct-2015 18:41 Dr.John Smith Updated [Location, Source]
25-May-2017 17:31 heavywhalley@btinter Updated [Narrative, Photo, ]

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