A place in history for skill and bravery
Growing up on the coast at Nelson Bay, NSW, Squadron Leader Luke Warner spent his spare time fishing, surfing and water skiing with family and supporting his father’s Lions Club activities.
He completed his schooling in Newcastle and undertook his tertiary education at the Australian Defence Force Academy after joining the ADF.
Squadron Leader Warner has the unique record of being part of one of only two crews to have landed an F-111 on its belly.
Etched forever in his memory, the 2006 wheels-up landing became a news story across the world, highlighting the skills and abilities of Air Force personnel to perform in any situation.
“We had been advised by the RAAF Amberley control tower that our left wheel had fallen off on take-off,” Squadron Leader Warner said.
“It was pretty frightening at the time – we flew for four hours around RAAF Base Amberley burning fuel while pilots and support staff both in Australia and the United States worked in simulators to develop the best landing plan.
“As time passed, we were pretty comfortable with what we wanted the plan to be, but waited for a decision on the recommended landing approach.
“After a number of practice runs we landed, catching the arrestor cable and with sparks flying everywhere and significant fuel still on board, we jumped from the jet as quickly as we could as there was a real chance of an explosion.
“I still cop lots of flak for how quickly I got out of the jet!”
Squadron Leader Warner remains working at RAAF Base Amberley for Headquarters No. 82 Wing.
Air Force is preparing to mark 100 years of service to Australia on March 31, 2021. You can find out more by visiting airforce.gov.au/100
You can watch Squadron Leader Warner’s story here.