F-111E Aardvark 68-0803

Craignaw, Galloway Hills













Aircraft Type Photo


BELOW: A USAF F-111 with wings swept.


A USAF F-111 with wings swept


Photo: Courtesy of the National Museum of the USAF





Aircraft Type and Background


USAF General Dynamics F-111E  /  68-0803



Aircraft Type Nickname: "Aardvark". (Accepted as official name on retirement)



Built by General Dynamics [Wiki] and carrying a crew of two, the F-111 was capable of flying at twice the speed of sound (Mach 2). This swing-wing aircraft entered service with the USAF in 1967. The F-111 could swing its wings rearward while in flight, and forward for take-off, landings, and slow-speed flight.

Two main versions (with later variants) were produced: The F-111A for the USAF and the F-111B for the US Navy. The Navy variant was later cancelled. F-111K variants intended for the RAF were also cancelled. The F-111E variant featured here was an improved version of the F-111A.

The F-111A was equipped with two Pratt and Whitney TF30-P-3 engines with afterburners. The aircraft had a maximum speed of 1,452mph and a range of 3,632 miles. Its service ceiling was 57,000ft.

The armaments carried were one 20mm M61A1 gun, plus a mix of up to 24 conventional or nuclear weapons.

[Above data courtesy of National Museum of USAF]



BELOW: An F-111 with variable-swing wings configured for take-off, landing and low-speed flight.


An F-111 about to land


Photo: Courtesy of the National Museum of the USAF






Aircraft Accident Details


At the time of the accident, this F-111 from 20th Tactical Fighter Wing (TFW) USAF had been carrying out practice bombing at Jurby, Isle of Man.


It then went on to practice low flying when it struck the Galloway Hills at Craignaw. Both crew members died in this accident.






Aircraft Crew Casualties


The airmen who died were:





Crash Site Photos


BELOW: The granite rock face on Craignaw which the F-111 impacted in 1979.


f-111 impact point at craignaw in the galloway hills


Photo © 1994-2010 Alan Leishman


Members of the Dumfries Aviation Museum were taken to the site by the USAF and items recovered are on display at the museum. The impact point is below the memorial. [A. Leishman]



BELOW: The  memorial cairn on Craignaw to the F-111 crew.


The memorial cairn at Craignaw to the f-111 crew


Photo © 2010 Ian Murgatroyd



BELOW: A closer view of the memorial cairn. (See also close-up of plaque below.)


closer view of memorial


Photo © 2010 Ian Murgatroyd



BELOW: A close-up view of the memorial plaque on the cairn.


close-up view of memorial plaque on cairn


Photo © 2010 Ian Murgatroyd



BELOW: A section of wreckage from the F-111 Aardvark that crashed at Craignaw in 1979. This section can be seen beside the memorial cairn.


 some wreckage from the F-111 Aardvark that crashed at Craignaw in 1979


Photo © 2010 Ian Murgatroyd






Photo Gallery


At the moment, there are no additional photos of this aircraft crash site in the Photo Gallery.



















Crash Date / Site


Accident Date: 19 Dec 1979


Accident Site:


(NX 463 833)

(Between Dungeon Hill and Snibe Hill)


Memorial Crag / Wall: NX 458 833.


Region: Dumfries and Galloway

(Galloway Hills / routes and maps)


Nearest towns or villages:

St John's Town of Dalry [map] or

New Galloway [map]


Nearest large town:

Newton Stewart (SW) [map]


OS Grid Ref. NX 458 833 (Memorial)


GPS Refs: N/A


Present Condition: Small amounts of wreckage still onsite.

Memorial cairn with plaque onsite (see photos below).


Some pieces of wreckage are on display at the Dumfries and Galloway Aviation Museum




Aircraft Details


Registration or Serial: 68-0803


Operator: USAF (United States Air Force; 20 TFW (Tactical Fighter Wing))


Operating Base: RAF Upper Heyford (X2UD)


Base Location: Upper Heyford,   Oxfordshire, England.


Current Airport Status: Closed. Some parts disused and derelict. Other parts used for storage, rented accommodation, and Police driver training.



Principal airport data courtesy of John Woodside, A Catalogue of UK Airfields




Related Links



F-111 Aardvark Links

F-111 Aardvark at F-111.net

F-111 Aardvark at Global Security.org

F-111 Aardvark at Wikipedia


F-111 Video Links

F-111 Jets on Display at YouTube (video: 0:43 seconds)

F-111 Wings at YouTube (F-111 in action / video with commentary: 10:02 minutes)


Forum Link

Craignaw, Dungeon Hill, and Mullwharchar at Scottish Hills.com (includes F-111 memorial / wreckage and other aircraft wreckage).


Local Hillwalking and Mountaineering Links

Craignaw at Forestry Commission (organised hillwalk)

Galloway Climbing (Craignaw) at NeedleSports.com


Museum Links

Local Region Museum

Dumfries and Galloway Aviation Museum (some wreckage pieces on display at this museum. Also, F-111E escape capsule  from similar aircraft on display.)

Other Museum

General Dynamics F-111A Aardvark at National Museum of the USAF


RAF / USAF and Related Links

RAF Upper Heyford

RAF Upper Heyford Base History

RAF Upper Heyford at Subterranea Britannica

RAF Upper Heyford at Wikipedia


USAF and Related Links

20th Fighter Wing Association (History)

20th Fighter Wing Fact Sheet at Shaw Air Force Base

20th Fighter Wing (20th FW) at Global Security.org

20th Tactical Fighter Wing (TFW) at Subterannea Britannica

F-111 Aardvark Memorial (All crew members listed, including those who died at Craignaw)



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