Operation Pitch Black

Submitted: Saturday, May 15, 2004 at 09:43
ThreadID: 12894 Views:2198 Replies:4 FollowUps:5
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If anybody is planning a trip to the Top End around July, there is a 'must see' for any plane freaks. The RAAF is running 'Operation Pitch Black' again this year and I have heard that it will involve approximately 100 aircraft.

In 2000, a lot of us locals would head down to a large parking area at the eastern end of Darwin airport just before dusk to watch the 'attacking force' get airborne and if you get off on power, this is a real spectacle.

I think the French might be participating in this years exercise with the latest Mirage as their showpiece.

It is definitely something to see.

Diesel 1
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Reply By: Oil Drippa - Saturday, May 15, 2004 at 19:57

Saturday, May 15, 2004 at 19:57
Yup I too was there during this period , and had an absolute blast watching the after burners !
We too sat down in the carpark , but I won't be there this year as have relocated to Fremantle WA . But hopefully back up there this Nov for 4 weeks 4x4ing .
I totally recommend it , but Im an aviation nut .

take it easy
AnswerID: 58737

Follow Up By: Diesel 1 - Sunday, May 16, 2004 at 09:01

Sunday, May 16, 2004 at 09:01
I'm looking forward to watching the new Mirage fighters - from video footage shown up here on local TV, as soon as they clear the runway they just hook the nose straight up and power on in an almost perfect vertical climb. It will be an awesome sight.

Diesel 1
FollowupID: 320456

Reply By: Willem - Saturday, May 15, 2004 at 23:29

Saturday, May 15, 2004 at 23:29
My first winter in Darwin was in 1969 and we lived in Peel Street in the heart of what is now the CBD. Operation Pitch Black was a goer then........Can't remember which planes they were flying but they used fly low over the town and rattle the windows of our flat. Did not get much sleep then...........

Yes, sitting at the end of the runway watching a B52 or an Antromov(spelling?) take off is a real blast in power and one wonders how those planes even get of the ground........PURE GRUNT !!!!!!!!!!!

Now I listen to trains rattling by not too far away.............sigh.......
AnswerID: 58757

Follow Up By: Diesel 1 - Sunday, May 16, 2004 at 08:57

Sunday, May 16, 2004 at 08:57
G'day Willem,

The first of 14 USAF F15-c fighters arrived in the Top End yesterday to conduct an exercise called 'Aces North' with 75 Squadron out of Tindal which will run for the next 3 weeks.

Pitch Black commences on July 19 and according to the media, it will be the biggest operation yet. Back in 2000, there were so many locals and tourists at the end of the runway that I reckon a bloke could make a few extra dollars by setting up a barbecue and flogging sausage sandwiches to those who forgot to bring a feed with them.

Diesel 1
FollowupID: 320454

Follow Up By: GOB & denny vic member - Sunday, May 16, 2004 at 20:52

Sunday, May 16, 2004 at 20:52
goodday deisel 1 &willem
i worked on the raaf base in 95 at the start of kangaroo 95 and it was rather eventful as well.
hey diesel do you think the yanks bombing has inproved in 9 yrs or should we all stay off the stuart hwy at that time as in 95 they didnt seem to be able to recognize the hwy and landed bombs within about 200m scared the bejesus out of a few travellers

fun fun fun

FollowupID: 320513

Follow Up By: Diesel 1 - Monday, May 17, 2004 at 07:47

Monday, May 17, 2004 at 07:47
G'day Steve,

It's the Aussies us locals have to worry about - you might recall back in 2000 during Operation Pitch Black, there was a slight stuffup when one of the FA-18's lost a dummy missile on the approach to Darwin, it landed smack bang in the engine bay of an old FJ40 Cruiser. I know the bloke who owns the vehicle (Baz from Berrimah Radiators), he was having a barbecue only a few metres from the 'hit', scared the bejeebers out of him. After the RAAF retrieved there hardware, Baz made up a replica of the missile and put it back in the engine bay - it is a permanent display at the front of his business.

There were rumours that Baz received a reasonable payout for the incident and some enterprising individuals up here are going to paint targets on old cars and chook houses before this year's exercise in the hope that they can cash in on any future stuffups.

Diesel 1
FollowupID: 320534

Reply By: amazoz - Sunday, Jun 13, 2004 at 10:39

Sunday, Jun 13, 2004 at 10:39
G'day Diesel1! I just read that you know the guy that has the Cruiser with the (replicated) missile in it, I have this massive airforce blunder listed on http://www.amazingaustralia.com.au/blunders.htm but am still looking for a photo of this. Maybe you or your mate Baz can send me one, it'll make a good free ad for Berrimah Radiators at the same time. Cheers,

AnswerID: 62969

Follow Up By: Diesel 1 - Monday, Jun 14, 2004 at 07:59

Monday, Jun 14, 2004 at 07:59
G'day Rob,

I'll be calling in to see Baz sometime during the next week - I will take the camera with me and grab a couple of shots for you.

What size images would you prefer?

Diesel 1
FollowupID: 324385

Reply By: amazoz - Monday, Jun 14, 2004 at 14:12

Monday, Jun 14, 2004 at 14:12
Thanks for the offer to send me some pics of the missile Diesel1, any size is fine but don't need any bigger than 800 or so wide, and if you guys feel like it an eyewitness account would liven things up even more. If Baz has a website for his business I'll link that too as appreciation.
AnswerID: 63085

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