Accidents – Incidents 1960

18 January 1960 F-104A 56-873 538FiS USAF written off pilot ok
After take off from Tinker AFB it crashed 4 miles E and 1 mile N of McLoud, Oklahoma. Pilot 1stLt.William Thomas Tilson departed Tinker AFB at 19:33Z with another F-104 to Wright Patterson AFB. Appr. 15 minutes after take-off, as both climbed through 31,000ft pilot Tilson notified the lead F-104 that he had an engine oil low level light on. Lead engaged immediately a turn back to Tinker AFB and requested an emergency. At that moment the oil pressure gauge has dropped to zero. Shortly thereafter the pilot informed the leader that the RPM had dropped to 70% and then engine was running very rough. The pilot was ordered to bail out and the ejection went fine at appr 22.000 ft. Just before ejection the pilot attempted to point the aircraft towards an unpopulated area. There were no casualties and pilot was ok. The IFS owns a copy of the official accident report.
27 January 1960 F-104C 57-919 435TFS USAF written off pilot ok
This F-104C was damaged beyond repair after landing short at George AFB, California and crashing. The pilot, Captain Harold W. Rademacher of 479 TFW, 435 TFS. was seriously injured but survived.
During a 2 hour and 45 minute night local area refueling mission, this aircraft was flying as number 4 of four 435th TFS F-104s. After successfully refueling and flying between 25,000 and 30,000 ft, 1900 local time, this pilot noted that his radar became inoperative and lost contact with his element lead. Capt Rademacher’s lead instructed him to take the lead for letdown to the field since the element lead had no VOR. The element circled the field at 7 to 10,000 ft to burn off fuel to about 2100 pounds. A delay re-entering initial was experienced because a KB-50 was landing. While on downwind, Capt Rademacher observed the KB-50 to still be on final so he made his base leg wider than normal. The KB-50 broke out of traffic to the right. Capt Rademacher rolled out on a long final approach about 600 ft above the ground. He maintained 86 to 88% power, noted airspeed at 180 knots, and continued down the final approach.
He was observed to be low by mobile control and was advised to “hold it off” but he did not hear this transmission.  His aircraft continued to descend and struck the ground 2,000 ft from the end of the runway and in line with the center of the runway. The aircraft skipped through a perimeter fence and touched down again and the right main gear failed. The aircraft became airborne again and touched down nose wheel first on the overrun about 500 ft from the end of the runway. The aircraft bounced in the air once more. Mobile control advised Capt Rademacher to “ease it down”, but the F-104 came down on the nose and right tip tank off the right side of the runway and even with the runway end. The nose and left main gear failed and the aircraft skidded on its belly for about 1,000 ft before coming to a stop. Duration of flight was 2 hours 31 minutes. The IFS owns a copy of the official accident report.
26 February 1960 F-104C 56-905 436TFS USAF written off pilot killed
Capt. Einar B Olsen (flight commander) was on a cross country two ship flight with a pilot (Capt Finkey) from another squadron. They were making a let down in WX into Nellis AFB at night. There wasn't much radar control then. Pilot Olsen had been stationed in Nellis and knowing the terrain. They were letting down and all of a sudden, North of Nellis, the wingman started getting a reflection. It was the Nav lights shining off of a mountain. When the wingman realized that they were about to hit the ground he pushed the mike button and transmitted “Look out for the mountains!” simultaneously rolling out of 30 degr bank and pulling up with max Gs. He narrowly missed the mountain and observed an explosion below and to his right. This was Capt. Olsen crashing into a mountain. It was 25 miles NE of Las Vegas, Nevada. Although knowing the mountain terrain, it was night time and both did not watch the altimeter sufficiently. Time 18:52 PST on February 1960 (sun set at 17:30; night time 18:00). The crashsite has been visited a few years ago. Read more about this trip here:
The IFS owns a copy of the official accident report. (Beneath some photos taken at the crash site a number of years ago, thanks to Craig Fuller.
28 February 1960 F-104A 56-847 538FiS USAF written off pilot killed
This F-104A took off from Nellis AFB, Nevada for a test flight. Pilot on board was 1Lt Walter Earl Stroup. After take-off it made a normal AB climb with a left climbing turn. After completing a turn 180degr to a point opposite the takeoff position the aircraft was observed to assume a steep nose down attitude. That moment the pilot declared an emergency and stating making a dead stick landing. This went well until it was about to land. First runway contact was noted 7700 feet down the runway. At this point, there was a gash in the runway appr. 1.5 feet wide and 7 feet long. Subsequent to the gash there was evidence of scraping on the runway for appr 20 feet. Bits and pieces of the ventral fin were found in this area, so it was likely made by this ventral fin. The aircraft did not contact the runway again prior to going through the barrier. It flew through the barrier cutting the webbing. Appr 321 feet past the barrier the aircraft contacted the overrun. Then the aircraft travelled 960 feet without contacting the ground, again then contacting it and sliding, the wing dug into the ground and then the right wing was torn off. Due to lots of JP-4 floating around the aircraft burned on its final position 3182 feet after the barrier. The pilot was sadly killed in this accident. The IFS owns a copy of the official accident report. Beneath 4 photos taken at the tragic crash site, thanks to Ian Wallace.
7 March 1960 F-104A 56-820 83FiS USAF written off pilot ok
This day a number of 104s which arrived at Castle AFB the former day planned to fly back to Hamilton AFB. Pilot Rev Allender was flying with squadron leader Anthony R Satow. After the afterburner take off they climbed out with military power. Soon after Allender had problems keeping up with the wing leader due to engine thrust problems. Soon after he experienced a open nozzle problem which caused the engine to deliver not enough thrust. The pilot decided to make an emergency landing via straight in approach at Castle AFB and dived through a hole in the clouds. Underway he received stall warnings and the aircraft started buffeting. Realizing that he might endanger the population of the city of Merced, California the pilot headed towards an open field and ejected at 4700 feet. Two miles further on the aircraft struck the ground in an open field appr 10 miles W-SW of Castle AFB. Pilot 2Lt. James Reverdy Allender Jr. was unhurt. Total airborne time was appr. 6 minutes. The IFS owns a copy of the official accident report. Photo beneath shows the aircraft 1 year earlier, in 1959, at Tulsa Municipal Apt.
15 March 1960 F-104C 56-930 476TFS USAF written off pilot ok
This F-104C crashed and was destroyed following engine failure in flight 4.5 miles east of Moron AB, Spain. The pilot Capt. Robert K. Dundas, 479 TFW, 476 TFS. ejected safely.
He was number two man of a two ship flight of F-104Cs. The mission was a flight check of the aircraft prior to rotating to the Z/I (zone of the interior?). Pre-flight was normal and engines were started at 1050 local. On the runway an acceleration check was made and all readings were normal. A formation takeoff was initiated using AB. At 4,000 ft and 400 knots the AB was disengaged. While retarding the throttle from AB range the pilot checked his nozzle and it was coming down normally. At approximately 7,000 ft the throttle was retarded from full military and a slight “chug” was experienced and the aircraft immediately started falling behind the leader. RPM was 85% and EGT 650 degrees, nozzles open to the 1.0 setting. The start switches were hit but no power was recovered. RPM was slowly decreasing to 70%. The IGV switch, start switches and nozzle switch were activated and the throttle stop cocked and returned to military. Stall clearing procedures were unsuccessful. By this time the F-104 was at 2,000 ft (1,500 ft AGL) so the pilot ejected. Ejection was normal and the pilot was not injured. The F-104 disintegrated on impact. Duration of this flight was 5 minutes. The IFS owns a copy of the official accident report. Beneath a photo taken by Dick Moore in 1960, the year it was lost. Also a newspaper article is found beneath (thanks to Chris Baird)
18 March 1960 F-104C 56-917 436TFS USAF written off pilot killed
This F-104C disappeared shortly after takeoff approximately 10 miles north of Kindley AFB, Bermuda. No trace of the aircraft or pilot was found despite a 6 day Air and Sea search. The cause of the accident remains undetermined.
The pilot was Lt. Morris B. Larson of 479TFW, 436-TFS. This accident occurred during deployment from George AFB to Moron AB, Spain with refueling stop at Bermuda.
A squadron of 18 F-104C aircraft was scheduled to leave Kindley AFB, Bermuda for Moron AB, Spain at 0630 hours. The first flight of 6 aircraft, including Lt. Larson in 56-0917, took off with numbers 1 thru 4 in left echelon and numbers 5 and 6 in element 500 ft behind. Lt. Larson was number 4. All members of the flight were monitoring channel 17, radar departure frequency, and checked in on that freq prior to takeoff. Weather in the Bermuda area was improving, 700 broken, 10,000 broken, higher overcast, visibility 7 miles, wind 230 degrees at 10 knots, ceiling ragged. Take-off in elements appeared normal except that Lt. Larson lagged behind perceptibly and after becoming airborne assumed a steep climb attitude and disappeared into the overcast before the element leader. Lt. Larson radioed that his landing gear had not fully retracted after takeoff and that he had slowed down and recycled the gear. During this time he separated from his element leader. Shortly later Lt. Larson radioed that his gear were up. Just after this transmission all radio and radar contact was lost with Lt. Larson.  Repeated attempts to contact Lt. Larson on guard and radar departure channels were unsuccessful. Element lead immediately requested Air Sea Rescue and a helicopter dispatched to the last radar contact of approximately 10 miles north of Kindley AFB. A search of the area failed to find any evidence of a crash or survivor. Weather in the vicinity of last radar contact was 300 ft and 1 mile in rain showers; 500 ft and 3 to 4 miles outside rain showers with a ragged ceiling.
Radar surveillance of the area gave no indication that he was airborne in the area. A T-33 and F-104C were scrambled to search at high altitude for possible contrails and to establish visual contact with an aircraft squawking emergency. This emergency squawk was identified as a Navy P5M Flying Boat. No contrails were discovered at altitude. A comprehensive Air and Sea search was conducted for 6 days by various agencies under the direction of the Coast Guard but no evidence of Lt. Larson or his aircraft was discovered. The cause of his disappearance is undetermined. Newspaper articles state that the search was later hampered by high winds and low visibility.
The IFS owns a copy of the official accident report. Beneath a newspaper article (thanks to Chris Baird)
13 April 1960 F-104A 56-840 538FiS USAF written off pilot killed
Crashed near Moses Lake, Washington. The pilot 1st Lt. William Thomas Tilson was sadly killed. He was briefed this day by the operations officer for a pressure suit mission at 45,000 ft. Lt Tilson’s wingman was to be Lt Robert G Moore, who would not be in a pressure suit. Lt Tilson was assigned 56-840 and he and the squadron pressure suit specialists preflighted the aircraft. They then proceeded to the pressure suit fitting room and dressed Lt Tilson in his suit. After being checked on the MQ-1 console, Lt Tilson proceeded to aircraft 56-840 and was strapped in by the pressure suit specialists. A complete check of the suit and system was then made, using the aircraft oxygen test switch. The flight was delayed twenty minutes when the target aircraft aborted after take-off. It was further delayed twenty minutes waiting for an instrument flight clearance. Lt Tilson received the clearance and taxied to the active runway. When taking the runway he called mobile control that his seat pin was out, the canopy was locked, the zero lanyard was hooked up, the faceplate heat was on and the oxygen was ok. At 1035P the flight became airborne and proceeded to make a standard instrument departure. The wingman, Lt Moore reports that the departure was normal except that at approximately 25,000 feet Lt Tilson allowed his airspeed to drop to 0,7 Mach. The scheduled climb speed was 0,85 Mach and he made no attempt to return to the scheduled speed until breaking out on top of the clouds at 32,000 feet. At this time he reduced his rate of climb and regained the proper climb speed. After contacting the ground controlling site, Lt Tilson was vectored in a Northwesterly direction and his wingman was vectored to the West to replace the aborted target as prebriefed. The ground control site vectored both aircraft to position them for the intercept and turned them inbound. The intercept was started and Lt Tilson was vectored behind the target. His speed at this time was 1,4 Mach and his altitude 45,000 feet. He acknowledged all transmissions and followed all instructions from the ground control site to a point when he was three miles behind the target. He had not acquire the target up to this time and seemed to slow his speed. He was instructed to break off the intercept and turn off his identification signal. Lt Tilson did not acknowledge this transmission and it was repeated several times. During this period, at approximately 1100P, his identification signal faded from the ground control site’s scope and n other voice or radar contact could be made with the aircraft.  The aircraft crashed in the same area the intercept had taken place. Cause of the accident was most likely due to a malfunctioning oxygen/mask system. Photo beneath was taken at Luke AFB in 1958 (538FiS).
The IFS owns a copy of the official accident report.
22 April 1960 F-104B 57-1313 83FiS USAF written off 1 pilot killed
This F-104B was being flown by Lt. Bernell A. "Bernie" Mason, it was his first ride in the 104, and Capt Orland "Wayne" Jensen was the instructor pilot in the back seat. After takeoff, they experienced severe engine problems and after the engine stopped both Bernie Mason and Wayne Jensen ejected. The aircraft fell into the bay and Bernie and Wayne descended into the water. Lt. Mason landed in shallow water in the bay area. Unfortunately, he drowned. It was not clear if he was unconscious before entering the water. Wayne Jensen was rescued uninjured. The Air Force crash investigation report stated that there was a "loss of thrust due to extensive engine damage occurring when the compressor and turbine rotors shifted aft subsequent to failure of the #2 bearing retainer bolts." It occurred because the #2 bearing locknut was not torqued properly, and the assembly of the bearing components on the compressor rotor rear stub shaft were done improperly. The IFS owns a copy of the official accident report.
13 June 1960 F-104A 56-806 337FiS USAF written off pilot ok
This F-104 was destroyed in a crash 21 miles NE of Westover AFB. The pilot Major Emmett S. Barrentine (36) of ADC, 337 FIS, ejected safely.
On an FCF following fourth periodic maintenance inspection the pilot completed some testing such as engine stall checks, burst acceleration check and speed acceleration check to 1.98 Mach without incident. Approximately 20 minutes into the flight and descending from 50,000’ through 30,000’ the oil low light illuminated. The pilot turned towards Westover and with EGT at 580/600 degrees the throttle was advanced and a scraping sound was heard. Descending through 21,000’, RPM 70%, EGT 560 degrees, nozzles opening, oil pressure was noted as still 30 PSI.  Throttle advance again produced the scraping sound. The pilot chopped the throttle and attempted an air start but the RPM hung at 35%, EGT 580, throttle at military power. The RAT was deployed, t/o flaps lowered, and the engine anti-ice light was noted to be on. Another air start was done at 14,000’ with RPM hanging at 30%, EGT 750 and rising, nozzles full open. The pilot stop cocked the throttle again and pointed the aircraft towards a sparsely populated, wooded area and decided to eject. Zero lanyard was hooked up at 10,000’.
The pilot ejected successfully at 5,500’ and 175 KIAS. His helmet was immediately lost. The firewell kit deployed, and L2A life preserver deployed when he appeared to be drifting towards a small lake. Landing was made in a birch grove without injury. The pilot saw the aircraft slowly turn towards the small town of Phillispton, apparently entering a flat spin towards the end of a 270 degree turn. It struck the ground in a flat attitude, slight nose and left wing first. The wreckage was confined to the impact area (an area just the size of the aircraft). The F-104 crashed a ¼ mile west of Phillipston, Massachusetts on a farm.
Newspaper accounts report that the F-104 began losing oil pressure over Gardner, at 35,000’. The engine then froze up over Phillipston. The plane crashed on the farm of a retired USAF lieutenant colonel (Francis Glasheen). Jet fuel ignited a shed or garage which locals and firemen put out. The pilot-less plane screamed over the town passing between the Congregational Church and a private home, flipped over and crashed against a large Maple tree, exploding about a quarter mile from the town common, falling to earth a massed jumble of wreckage. The pilot landed in a tree on Searle Hill about 2 miles from the center of that small town. He received only a scratch on his neck. It was his first ejection. The pilot told state police he attempted to glide the jet to an emergency landing, possibly the Orange airport, but when he got below 5,000’ Westover control advised him to bail out. His parachute did not open automatically and he had to pull the ripcord. He thought he was going to land in the lake (apparently Queen Lake) so inflated his Mae West and life-raft, but instead he landed in trees a few hundred feet west of the lake. He was able to extricate himself from the harness. The IFS owns a copy of the official accident report. Beneath 3 newspaper articles regarding this accident (thanks to Chris Baird)
21 June 1960 F-104C 56-909 434TFS USAF written off pilot ok
This F-104 crashed near Moron AB, Spain after suffering engine failure on FCF following engine installation. The pilot, Capt. William Langhorne Leitch (36), living in Victorville California, with 479-TFW, 434-TFS ejected and survived but with major injury. This F-104C was performing an engineering test flight for an engine installation. Ground checks were normal. An AB take-off and climb was made to 40,000 ft. AB lights were made at 40,000 ft with no malfunction. A gradual descent was made to 35,000 ft in full AB accelerating to Mach 2. Throttle was retarded to full military and a left turn initiated. Approximately halfway thru this turn the pilot experienced what he thought to be a violent duct stall. He retarded the throttle and both fire warning lights illuminated before he had reached the stop-cock position. A turn was made to Moron AB as he flamed out. At 20,000 ft the engine continued to unwind and froze at zero RPM. The pilot checked for smoke with negative results. At 9% RPM the pitch and bank control had been lost. The RAT was extended and control was immediately regained. The radio channelized continuously and was completely useless, so the pilot was unable to make any transmissions. The pilot attempted three engine relights with negative results. All cockpit switches were turned off and bail out was made at 5,000 ft above terrain. The aircraft impacted in an olive grove and was completely destroyed. The pilot was seriously injured with two broken legs. He was picked up by helicopter later. Duration of flight was 16 minutes. The crash site was apparently 7 nautical miles and 70 degrees from Moron Air Base, Spain. The IFS owns a copy of the official accident report. Photo beneath shows this F-104C at Bremgarten in May 1960 (1 month before it was lost) during Royal Flush 1960.
16 July 1960 F-104B 57-1302 197FiS USAF incident pilots ok
Following a formation radar profile mission acting as the target for two F-104As, and on final approach to Sky Harbor IAP, wings level, this F-104B aircraft struck 7-ft high chain-link boundary fence tearing off the left MLG and leaving pieces of pipe & fence attached to the aircraft. Pilot applied full military power for go-around & altitude. Crew elected to make emergency landing at Luke AFB 19 NM west. Pilot put gear up on landing at Luke but only the nose gear retracted. The fence segment fell off the aircraft and landed in a the middle of a street. No damage to anything on the ground. During the emergency landing the F-104 came to rest on right main and left tiptank approx 3,500 after touchdown blowing a tire and shedding a rim (apparently from right main). Aircraft veered off runway for approx 227 feet and came to rest in the dirt between the parallel runways. Both crew, IP/Pilot Captain Donald A. Dickman (83rd FIS, USAF ADC), co-pilot Captain Lyle Peterson (197th FIS, Arizona ANG), opened their canopies while sliding through the sand after leaving the runway. Don said he got a lot of sand in his eyes and had to go to the base hospital to have them washed out. The F-104B could be repaired. The IFS owns a copy of the official accident report. Photo beneath shows this F-104B after it was repaired again, at Ramstein in 1961 (Thanks to Peter Shelly).
18 July 1960 F-104D 57-1315 AFFTC USAF incident pilots ok
This F-104D (still with the old canopy structure) was used for chase flights during the Northrop N-156 project (later on F-5) by the Air Force Flight Test Center at Edwards AFB.
On this day pilot Norvin "Bud" Evans took off with a Northrop photographer in the back seat for another chase flight. Immediately after take off, while Norman was constantly focusing on the taking off N-156 aircraft, the photographer in the back pointed out that the aft section of their F-104D was on fire. While flying 300 kts and a disappearing runway beneath, the pilot decided to make an emergency landing on the lakebed as soon as possible.
The emergency landing went fine although the chute broke off and no power brakes were available anymore when the pilot switched off the engine.
Gladly the aircraft did not engage any holes in the lakebed and finally stopped after a long ride and both pilot and photographer were safe and the aircraft was repaired soon.
The pilot later on revealed: "One of the afterburner nozzle guides support arm had failed allowing the section to drop down directly into the full flow of after-burning fuel and directed it straight up into the horizontal stabilizer.
The fire burned through the titanium upper engine housing and then burned the rudder and inside of the vertical stabilizer. This housed the actuators for the rudder and stabilizer. Both actuators were melted, as were the hydraulic lines to them". Photos thanks to pilot Norvin "Bud" Evans.
19 July 1960 F-104C 56-906 436TFS USAF written off pilot killed
This F-104C made anemergency landing on a dry lake bed near China Lake following nozzle problems.  Witnesses saw him land short and the big column of dust as he skidded along. Sadly Capt John Houston was killed. He did his run on the target (live fire -- second pass).  He rolled back into the pattern (it was a four-ship flight) and called in nozzle troubles.  He told them he was going to land on Cuddeback Dry Lake.  He reported high "TPT" and made one last call that he was going to be short. Witnesses saw the big column of dust as he landed . Fire rescue got there and put out a small fire in the tailpipe.  Crash location mentioned was 24 NM SE of China Lake. The IFS owns an almost unreadable copy of the official accident report. Beneath a small photo of the tragic 56-906, back in 1959.
21 July 1960 F-104A 56-837 Convair USAF/CIVIL written off pilot ok
This F-104A was lost this day due to an unknown reason. Lost while serving Convair for commercial chase flights. For that reason also not found in official USAF accident reports but mentioned dropped from inventory by commercial sale in July 1960. No casualties reported around this accident.
22 September 1960 F-104A 56-740 ChinaLake USNavy written off pilot killed
It crashed near the junction of Mt. Wilson and Palmdale Roads in the Angeles National. Forest (Josephine Mountain, South California) during a routine Sidewinder test flight. Sadly pilot USMC Capt. Harold O. Casada Jr (29) was killed.
He had 4 years experience on the F-104. The accident happened at 11:45 and it was a dayflight mission. Time in flight 0.2 hrs.
The pilot received clearance from the Naval Air Facility, China Lake Control Tower and took off at 11:35 PDT. The aircraft had a full internal fuel load, a sidewinder 1-A missile on the Right wing launching station and a HAVR-4 Target Rocket on the Left wing launching station putting the gross weight of the aircraft at 18.820 pounds at the time of take-off. Based on witness reports that the crash occurred at or about 11:45 PDT and using predicted fuel consumption figures for normal climb along the planned flight pattern, it is estimated that the aircraft had approximately 12.000 pounds of fuel aboard at the time of the crash. Pre-flight planning called for an after burner take off, climb to approximately 36000-38000 ft, altitude in military power on a south westerly heading, and a shallow reversal turn during which time acceleration to Mach 2 in after burner and further climb to 45,000 ft. altitude would be commenced. When on return course this altitude and speed would be maintained until reaching a pre-determined position south of the missile firing range at which time a pull up to a 30 degree climb angle would be effected. Firing of the target rocket and the subsequent firing of the Sidewinder missile was planned at the apogee of the climb at approximately 75,000 ft. altitude, on signal from the range controllers ground station. Radio contact was established after take-off between the pilot and the range controller station (Voice call Bitterroot Alfa) who also monitored the flight by radar to assist in positioning the pilot on the final part of the firing run. Normal procedure called for frequent position reports from the pilot and a approximately 11:40 PDT the pilot reported his position as “approaching” Mojave, California, at an altitude of 25,000 ft. No further transmissions were heard from the pilot although radar maintained contact for a short time thereafter. Radar contact was lost at a slant range of approximately 137,000 yds on a bearing which in the radar operators opinion would have placed the aircraft in the vicinity of Palmdale, California. According to range personnel who had monitored previous similar flights it was a rule rather then the exception to lose both radio and radar contact in this vicinity due either to equipment limitations of atmospheric conditions and therefor was of no immediate concern. After having failed to re-establish contact after a time lapse of a few minutes when it was estimated that the aircraft should have completed the reversal turn and when previous experience had shown that radio contact could normally be regained, the range station made inquiry of the NAF Control Tower as to whether the pilot had reported difficulty or a change in flight planning on tower frequencies. The control tower reported no contact with the pilot since take off and initiated further inquiries of George, Edwards and Palmdale airfields via flight service communications to determine whether the aircraft had landed at one of these fields. At approximately 12:24 PDT information was received from Edwards AFB that a telephone report had been received from the Montrose Sherriffs Office of an explosion and fire which had occurred at approximately 11:45 PDT on the south slope of Mt. Josephine located in the Angeles National Forrest and that it was believed to have been caused by an aircraft crash. A helicopter, two T-28 and one F-6F aircraft from NAF China Lake were immediately dispatched to the area. The aircraft site was located on Mt. Josephine approximately 1/2 mile north of the Angeles Crest Highway connecting Palmdale and Pasadena, California. Elements of the US Forestry Service and the Los Angeles County Fire Department were at the scene fighting fire which surrounded the immediate crash site and was progressing up the mountain slope. The aircraft suffered complete desintegration upon impact. Parts of components, sections and assemblies were recovered from a large area around the point of impact. Accident investigation stated lateron "undetermined cause".  Another, later, report stated: The cause of the crash was thought to be oxygen depletion at altitude.
Mr. Matthew Maxon of Sunland, California has requested a commemorative naming of this unnamed feature to honor the memory of Captain Casada. On March 11, 2009, members of the local community offered their public backing, as the Sunland-Tujunga Neighborhood Council voted unanimously to support the name “Casada Canyon” in memory of the late Captain Casada.
Photo beneath shows this US Navy Starfighter, taken in 1960, not long before it was lost.
3 October 1960 F-104C 56-925 436TFS USAF written off pilot ok
This F-104C crashed near Moron AB, Spain following an engine failure. The pilot, 1Lt Richard E. Strickland, 479-TFW, 436-TFS. ejected safely.
This accident occurred with Lt Strickland flying as flight leader of two F-104Cs on a local training flight IFR, VFR on top, 200 nautical miles radius of Moron VOR. A normal formation take-off was made however Lt Strickland’s right main gear door remained open. Airspeed was reduced to 230 knots and gear retracted and all doors closed successfully. The flight was then continued routinely and several GCI intercepts practiced with another flight.
During this time several fuel checks were made with no indicated problems. On a high power setting for GCI-GCA recovery to Moron the fuel low-level light illuminated in 56-0925 with 2,900 lbs indicated. However, the fuel gauge checked normal and the letdown was continued. While level at 8,000’ and clear of weather, fuel indicating 2,300 lbs the fuel low light went out. GCA recovery was continued and a full stop formation landing announced by Lt. Strickland to his wingman. However, the flight was then informed of a 45 degree right crosswind at 24 knots and that the runway was wet and slippery.  Gear were lowered 9 miles out on final and came down and locked. Lt Strickland informed his wingman to make a full stop landing while he elected to go around and make a single ship landing. Lt Strickland made a normal go around and informed the tower he would enter traffic for a normal VFR pattern and landing. While on an outside downwind at 1,800 ft approximately 30-to-45 seconds after reducing power to 88% he experienced a sudden deceleration. His hand was not on the throttle at the time. He noticed the RPM unwinding and he believed he had a flameout, radioing “73 Flight, flameout.” During this deceleration the fuel boost pump out light came on for 3-5 seconds, but went back out. The fuel gauge indicated 1,800 lbs. The RPM hung at 70%. The pilot thought he had a compressor stall. He did not experience any engine rumbling, the EGT was in the normal range (300 to 500 degrees C), and the nozzles showed at “Cruise flat”. The aircraft decelerated rapidly from 360 knots to about 310 knots. A slight zoom was attempted but the pilot could not gain much altitude before reaching a glide speed of 275 knots.  The pilot throttle bursted once back to idle and then to full military, but RPM stayed at 70% and no thrust increase was noted. The plane was handling very sloppily although hydraulic pressure was normal (3,000 lbs). By this time altitude was around 1,500 ft and airspeed 260-270 knots. The pilot then actuated both air start switches, stop cocked the throttle and pulled the RAT. The RPM decreased to 60%, the throttle was advanced to full military, and the RPM increased to 70% and stopped. The pilot also placed the flaps in the t/o position. No warning lights were seen. Altitude at this time had decreased to 1,000 ft indicated  (700 ft AGL) so the pilot pushed the mike button and called, “I’m bailing out.” The pilot ejected safely at about 900 ft indicated (600 ft AGL).  The aircraft crashed 12 nautical miles northwest of Moron Air Base, Spain.  Duration of flight was 1 hour 35 minutes. Photo beneath shows this F-104C back in July 1959 (Thanks to Dick Moore). Newspaper article thanks to Chris Baird)
The IFS owns a copy of the official accident report.
21 October 1960 F-104A 56-751 AFFTC USAF written off pilot ok
This day Capt Robert A. Rushworth of the 6512th Test Group, AFFTC took off at 1530 PST from Edwards AFB for a functional check flight (FCF) after a stabilizer servo change. At the end of the flight the pilot flew a Simulated Flame-out Pattern. During the go-around the gear warning light came on. At altitude he cycled and checked the gear several times, but it indicated unsafe in the down position. A T-38 pilot visually checked the F-104 and noted the gear doors open with the gear retracted. Pulling the manual landing gear release handle (free fall) was no help. Capt Rushworth tried to force the gear down be applying maximum load (Gs) to the aircraft. This caused the left main gear to extend to what looked like the extended position. The right main and the nose gear remained up. At that time “Edwards Test” operations advised a controlled bail-out. Capt Rushworth positioned the aircraft over the Edwards Bombing Range and ejected at an altitude of 5.000 feet and an airspeed of 240 knots. The ejection was normal and Capt Rushworth was picked up by a helicopter. The F-104 crashed into the Edwards Bombing Range. The IFS owns a copy of the official accident report. Photo beneath (taken from the accident report) shows the big crater which was the result of the impact of the crash, lots of pieces of the aircraft were found all over.


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