Accidents – Incidents 1959

29 January 1959 F-104C 56-907 434TFS USAF written off pilot ok
This Starfighter crashed 5 miles SW of George AFB. It was the aircraft of the Commander of the 434th TFS, L/Col John Rosenbaum but when  it crashed it was flown by the 434th Ops Officer, Capt Ed Skelton.
Leading a four ship formation, Ed was taking off on the long 30 runway at George AFB. As he rotated and the gear started to come up he had a compressor stall and a complete loss of power. He pulled the aircraft vertical, to about 1500 feet, called "Ejecting" and went out horizontal to the ground. The F-104s had downward ejection seats in those days. His chute opened horizontally, and it did three oscillations after deploying before the pilot hit the ground about three hundred metres from the end of the runway The 104 nosed over and hit the ground dead flat about six hundred metres from the runway end. Although it exploded on impact the complete outline of an F104 was visible on the desert floor for months after the accident.  Ed Skelton was unhurt apart from minor abrasions and was flying again within a week. It was the first F104C lost due to a crash.
The IFS owns a copy of the official accident report. Beneath a photo of this commander aircraft taken at George AFB (thanks to Dick Moore).
9 February 1959 F-104C 56-921 434TFS USAF incident pilot ok
It encountered an accident at George this day but could be repaired soon after. The pilot Lt Col Charles W. Boedeker (434 TFS) was returning from a local night flight when he touched short of the overrun about 1.000 feet short of the runway. The aircraft skidded over the overrun, past the approach end barrier and came to an abrupt stop about 5.300 feet down the runway when the main landing gear collapsed completely. Pilot Lt Col Charles W. Boedeker was ok and left the aircraft on his own. Aircraft could not be repaired at the base and had to be sent to Lockheed. The IFS owns a copy of the official accident report.
13 February 1959 F-104A 56-783 538FiS USAF written off pilot ok
Written off after an accident near Larson AFB, Washington. During a GCI mission from Larson AFB, Washington the afterburner was selected in order to accelerate for an intercept. Shortly after  that Maj Ulman reported “Fire Warning Light” indication. The formation was vectored for the home base and there was no sign of fire from the outside. Uhlman jettisoned the dummy missiles and rails at 22.000 feet in order to prepare for an ejection. At about 11.000 feet Uhlman vectored the wingman away and ejected, but the wingman observed no man-seat separation. After a long time he saw the parachute stream, then the parachute blossom, swinging two to three times and hitting the ground. The wingman made several passes over the landing site of Uhlman and observed the chute billowing and apparently exerting pressure to the pilot (dragging him on the ground). The aircraft crashed 3 NM west of Grand Coulee, 53 NM north of Larson AFB, Washington. Pilot Maj William F. Uhlman III suffered major injuries, because he barely separated from his seat. The IFS owns a copy of the official accident report. Beneath a photo taken during an open house at Hamilton Air Force Base in 1958 and a photo taken at the crash site a while ago by Dave McCurry, showing one of the USAF stars on one of the two intakes.
28 February 1959 F-104C 56-892 476TFS USAF incident pilot ok
This Starfighter suffered a right main gear tire failure on takeoff at George AFB, California. The runway barrier cable failed and the aircraft departed the overrun, collapsing all three gear, and was heavily damaged. The pilot , Colonel Darrell S. Cramer, 479-TFW, 476-TFS , suffered only minor injuries.
This was a planned 4-ship practice mission for a long-range air refueling mission simulating flight to Hawaii. Four external tanks were carried (two tips, two pylons). One of the four aircraft was cancelled due to malfunctioning APC system. Flying as flight leader 56-892 started take-off roll with No.2 and No.3 following in 8 second intervals. Approx. 5,000 ft down the runway and 170 knots, Colonel Cramer felt vibration which he at first believed to be nose wheel shimmy. The vibration increased so rapidly he realized he had a right main gear tire failure. He was forced to abort t/o, jettisoning his stores, stop cocking the throttle and deploying the drag chute.
Vibration at this time was so severe the pilot was unable to read his instruments. The external tanks struck the runway and continued on the runway for a short period then went off either side at 15 to 25 degree angles. Fuel in the tanks had ignited. The F-104 straightened out and then veered left engaging the barrier left of center. The barrier arresting cable failed allowing the aircraft to continue off the end of the runway where all three gear collapsed. The aircraft came to rest 1,500 ft past the overrun end cocked to the right. The pilot egressed with only minor bruises. The No.2 and No. 3 pilots, not realizing soon enough that there was a problem, made successful takeoffs flying through the smoke, dust and debris from the lead airplane. There was no damage to these two airplanes. The IFS owns a copy of the official accident report.
19 March 1959 F-104C 56-900 476TFS USAF written off pilot ok
This F-104C was written off after an accident at Fairfield AB (later Travis AB), It was based on George AFB, Calif. The pilot Capt John Richard Niemela ejected and was ok. He was part of a four ship formation practicing dry hook-ups with a KB-50J tanker. Upon stabilizing behind the tanker after a hook-up the F-104 flamed and after unsuccessful attempts to restart he ejected with his downward ejection seat at 15,000 MSL. The aircraft impacted a 6,600 foot mountain on a 60 degree slope and disintegrated. Capt. Niemela was picked up by China Lake SAR 20 miles north of Lake Isabella. The IFS owns a copy of the official accident report. Photo beneath (thanks to Dick Moore) was taken at George AFB in 1959, the year that it was lost. Also two newspaper articles thanks to Christopher Baird.
56-900_George_195956-900_loss_newspaper156-900 Niemela article_viaCBaird
6 April 1959 F-104A 56-765 83FiS USAF written off pilot ok
Following a night team training round robin exercise lasting approx 45 minutes, this Starfighter made Point Reyes recovery to Hamilton AFB, CA when a mild internal explosion occurred, at 3000 ft, followed by complete electrical and power failure. Pilot was unable to air start and ejected with his downward ejecting seat at approx 1,500 feet. Pilot landed in water 2 to 4 feet deep and was safe.  He was picked up after 45 minutes. Aircraft crashed into San Pablo Bay and was destroyed 5 miles NE of Hamilton AFB, CA.  Pilot was Capt James J. Kleckner. USAF ADC, 83rd FIS. The IFS owns a copy of the official accident report. Photo left was taken at Hamilton on 18 March 1959, 3 weeks before it was lost, the newspaper photo shows clearly what was left of the aircraft in the muddy water, thanks to Christopher Baird.
16 April 1959 YF-104A 55-2971 ARDC USAF incident pilot ok
In 1959 this YF-104A damaged its undercarriage when it run off the runway during a barrier test program. By that time the aircraft was named “Slosher nr II”. The pilot had ejected the canopy but stayed inside the aircraft.
20 April 1959 F-104A 56-812 83FiS USAF written off pilot killed
Following a successful night intercept mission at approx 1950 hours, this Starfighter joined in trail with the lead F-104 for recovery to Hamilton AFB after some difficulty. Controlling GCI site had reported this aircraft's IFF not operating and they were unable to track the airplane on radar.  GCI passed flight over to Hamilton RAPCON for landing approach and Captain Moeckel last radioed that he was departing 18,000' and he acknowledged the latest altimeter setting. His position at that time was estimated to be 14.5 miles & 297 degrees from Hamilton at 13,000'. Approx 5 to 6 minutes after Capt Moeckel reported over Pt Reyes for penetration the RAPCON coordinator  received a weak emergency squawk in the vicinity of Petaluma with an IFF marker that lasted 3 sweeps of the radar then disappeared.  This emergency squawk appeared to turn in a northerly direction.  The F-104 had crashed in a heavily wooded area of the Marin County hills and was not located for 37 hours. The pilot did not attempt to eject and was killed instantly when the aircraft hit the trees. There were no witnesses. Pilot was Captain Raymond Moeckel, ADC, 78FG, 83rd FIS.
The IFS owns a copy of the official accident report. Beneath some photos, first a rough photo from the archived accident report showing the remains of the engine, second photo shows the newletter article about the accident (thanks to Chris Baird) and finally a photo taken at the crashsite (crater) by Chris Baird back in 2008 when still pieces of the aircraft could be found.
28 April 1959 F-104A 56-757 AFSC USAF incident pilot ok
This Starfighter had an incident at Holloman AFB, NM this day. On routine GAR-8 Sidewinder test mission as aircraft took off and retracted gear, the pilot noticed a fire warning light. Pilot zoomed to bailout altitude but fire light went out. Tower radioed no evidence of fire on the airplane. Pilot recovered safely back to Holloman. No injuries and no damage to aircraft. Pilot was Major Thomas McElmurry. Attached to ARDC.
The IFS owns a copy of the official accident report.
24 May 1959 F-104A 56-796 83FiS USAF incident pilot ok
On a morning practice scramble flight of two F-104s from the alert hangar at Hamilton AFB, California this aircraft experienced oil pressure drop to zero at 150 knots IAS during take-off roll.  The pilot determined the drop was not momentary but serious and aborted his t/o. About 3,500ʼ down the runway the pilot chopped the power and pulled the drag chute handle while starting to brake. The drag chute did not slow the aircraft so braking was increased. About 6,000ʼ down the runway the right main and nose gear tires failed and aircraft started veering to the right. Drag chute handle was pushed back and re-pulled with no effect. The nose gear tire separated from the wheel approximately 6,300ʼ down the runway. The arresting barrier was not up on this end of the runway. As the aircraft entered the overrun the right main and nose gears collapsed. Aircraft began contacting approach lights and the left main gear collapsed. It finally came to a stop on its belly 10 to 15 feet from the end of the overrun on the far right hand side. The missiles and rails had been knocked off about 250-275ʼ before aircraft came to a stop. The left missile was broken into 3 parts while the right missile remained intact. The nose wheel had separated and was found 375ʼ into the overrun from the end of the runway. The pilot stop cocked the throttle and placed the canopy part open at the time of the nose gear collapse. The pilot was not injured and there was no fire.  The aircraft was substantially damaged though repairable. Pilot was 1Lt Richard E. Quigley, ADC, 78 FG, 83 FIS.
By the time of the accident, this aircraft was wearing some kind of  nose art (cartoon)..  The IFS owns a copy of the official accident report.
15 June 1959 YF-104A 55-2956 ChinaLake USNavy written off pilot ok
This aircraft, belonging to the US Navy China Lake AIM9 test team, encountered a severe accident this day.  Pilot CMDR Herkimer “Herk” Kamp gladly survived the accident. It was lost during takeoff at NAF when it encountered an engine failure and by trying to stop it ran off the runway where the undercarriage collapsed. It was declared written off although at first sight the aircraft looked to be repairable. However the structural damage to the bottom of the aircraft and internally to the airframe itself was significant. It was replaced by 56-740 soon after. It is not clear what happened to the remains of this “956” but at least it was scrapped..
Surprisingly both USAF and USNavy do not own any accident report regarding this accident. Beneath photos of the aircraft before and after the crashdate. (Thanks to Larry Ruybal and Gary Verver)
17 June 1959 F-104C 56-901 434TFS USAF incident pilot ok
It had an accident this day at Edwards AFB while based at George. Very likely the pilot (Roth) was ok. Chris Baird made a short summary: In the evening at 22:23 local time, this Starfighter suffered engine malfunction and loss of thrust while refueling. It reached Edwards Air Force base for an emergency landing.It managed to reach the runway but due to the high speed it overrun collapsing its complete undercarriage. The aircraft slid for about 6,500 ft and was substantially damaged. The pilot (2Lt Daryl E. Roth, 479-TFW, 434-TFS.) was gladly ok.  This mishap occurred in flight of three F-104Cs from George AFB on night-refueling mission with KB-50Js in clear weather conditions. After about 75 minutes after takeoff  the refueling began. 2Lt Roth, flying as No.2, attempted four times to hook up to the KB-50J which was maintaining 208-2110 knots. He was unable to maintain position. Several more hook-ups were attempted but he could not obtain closure speed. A hook-up was finally made but then 2Lt Roth experienced a large loss of thrust. Instruments showed EGT 600 degrees, fuel flow steady, nozzle position 2.5, and RPM stabilized at 70%. When the throttle was retarded to idle then advanced rapidly to military there was no increase in RPM or thrust. This was done 3 times with no affect at which time airstart was actuated and power was regained. Lead aircraft instructed Roth to return to George.  When 56-901 made a right turn towards George another loss of thrust was experienced. Clearing procedure was done again and power was regained again. The pilot climbed to 35,000 ft then made AB climb to 40,000. But a descent of 1,200 to 1,600 ft per minute was required to maintain 275 knots. A decision was made to land at Edwards AFB 15,000 ft runway on the lakebed.  During descent 2Lt Roth passing through 27,000 ft noticed that he had 92% RPM indicated as compared to 83% the lead pilot reported he was carrying to maintain wing position. A high key point was set over Edwards AFB at about 20,000 ft and power set to 85%. The precautionary pattern was flown with an apparent normal rate of descent. Flare was made at about 200 knots and touchdown at 190 knots. Touchdown occurred on the concrete overrun 750 short of the threshold lights. Immediately on touchdown the main landing gear struts were forced through the air inlet ducts allowing the main gear to spread out and up so that the wings rested on the wheels. The nose gear was sheared off at touchdown and the aircraft slid on its belly for 6,500 ft burning on its underside throughout the slide.  The pilot evacuated safely and was uninjured. The F-104 was significantly damaged but could be repaired. The IFS owns a copy of the official accident report.
23 June 1959 F-104A 56-742 G.E. USAF written off pilot killed
This Starfighter (officially assigned to General Electric) crashed at the “Rogers Dry Lake”, near Edwards AFB, California. The General Electric civilian test-pilot Marvin M. "Whitey" Van Salter made a low altitude ejection, but his chute failed to open in time and was tragically killed. The aircraft departed Edwards AFB at 0927 hours on an engine evaluation flight. Three open nozzle afterburner lights were conducted at 6,000’ over Rogers Dry Lake, the last at 180 KIAS. The pilot then entered normal traffic pattern and landing for Runway 22. The pilot did one go around with 1,000 pounds fuel remaining. Aircraft was then observed to fly a normal traffic pattern up to the final approach phase. Wings level on the final approach, the aircraft was seen to roll left then enter a shallow dive and crash on Rogers Dry Lake on an approx 190 degrees magnetic heading  5,000’ short and 3,000’ left of the runway overrun. Time of flight was 47 minutes. It was stated that when the pilot deployed the flaps, the interconnect cable sheared and caused an asymmetric flap condition making the airplane rolling to the left. Although pilot Van Salter ejected immediately he was too low to the ground and was sadly killed. The airplane was completely destroyed. The IFS owns a copy of the official accident report. Beneath some photos thanks to Jason Chapman and a news article thanks to Chris Baird
56-742_VanSaltersArticle56-742_J79_VanSaltercrash_JasonChapmanCollection56-742_J79_VanSaltercrash_JasonChapmanCollection256-742 GE F-104A after its crash onto the lakebed 23Jun1959
30 June 1959 F-104A 56-768 ARDC USAF written off pilot ok
This Starfighter was written off after an accident during takeoff from Edwards AFB, Calif. Pilot Capt. Norvin “Bud” C.Evans made a successful ejection after a broken oil-line caused a fire.
This F-104A flew as an AFFTC support aircraft at Edwards AFB. On this date it was flying a chase support mission (X-2) with an F-11F Tiger flown by RCAF Lieutenant Jack Woodman.  The F-104 made a normal AB take-off seven seconds behind the F-11F from Runway 4 at Edwards AFB. After becoming airborne, strong fumes were noted in the cockpit. Instrument readings appeared normal however and the fumes dissipated. A max afterburner climb was made to approximately 45,000ʼ and the flight continued in the supersonic corridor in the vicinity of Cuddeback and Harper Lakes descending to 35,000ʼ and performing S-turns in the corridor. Coming out of AB to .9 Mach as the flight turned out of the west end of the supersonic corridor, engine roughness and noise caused the pilot to check oil pressure, which was passing through 30 PSI and dropping steadily. The F-104A and F-11F then commenced a return to base due to the malfunction.  On descending approach to Edwards the F-104 continued a steady drop in oil pressure with intermittent engine vibrations.  Oil pressure dropped to zero about 30 miles west of the town of Rosemond. The pilot increased throttle to 96% and attempted a straight-in approach to Runway 4 at Edwards AFB.  He turned long final at 9,000ʼ and 400 knots with rapidly decreasing airspeed and heavy engine vibration (the time was 1821 hours). As he actuated the speed brakes the engine began grinding loudly and vibrating heavily. The radio failed as he was transmitting his difficulties. The nozzles began oscillating between full open and full close. The throttle was closed. Airspeed bled off to 250 knots passing 7,000ʼ in a steep descent. The aircraft was vibrating heavily and yawing left and right. Smoke began to pour into the cockpit as well as the smell of hot metal. The pilot hooked up his zero lanyard, pulled back on the stick and ejected at appr 2,500ʼ as the aircraft pitched up. The seat remained in close proximity to the pilot so that only the lap belt release was actuated even though the zero lanyard was attached. Pilot had to manually actuate the D-ring and his parachute deployed normally at 1,000ʼ. The pilot landed safely.  The F-104 crashed into the ground and exploded. Total duration of flight was 23 minutes. The crash occurred 4 miles from the approach end of Runway 4 at Edwards AFB.
The investigation revealed the oil pressure loss was caused by a rupture in an expandable oil line. The loss of cooling oil melted the compressor bearings, which caused the compressor blades, rotating at 18,000 rpm, to shift, impacting the fixed stator blades and destroying the engine. Regarding the problems with the ejection seat. an examination showed that the cable, which was attached to the firing initiator, was wound in three loops and encased under a plate that was bolted to the seat front. The last time the seat was inspected, the last loop had gotten wedged between the seat and the plate when the cover plate was bolted to the seat. The investigators estimated that to stretch the inside strands of that trapped loop one-sixteenth of an inch, just enough to fire the seat ejection cartridge, The pilot had to have pulled hard enough to create a force of 450 pounds..
The IFS owns a copy of the official accident report.
7 July 1959 F-104A 56-815 83FiS USAF written off pilot ok
This F-104A crashed near Caprue, 17 miles N of Haljamar, New Mexico. The Pilot, Capt. Benjamin R. Battle, was ok. After departure from New England AFB to Kirtland AFB his F-104A flew into a thunder storm over New Mexico and engine stalled after a flame out. Re-starting the engine failed in combination of an electrical failure. All instruments were dead. When engine restarted again he used the stick to control it again and due to sudden g-forces the pilot experienced a black out. When he was back alive the aircraft was too low for recovery and the pilot had to eject. Afterwards investigations found out that one of the tip tanks had blown off during the thunderstorm and rolled up the wing, spun back and hit the tail and ripped it off. That must have been the reason for the pilot's black out due to severe g-forces. The g-forces and wild gyrations have resulted in 3 damaged vertebrae's of the pilot. He was in the hospital for 6 months to recover.. The IFS owns a copy of the official accident report. Beneath a photo showing this aircraft just after being manufactured at Palmdale in May 1958. (Lockheed-Martin)
16 July  1959 F-104C 56-905 434TFS USAF incident pilot ok
At 10:11 local time, this F-104C suffered a right main tire failure on takeoff from George AFB, California. The pilot aborted the takeoff and engaged the barrier dead center. The aircraft decelerated and came to rest off the right side of the overrun in the dirt. There was no fire. The pilot, 1Lt Morris B. Larson of 479-TFW, 434-TFS was unhurt. Taking-off in formation as No. 2/Wing, Lt Larson felt the right main gear tire blow at 4,200 ft down the runway and appr 150 knots.  He started to veer towards Lead and corrected with left brake and reduction of power to avoid collision. The pilot then aborted t/o, reducing throttle and engaging nose wheel steering and deploying drag chute. The pilot was able to keep the F-104 centered and radioed that he was taking the barrier. Aimed at the center of the barrier he moved throttle to OFF. A successful barrier engagement was made and the aircraft decelerated, then veered right into the dirt just off the hard overrun surface. The pilot engaged the fuel shut off switch, opened the canopy and evacuated without injury. The IFS owns a copy of the official accident report.
20 July 1959 F-104A 56-836 538FiS USAF incident pilot ok
Together with another F-104A he took off from Larson at appr 11:50 PST on a local IFR tactical action flight. After completing the intercept portion of the mission he returned back to Larson. Appr 3 miles out on final he was advised to break right out of traffic due to 2 Marine A4D jets ahead of him on final approach. He immediately broke out and initiated a go around. he raised the gear and flaps. When he got clearance for runway 21 the pilot, Capt Wesley Earl Brown, called gear down and preasure up on base leg. The miscommunications (possibly radio interference) with the tower resulted in the aircraft touching down with gear up and locked. The aircraft slid to a stop and happily no fire followed. The pilot evacuated the aircraft immediately with apparent injury. The aircraft was withdrawn from operational usage, went to Lockheed for instructional use, and was modified to QF-104A by Lockheed by September 28, 1962.
The IFS owns a copy of the official accident report. Photos thanks to Ian Wallace.
11 August 1959 F-104A 56-825 83FiS USAF written off pilot ok
This aircraft crashed during a take-off accident on an alert scramble mission from Hamilton AFB.  During take-off as the nose wheel came off the runway and just as the aircraft was about to become airborne there was a muffled explosion and loss of thrust.  Pilot came out of AB and decided to abort.  He pulled throttle to idle, put speed brakes out, and pulled the drag chute handle with approx 3,500 feet of runway left.  With no apparent drag chute deceleration, pilot pulled chute handle again and heavily braked.  Aircraft struck barrier at high speed, 100-120 knots, the right main gear collapsed.  Aircraft swerved to the right, off the runway overrun, struck the water in the canal and came to rest about 100 feet beyond the canal.  There was no fire. Pilot sustained major injuries but was able to get out of the airplane.  Pilot was 1Lt James D. Dunn.  USAF ADC, 83rd FIS.  Aircraft written-off.
The accident was caused by a blown front tire during take-off .Pieces of the tire were ingested into the engine causing engine failure, and an aborted takeoff. Aircraft ended up buried in the mud, totaled.  Inside the USAF-files 'reclamation 030959' can be found as real administrative phase out date. The IFS owns a copy of the official accident report. Photo beneath was taken by mr. Larkins at Hamilton AB in 1959. Interesting to see the lacking tail markings.
19 October 1959 F-104B 56-3724 337FiS USAF written off pilots killed
This day this F-104B crashed near Templeton, Massachusetts while performing an instrument proficiency check flight. Both pilots ejected but did not survive. Instructor pilot was Captain James T. Akeley and co-pilot was 1Lt Peter A. MacBurnie both of 337-FIS. About 20 minutes into the flight the crew requested a practice UHF/DF problem from Westover tower while on a 060 degree heading at 20,000’ but the crew did not re-contact the tower on the proper channel to perform the problem. 15 minutes later the crew contacted Boston Air Defense Sector (SAGE) and requested recovery while flying 030 degrees and 30,000’. They were told to make a starboard turn to 230 degrees and descend to 10,000’. The mishap F-104 acknowledged passing through 15,000’ and traffic. A corrective turn was then ordered but the F-104B did not respond. About the time that SAGE was to hand over to terminal approach control all SIF and radar contact was lost with the F-104. The time was 1407Z. Duration of the flight had been 50 minutes. The Massachusetts State Police later contacted Base Operations at Westover AFB informing them of an aircraft crash near Templeton, Massachusetts. An SA-16 pilot dispatched to the location reported the debris and fire at 1720Z. At 1825Z a report was received that two bodies had been found at the crash site. At 1842Z the wreck was confirmed to be an F-104.
The cause of the fatalities was ejection at too low an altitude for survival. Cause of the accident became undetermined. The IFS owns a copy of the official accident report.
28 October 1959 F-104C 56-915 436TFS USAF written off pilot ok
This F-104C experienced engine failure (apparent fuel flow problem) following a solo bomb run at Cuddeback Gunnery Range. Unable to air start, the pilot was forced to eject near Koehn Dry Lake, Cantil, California. He received some injuries but survived. The pilot was Captain Robert Francis Brockman, 479th TFW, 436 TFS. The 56-915 made a normal take-off at 1030 hours, 28 October 1959, for a M-1C solo bomb system evaluation mission from George AFB. The pilot proceeded along the Hot Gun Route to Cuddeback Gunnery Range and made the first bomb drop clean from 34,000’. Turnout was made to the left normally at 25,000’ with airspeed at 375 knots but just after passing Cantil Dry Lake and the village of Cantil the pilot heard a very loud grinding and crashing noise, accompanied by severe shuddering and shaking of the aircraft. At the same time the aircraft flipped up into a 90 degree bank to the left and lost thrust. The pilot righted the aircraft and noted EGT at 460 degrees and the generators were offline. Tachometer showed zero RPM. The RAT was deployed and warning lights illuminated and the aircraft began to respond normally. The pilot turned back to Cantil Dry Lake and with electrical power restored by the RAT noted that he had no fuel flow. He stop cocked the throttle and wiggled it a couple of times, then returned it to full military power and hit the air start switches 3 or 4 times. There was still no fuel flow. He nosed over and put the aircraft into a dive and prepared for bail out. The airspeed built up to 400 knots in the dive with no RPM indication. As the airspeed built up the aircraft started shuddering again. He attempted another air start with no success. At this time the pilot believed the engine would not start and prepared himself for a flame-out pattern and dead-stick landing on the dry lake if the surface looked suitable. At 6,000’ indicated the pilot decided the dry lake surface was unsuitable as it appeared wet and not smooth (also, it was not on the approved dry lake list). The pilot ejected successfully at 260 knots and all survival systems operated normally. The pilot floated for a short time and saw the aircraft nose into the ground and explode. He struck the ground in a backward roll.  The aircraft crashed alongside Koehn Dry Lake, 4 miles ESE of Cantil, California in the Mojave Desert and was destroyed. Duration of the flight was 35 minutes. The IFS owns a copy of the official accident report. Photo attached shows the engine at the crashsite (from the rough accident report). Newspaper article came from Chris Baird.
2 November 1959 YF-104A 55-2964 ARDC USAF written off pilot ok
Written off after an accident at Wright Patterson, Ohio. Approx 90 seconds after takeoff, coming out of A/B, pilot, Major James William Bradbury heard and felt a moderate explosion. Pilot declared emergency with apparent engine flame-out. Pilot determined immediately that he could not make it back to either Wright or Patterson Field and ejection would be over populated areas. He notified tower he would point the a/c towards an open field SE and eject. Over relatively open country and losing altitude (keeping in mind the downward ejection seat), the pilot ejected. Chute opened at 500 ft and pilot was safe although landing in a tree. Pilot observed the a/c make a slight turn left where it struck the ground at a shallow angle and hit an automobile on a road then a house. (Report: The pilot had abandoned the aircraft on a approximate heading of 170 degrees and the heading upon impact was around 165 degrees. The aircraft struck the ground in a very shallow angle just to the rear of a frame out building and careened into the northwest corner of a brick house approximately 8 miles from Patterson Field. The pilot landed without injury and went to a nearby home to report the accident)  Inside the house two small children were trapped in the wreckage and killed. Their mother ran burning from the house and died 6 days later from her burns. The mother was 34, her daughters killed in the wreck were aged 2 and 12. The IFS owns a copy of the official accident report. Beneath some photos thanks to Chris Baird, John Stemple and Lockheed Martin.
55-2964_NewspaperArticle4_CBaird55-2964_NewspaperArticle3_CBaird55-2964_NewspaperArticle2_08nov59_CBaird55-2964_NewspaperArticle1_CBaird55-2964_crashphoto_back_SFExaminer_CBaird55-2964 crash 2 Nov 1959 UPI telephoto_ChrisBaird
2 November 1959 F-104A 56-733 ARDC USAF incident unknown
This aircraft encountered a severe accident this day but could be repaired soon again. It was officially reported on the USAF list but sadly the USAF did not have any accident report available. It looks like no pilot was involved in the accident.
6 November 1959 F-104A 56-791 83FiS USAF incident pilot ok
This aircraft while at McClellan AFB (AMC, SMAMA) undergoing IRAN suffered a landing accident (on Runway 16 at McClellan) resulting in repairable damage.  Flight Test pilot Captain Jimmie Pierce received minor injuries. The aircraft had previously been test flown twice by Capt. Pierce with numerous discrepancies discovered on both flights. Capt. Pierce discussed the previous problems with a Lockheed Technical Representative before this third flight.
The aircraft was serviced with 5,850 pounds of internal fuel with no external tanks attached.
After take-off and accelerating to climb-out speed in a left turn the pilot noted heavy fuel fumes. The pilot immediately switched to 100% oxygen and notified the tower.  The tower cleared him for emergency landing and dispatched fire trucks. After rolling out of the initial left turn Capt Pierce climbed to 10,000-11,000 feet to reduce speed and gain altitude for a low key entry to a forced landing pattern. He placed the flaps in t/o position and then lowered the gear shortly after calling “low key” to assure establishing a safe gear condition. As the pilot rolled out on final approach, he noted the airspeed at 260-to-270 knots and determined his touchdown point would be half-way down the runway.  Capt. Pierce elected to lower land flaps and extend the dive brakes in order to descend more rapidly until intercepting a more favourable final approach glide.  But as he passed through 2,000-3,000 feet he became aware of an increasing rate of sink. He immediately retracted the dive brakes, rotated the nose up, and advanced the throttle to full military. Airspeed at this time was 220 knots.  The pilot could not break the rate of descent with full military power and rotation of the aircraft. He did not use afterburner because of the previous fuel fumes. The aircraft hit hard on the tail section and main gear near simultaneously at a distance 72 feet past the beginning of the asphalt overrun. The plane continued approx 900 feet before the nose gear contacted the overrun. 300 feet after contacting the overrun the nose tire blew out. The aircraft continued down the runway, grinding away the nose wheel; 2,700 feet after the nose tire blew, one half of the nose wheel had ground off and the other half fell away from the strut. The plane travelled another 1,000 feet partially grinding off the piston portion of the nose strut, before coming to a stop.
The tower had notified Capt Pierce that he was on fire during the landing roll. However, the fire was only the sparking and flash burning of the magnesium being ground off the nose strut. The fire went out before the aircraft stopped.
Capt Pierce evacuated the aircraft suffering severe back pains.  the pilot hurried back to safe the ejection seat after he had evacuated. Damage to the aircraft turned out to be relatively minor. Damage Report lists the following description of damage: nose gear ground off, nose gear doors DBR, pitot boom damaged and skin on bottom of aft fuselage buckled and torn.  Estimated cost of repair: $2,866.00 (350 man hours to repair) The IFS owns a copy of the official accident report. Beneath a photo of this 56-791 released by USAF.
10 November 1959 F-104B 57-1295 83FiS USAF written off pilots ok
Pilots 2Lt Jamer Reverdy "Rev" Allender Jr. and Instructor Capt. Orland "Wayne" Jensen were in a "B" model with pylon tanks installed when shortly after takeoff for a local VFR transition mission, they experienced complete electrical failure and the gear not retracting and flaps staying in t/o. When the pylons went dry the mechanical pump pressurizing the pylons wouldn't shut off. The result was, the feed tank was pressurized to the point where it wouldn't feed, and the engine flamed out. They were at low altitude circling around the runway, and were over the bay when the flame out occurred. They both ejected and survived. Investigations found out that the electrical failure was due to a severe nose wheel shimmy on takeoff. They climbed to around 10,000 burn off some fuel while circling the field. When they thought the pylons were empty, Wayne took control of the aircraft for landing. As he started to maneuver for the landing, the engine flamed out due to fuel starvation. Rev said that the airspeed was unwinding as fast as the RPM. Wayne pushed the nose over to approx. 30 deg dive angle, but not enough. The plane stalled, pitched up, and went into a spin. They ejected with the down seats at approx. 8,000 ft, Rev first Then Jensen. Rev got an automatic release, but Jensen’s seat belt failed to blow, so he had to get out of the seat manually. By the time his chute blossomed, he swung twice and hit the water. Rev had a five minute ride down. The aircraft was observed entering the waters of San Pablo Bay, 3.3 miles SE of Hamilton AFB in a spinning attitude. As a result of this accident A solenoid operated air pump was installed after that in the F-104's to preclude the same thing happening again.  The IFS owns a copy of the official accident report. Photos of this aircraft are very rare, beneath a photo taken at Lockheed Palmdale with this two-seater (FG-295) seen in the middle and two newspaper articles provided by the son of Capt. Orland "Wayne" Jensen.
12 November 1959 F-104C 56-916 476TFS USAF written off pilot ok
Written off after an accident at 6 miles SE of Tinker AFB, Oklahoma during a mid-air collision with a T33 (51-4233) near OklahomaCity. Pilot Capt. Melvin Vardai "Mel" Corley Jr. bailed out (downwards) and was safe. The fuselage, landed flat and didn't even burn. Amazing. The T-33's left wing went 2 1/2 feet behind the pilot's head, through the e-bay, and cut the 104 into. The nose section and the fuselage came down separately but hit flat. Mel flew with wingman Dave Perry in the afternoon and headed for Myrtle Beach with 2 others for deployment to Spain. They took off, #3 and #4 had their standard 6-7 seconds spacing behind. They were making a left turn out and Nr.2 had to cross over after takeoff. Nr. 2 had just crossed over to the left wing, to allow the others to join on the right. He was in fairly close on Mel (lead), to stay out of the way of the [joining] element. In his peripheral [vision] he picked up the Lockheed T-33 [closing fast] and recalled seeing the front seater (IP) looking at Mel and the back seater (student) did not have his [instrument] hood over him. He did not have time to do anything but throw the stick in the North West corner. He felt the tremendous explosion. As his A/C completed the roll he looked back right he saw Lead's A/C completely engulfed in flames. There was no cockpit on it. There was a BIG bang and the cockpit filled with smoke and Mel had no control of the A/C. He was forced to the left side of the CP at which time he pulled the ejection seat ring between his legs. When he ejected down his elbow hit the console. He was slightly injured but ok. the collision happened around 5000 ft. The IFS owns a copy of the official accident report. Beneath a rough photo from the USAF accident report showing the wreckage from above...
13 November 1959 YF-104A 55-2965 ARDC USAF incident pilot ok
Crash landed and was repaired later on. At approximately 1120 hours PST this day, this aircraft with  pilot Capt George Paul Eremea, was involved in an accident during a dead engine approach and landing at “Bicycle Lake” Camp Irwin, California. The aircraft received major damage. The pilot was gladly uninjured.
The aircraft departed Edwards Air Force Base at 1100 hours PST on a local VFR clearance for a test flight due to maintenance performed on the afterburner fuel system (X-3). Fuel on board at take-off was approximately 905 gallons, Fuel on board at the time of the accident was approximately 320 gallons. The weather was high thin broken 14 miles visibility, temperature 66 degrees F. Winds were light and variable.
A normal afterburner takeoff and climb in easterly direction to 30000 feet was performed. During the various tests executed on the engine AB system suddenly the fire warning lights started to illuminate when the engine passed 72% RPM. Because of these lights the pilot decided to make a dead engine emergency landing on the dry lake North East of camp Irwin. The throttle was moved to idle cut-off and the fire warning lights went out. A glide towards Bicycle Lake was established at approximately 260knots. A pattern was planned for a 270 degrees approach to runway 04. At the turn onto downwind the altitude was 13000 feet and the ram-air turbine was extended. Evidence of a proper extension was noted by illumination by some lights on the master caution panel. From baseleg turning ontofinal the altitude-attitude seemed a little too low for the baseleg position. The turn was tightened a little to reduce the distance to touchdown. The aircraft was purposely dived toward some low hills (appr. 400 feet high) which were in line with the final approach. At approximately 3700 feet indicated altitude a gradual flare was started. Just short of the lakebed the landing gear handle was placed in the down position and the emergency landing gear lanyard was pulled and held until the aircraft touched down. Approximately 4 seconds time elapsed. During the flare the rate of sink seemed unusually high although the airspeed was 255 knots at the start of the flare. Airframe buffet, possible stick shaker actuation, and some lateral control problems were experienced just prior touchdown. The control stick was intentionally pushed forward slightly to commit the aircraft to touch down and to prevent the tail of the aircraft from dragging. Just after the aircraft touched down the dragchute handle was pulled and at the same time the left wing dropped. The drag chute failed to deploy and the aircraft started to veer slightly to the left. The speed brake was moved to the open position. Heavy right braking was used in an attempt to maintain directional control. In addition to veering to the left, the aircraft began to skid to the right as two banks of loose dirt bordering runway 13-31 were approached. The shoulder harnass was locked and the canopy was fully opened prior to hitting the banks of dirt (approximately 12 inches high and 36 inches wide, separated by approximately 200 feet). When the first bank of dirt was crossed a very large jolt was  experienced. A much less severe jolt was experienced as the second bank of dirt was crossed. The aircraft came to rest off the edge of the lakebed, approximately 1000 feet from the second bank of dirt heading 265 degrees after approximately 4700 feet ground distance. Of the 135 degrees turned from touchdown to a complete stop the greatest amount of turn occurred in the last 500 feet of distance traveled. The aircraft skidded approximately 25 degrees as it had stopped. The pilot evacuated the aircraft prior to the arrival of the crash crew.
The IFS owns a copy of the official accident report. Beneath some photos showing the damage of the aircraft. (Thanks to Chris Baird)
14 December 1959 F-104A 56-895 476TFS USAF written off pilot ok
It crashed somewhere in Spain while being stationed at Moron. Pilot Raymond L. Krasovich ejected safely. Capt Raymond L Krasovich (flight leader of two) departed from Moron AB on an air-to-air refueling mission.
After the gear and flaps were up, the pilot retarded the throttle out of AB. When in flight he retarded the throttle appr. 1/8 of an inch , the pilot heard a muffled explosion followed by a rumble and a corresponding loss of thrust. He informed the wing man that he had an engine failure, jettisoned the tip tanks and started a left turn to Moron. While retarding to idle and then to military power again the rumbling and lack of thrust continued. Reaching 230 KIAS the aircraft was buffeting and descending and the pilot ejected at 800-900 feet above the terrain. The pilot’s chute did not open completely but he landed in an olive tree and survived with only minor injuries.
The IFS owns a copy of the official accident report.
15 December 1959 F-104A 56-796 83FiS USAF incident pilot ok
Pilot Dick Quigley force landed this 104 at NAS Santa Rosa airport this day used to be alongside highway 101 (west side) a few miles up from Novato. It was on an FCF, (functional check flight ), Dick Quigley was at the  controls, in a burner climb. 450kts to 0.9 Mach, then 0.9 to altitude. At FL 220, he picked up 0.9 Mach, and pushed the nose over to hold it. There was a washer laying on the bottom of the oil tank, that was inadvertently dropped in there at an earlier time. Could have been done at the factory, or anywhere between there and the flight line. When the plane was pushed over, the washer  floated up due to the negative "G" force, and was sucked into the oil pump, causing the pump drive shaft to shear. He lost oil pressure at FL 290, and was over NAS Santa Rosa airport's 7,000 ft runway, so he put it in there, T.O. flaps, and 210kts over the fence. He shut the engine down at touch down and had the plane towed off the runway. We later towed it back to Hamilton via the hi-way”. The IFS owns a copy of the official accident report. Photo beneath shows the aircraft towed back to the airbase via the road (Thanks to George Davis)
16 December 1959 F-104A 56-795 83FiS USAF incident pilot ok
It suffered an accident on Hamilton AFB. Pilot George Davis was ok. Aircraft could soon be repaired. George Davis stated later: “It was caused by  the loss of the left leading edge flap. I picked the aircraft up at McClellan AFB after an IRAN. Everything went well till T.O. as I had to use manual over ride to get the gear up. The gear came up OK, but the gear warning light remained on. I recycled the gear and the light went out. I continued my climb to around FL250, and cruised to Hamilton AFB. Upon arrival, I had around 3000 pounds of fuel so I went out over the water to burn off fuel for landing. I checked the wing flap system for BLC roll off, and it was OK. I continued with dives climbs turns with and without T.O. flaps. In one of the T.O. flap turns I heard a loud noise, and felt the bird shudder. I rolled wings level and checked what I could see of the bird from the cockpit. I found that the left leading edge flap was gone. I notified Hamilton of the situation, as I checked the flight characteristics with gear down, and flaps in T.O. and up position. With T.O. flaps I could control the roll and keep wings level with 80% to 90% aileron. When land flaps were selected the aircraft rolled uncontrollably to the near inverted position. As it was rolling I was retracting flaps to T.O., and as flaps were moving to T.O. more control was regained with flap movement toward that  position. I asked for and was given a look over by one of the alert birds. All was OK except for a large hole near the wing root where the leading edge flap actuator was ripped out of the aircraft. I thought the aircraft flew well enough to attempt a landing. I landed without incident on the 10,000 foot runway at Travis AFB. And for that they gave me a shield “We point with pride”. The IFS owns a copy of the official accident report. Beneath a few interesting photos thanks to George Davis showing some detailed shots on the damages on the airframe.


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