A night I will never forget! F111 Crash on the Isle of Skye 7 December 1982

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A night I will never forget! F111 Crash on the Isle of Skye 7 December 1982

F111 Plaque

“At about 8 pm on the night of 7 December 1982 after descending to about 1000ft over Loch Scavaig, an F-111F aircraft struck the southern face of the 1620 foot peak Sgurr na Stri, Strathaird*. The unarmed aircraft, serial number 70-2377, was on a regular training mission from RAF Lakenheath in Suffolk.

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.

* The Strathaird estate was…

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About heavywhalley.MBE

After dinner speaker Lecturer and Mountain Rescue Specialist. Environmentalist. Spent 36 years with RAF Mountain Rescue and 4 years with a civilian Team . Still an active Mountaineer and loves the wild places.
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12 Responses to A night I will never forget! F111 Crash on the Isle of Skye 7 December 1982

  1. Dave Earl says:

    I`ve finished the account on the F-111 in the book now Dave, pity I never heard from Steven Pitt`s daughter, it would have been nice to have a phopto of him with the story. The book is in fact finished, but I`m awaiting a little info from a relative on one of the aircraft before I submit for proofing. Thanks again for your help from the Kinloss MRT point of view.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Doug Jackson says:

    I was the safety advisor to the board and was on the site myself. What a rough, yet beautiful place! The pilot, Burnley Rudiger, was a friend of mine. I understand he also had a brother (only brother if I got my facts right) who was killed in an F-4 in Spain. Though I was also a WSO (weapon system officer; e.g., right seater) I did not know Steven Pitt. I do know that this particular flight included some corrective action for the young right seater. While the primary cause of the crash was crew error, the investigation concluded that it was likely exacerbated by equipment (auto terrain following radar) failure. They hit the mountain at exactly 1000 feet above sea level, which indicates the onboard set never transitioned from seeing itself overwater to “seeing” the mountain and commanding the airplane to climb.

    BTW, I was also on the board and at the crash site of the other F-111F in Scotland that went down (as I recall) the summer prior to this crash. The crew ejected from that one and the cause of that crash was 100% non crew error that would take some time to detail. Weren’t you at that site as well David?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes – I was on the other crash thank God that they were okay!

      I have put up photos of the crash on my blog!

      Kind regards



      • Doug Jackson says:

        That sounds great David! One of my regrets is not saving photos of the investigations I was on. Not hopeless though. You have some, plus when I shared this link on friends of the F-111 one of the other investigators posted more photos you may not have seen. I agree about being thankful the crew that ejected the summer previous in Scotland was ok. I remember how that airplane just sort of mushed into the peet moss making it a lot easier to recover and find the precise cause of the pitchup.


      • Yes I have photos of the canopy they are on the blog, I was on the recovery as well staying at the Broadford Hotel for 5 days. I do not remember getting helicoptered in at first as we had to walk in every day form the track?


      • Doug Jackson says:

        Yes we were all at The Bradford. I don’t recall walking all the way from there, but it is possible (that we did… So long ago). Not sure how long it took to get a big helicopter to get there nor how long it stayed. I do remember that they had to lower and pick us up using a cable as we searched the mountain.


  3. Doug Jackson says:

    Sorry, The Broadford. Spell check thinks it’s so smart.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. We drove you in the choppers were U/S for a while and we walked from Camusunary it took nearly 2 hours each day to the site and was dark at 1600 early starts. The helicopter came after we left.


    • Doug Jackson says:

      Don’t know if I said it before, but we appreciated so much all that you and your team did for us. I would like to return there one day, would be all the better if you were there to guide me/us. I don’t think I want to do it in January though.😉


  5. Doug Jackson says:

    I mean December (or January for that matter).🤣


  6. Please do get in touch I would love to take you there.
    Kind Regards



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