Accidents – Incidents 1962

5 January 1962 F-104A 56-864 157FIS SC ANG written off pilot ok
This F-104A crashed 13 miles from its alternate field Rota NAS Spain after running out of fuel during very bad circumstances (heavy fog). It suffered an engine flame-out due to fuel-starvation while diverting to an alternate landing field. The pilot, 1Lt Clifton M. McClure, was forced to eject and survived with no injuries. The aircraft was destroyed. The pilot took off from Moron AB, Spain at 0914 local time for an FCF of the internal auxiliary fuel tank following an aux fuel tank float valve replacement the night before. The FCF was accomplished quickly within less than 10 minutes and then the pilot had requested a practice intercept against two other scheduled F-104s. The weather was briefed as VFR all day. At this time the aircraft was taken over by GCI and completed several intercept attacks. At approximately 0955 the 157-FIS Operations Officer called all aircraft back as weather appeared to be closing in on Moron. At 1007 the pilot was vectored back to Moron for recovery. The pilot had Moron in sight but there was traffic (a VC-97 aircraft). Lt McClure could see the clouds moving in over Moron. A departing C-124 reporting entering clouds out of Moron at 100 ft with fog. The VC-97 landed and reported thick fog on the runway. This F-104 entered the top of the clouds inbound and descended into solid cloud. He executed a missed approach. He reported the field (Moron) as below minimums and was diverting to Rota Naval Air Station. At no time did any control agency notify Lt McClure of the rapid and complete weather deterioration at Moron. Lt McClure turned towards Rota and for the next 6 minutes participated in 30 radio transmissions all of which were for the purpose of obtaining GCA frequency for Rota which he believed must have also gone IFR as suddenly as Moron. At 1021 the pilot established contact with Rota GCA and reported at 11,000 ft on emergency fuel with IFF on all three modes. Rota GCA ordered descent to 1,500 ft (he was still on top of continuous cloud deck) with 300 lbs fuel remaining. Rota GCA was never able to make contact with 56-864’s IFF and on two occasions instructed him to go standby, with no pickup results. At 1025 Lt McClure saw the coastline, and sand dunes with scattered clouds and just 150 lbs fuel remaining. He questioned a 270 degree vector given by Rota GCA which he saw would put him over the Atlantic Ocean. He continued on a 200 degree heading until his engine flamed out. The pilot ejected successfully. The aircraft crashed in a marshy area 13 NM North of Rota and the debris, which remained above water, indicated that the aircraft was on a direct heading to Rota. The IFS owns a copy of the official USAF accident report.
16 January 1962 F-104C 57-924 436TFS USAF written off pilot ok
This Starfighter crashed shortly after takeoff from Luke AFB. Pilot Major Robert A Menke ejected and sustained minor injuries. Cause of the accident was a fuel shut off valve closure, resulting in a modification procedure later on for all F-104s. He flew from Luke AFB to George AFB together with Capt Lawrence Know with 56-922. Take off was normal but 5 to 10 seconds after coming out of afterburner pilot Menke experienced a muffled explosion similar to that of a compressor stall. He immediately checked his engine instruments and airspeed and noticed that his engine RPM was rapidly decreasing and his forward speed was decelerating to gliding airspeed. At 70 percent RPM he stop cocked the engine and initiated a stall clearing procedure and advanced throttle to the full mil position. The result was negative, just as a second attempt. By that time the altitude has dissipated to appr 1700 feet indicated. He jettisoned his external fuel tanks. He did two attempts to relight the engine which failed. Airspeed was well below 200 knots and RPM was 30 pct. Finally Major Menke ejected safely at approximately 700 feet above the terrain. Findings: Materiel failure or malfunction of the main fuel shutoff valve due to unknown cause.
Recommendations: That all F-104 aircraft be given a one-time inspection to insure that the main fuel shutoff valve is operating within the prescribed T.O. limits. That guard over the switch be safetied in the on position and presently installed switch guard spring lock be removed. The IFS owns a copy of the official USAF accident report.
16 January 1962 CF-104 12703 CEPE RCAF incident pilot ok
This Canadian Starfighter suffered a landing accident on Duluth Minisota due to the inadvertent approach end barrier engagement. The pilot planned a flight to Duluth for refuelling and then continue direct to Trenton. The hook was down when landing at Duluth, unbeknownst to him and the BAK 7 barrier was up when he crossed it on final and snagged it. Pilot F/L Frank Gilland was ok but aircraft was structural damaged. It was brought over to Canadair facilities at Montreal and inserted in the production line within and repaired. On 3 May 1962 it was given back to RCAF. Photo beneath shows the aircraft in Canada early 60s.
17 January 1962 QF-104A 56-745 3205DS USAF written off no pilot
This aircraft was written off as drone this day. It was owned by the 3201st Maintenance Group within the AFSC Eglin. It was the first QF-104A loss of the drone-unit. During an unmanned testflight it encountered an elevator malfunction and crashed on take off. The aircraft was totally destroyed. Note : In total the aircraft had re-gistered 2 successful unmanned missions before.
18 January 1962 F-104D 57-1318 AFSC USAF incident pilots ok
This two-seater suffered a minor mishap at McClellan AFB, California due to severe nose wheel shimmy on t/o. The shimmy commenced between 80 and 90 KIAS and could not be stopped during deceleration, either with or without nose wheel steering engaged. The shimmy continued until speed dropped to 30 knots. The engine was shut down and the aircraft stopped 4,000’ from start of take-off roll. The drag chute was deployed. This was not a Class A accident. The crew consisted of Captain Albert C. Volmer with Test Directorate, AFSWC from McClellan (TDY out of Kirtland AFB, AFSWC) and civilian SMAMA F-104 project engineer Howard D. Anderson in the rear seat. Of interest, the aircraft had been ferried to California from Kirtland for test flights at George AFB, California. The tests were to determine the source of induced voltage which might cause inadvertent release of tip tanks with special emphasis on voltage induced during flap movement. Photo beneath shows the aircraft operated by AFSC in Spring 1961.
25 January 1962 F-104F BB+366 WS10 GAF written off 1 pilot killed
(USAF serial 59-5000)  This F-104F crashed near Oberbolheim after it encountered an afterburner failure during take-off from Norvenich. Hptm Lutz Tyrkowski was killed and Olt Horst Volter ejected and was safe. Despite the afterburner 'stopping' the pilots decided to continue their take-off although not reaching enough height. Following eye-witnesses the F-104 flew over houses nearly touching the roofs and strucking some poplar-trees. Then it went "trough" a factory on the 1st floor. Shortly before entering the building pilot Volter (student) managed to eject out of the aircraft and was safe.
29 January 1962 F-104B 57-1311 157FIS SC ANG written off 1 pilot killed
This Starfighter crashed attempting an emergency landing at Moron AB, Spain. Both pilots ejected but only the IP survived. The pilot was sadly killed having failed to secure his parachute lanyard to his seat belt. This mishap occurred following severe nose-wheel shimmy on take-off and while the crew was attempting to return to base. The pilots were IP Captain Henry L. Milne (31) and pilot Captain Hugh J. McLaurin (31) both with 157-FIS. This flight was intended as a trip from Moron AB to Torrejon AB to attend a flying safety meeting. At 1700 hours local the crew pre-flighted and the aircraft took to the runway for takeoff at 1805 local. During the takeoff roll at about 120 to 130 knots, the aircraft experienced violent nose wheel shimmy. Both pilots immediately pulled back on the stick and the aircraft became airborne. At this time many electrical load circuit breakers were shaken open and the aircraft experienced partial electrical failure. The only two engine instruments working were EGT and Tachometer. The pilot continued the take off, placed the gear handle up and climbed to 4,000 ft before coming out of AB. The engine seemed rough coming from minimum sector to military. Having lost all radio and interphone contact, the IP signaled the pilot to go back to Moron, but the pilot seemed to have trouble understanding, so the IP took over control of the aircraft and headed on a downwind leg for traffic pattern on Rnwy 21 at Moron. The pilot took control back upon turning initial and flew down the active runway wagging the wings to indicate radio failure to the tower. The IP took control again and set up a downwind leg for Rnwy 21 and signaled the pilot to take the controls. The pilot again appeared confused as the slaved gyro had failed on a heading of 210 and a haze layer moved into the southwest corner of the field. When the field came into view they were too close to set up landing so made one more go around. The take off flaps and gear remained down the entire time. Land flaps were selected at 240 knots while rolling out on final. The usual roll off associated with land flaps was noticed, and then very shortly after, a very rapid deceleration and abrupt power loss were experienced. The altitude at this time was approx 1,000 to 1,200 ft. The IP thought that if he could make one air-start he could make the field. The Tach read 72%. While the IP was attempting the air start the pilot ejected which prevented the IP from seeing anything out of the front of the aircraft. The IP was forced to eject. The IP believed the engine did start, but witnesses stated it quit, started, then quit again. Both ejection seats worked properly but the pilot was killed because he had forgotten to fasten his parachute lanyard anchor to his seat belt. The IP’s chute opened at approximately 75 to 100 ft above the ground. Shortly after the IP ejection the aircraft nosed over and struck the ground in a 40 degree dive, left wing low, and exploded. The crash occurred 2.25 miles off approach end of Rnwy 21 of Moron AB, Spain.
Findings: Materiel failure or malfunction of main fuel control or failure of main fuel shut-off valve in closed position. Recommendations: A more reliable fuel control be installed. That a study be made as to the feasibility of a manually controlled fuel on-off valve in the cockpit or devising some method by which this valve would be positively locked open or shut.
Final fix: A possible fix on reliability of main fuel control was the installation of Project "Hard Core" main fuel filters on the -3B engine. Beneath some newspaper articles (Thanks to Chris Baird)
1 February 1962 QF-104A 55-2963 3205DS/AFFTC USAF written off no pilot
It was written off as target. This former pre-production aircraft 55-2963 (QFG-963) was hit and sequentially shot down by a BOMARC ground-to-air missile on purpose andwas totally destroyed. It toke place on the aircraft's first "unmanned" flight. It was the first shot down QF-104A drone. Photo beneath thanks to Chuck Dildine (ex F-104 pilot and drone controller 3205DS)
3 March 1962 F-104B 4104 8TFS RoCAF written off pilots killed
(USAF serial 57-1299) This two-seater crashed South of the runway during the landing at homebase CCK (Ching Chuan Kang) in Taiwan after encountering a flameout. The aircraft ran out of fuel which was not noticed due to a malfunctioning measuring system, resulting in a sudden flame-out. The crew attempted to make an emergency landing but failed. Sadly it was too late, they were too low. The front seat pilot, Capt Ku Chen-Hua (31), made no attempt to eject. The rear seat pilot, Col Li Shu-Yuan (38), ejected at low altitude, but did not separate from the seat (too late and too low). This failure was due to maintenance, because the separation harness was not connected to the seat.
19 March 1962 F-104A 56-813 151FIS Tenn ANG written off pilot killed
19 March 1962 F-104A 56-848 151FIS Tenn ANG written off pilot killed
These aircraft both crashed after they collided mid air while landing at Ramstein, Germany. Both pilots Lt James Ridout (56-813) and Lt Edward Schultz (56-848) were sadly killed. 1Lt Ridout ejected but was too low for his parachute to deploy. Lt Schultz made no ejection. Following a routine formation instrument flight with Lt Ridout flying lead and Lt Schultz as wing, both aircraft set up for GCA approach and formation landing. Radio transmissions from Lead (Ridout) asked Wingman (Schultz) “Do you want to try it on the wing?” Schultz responded, “First time for everything” twice. Ridout then radioed, “Just keep it stacked up all the way down.” Both aircraft reported gear down and locked and had made only minor adjustments on the GCA letdown. Witnesses said the formation looked close but “good”. The aircraft impacted mid-air at about 225’ and 1 mile from the GCA touchdown point. The wing aircraft, continued uncontrolled almost straight ahead and fell into a left bank of about 80 degrees just prior to impact. FOD, apparently from the crushed left duct, resulted in loss of thrust and forward speed. Lt Schultz made no attempt to eject from, and was fatally injured and then thrown free of the wreckage. Ground impact showed bearing of 112 degrees and travel of only 90 feet. The aircraft exploded and burned. The lead aircraft, went into advanced pitch-up, continued 365 feet right of GCA centerline and turned 52 degrees to a heading of 135 degrees at ground impact. Lt Ridout ejected at low altitude. His aircraft was nose-high and in a right bank, with insufficient forward speed and rocket trajectory for the B-15 type parachute to open. Lt Ridout was killed on ground impact. This aircraft caught fire shortly after crash and was destroyed. The IFS owns a copy of the official USAF accident report. The rough photo came with the copy of the accident report and shows the tragic crashsite of 56-813. Newspaper articles thanks to Chris Baird.
21 March 1962 F-104A 56-881 151FIS Tenn ANG written off pilot ok
This F-104A entered a spin while maneuvering on an intercept target at approximately 30,000 ft. The pilot safely ejected at 9,000 ft when the aircraft would not recover from the spin. The aircraft crashed and was destroyed 18 miles northwest of Wiesbaden AB, Germany. Pilot was Captain Marshall C. Pierce of 151-FIS based at Ramstein AB, Germany. Intended as an afternoon, 2-ship intercept mission, this F-104 eventually flew the mission solo as his wingman was forced to return to base (Ramstein) with gear and hydraulic difficulties. Under Moonglow GCI Captain Pierce was directed to FL300 and turned towards a target which was already being attacked by two other fighters. Confused as to which F-104 was his target, Captain Pierce made a tight left turn towards one of the attacking F-104s (not the target). Tightening his turn to avoid overshooting proper attack position his aircraft pitched up and entered a spin to the right. Proper spin recovery procedures were used but the spin continued. The pilot was forced to eject at approximately 9,000 ft. Ejection was normal and Captain Pierce landed in trees suffering only minor scratches. The aircraft crashed 18 miles NW of Wiesbaden Air Base, Germany, or 3 miles E of Laufenselden, Unter-Taunus Kreis, Hessen. Possible cause for the unsuccessful spin recovery: run-away-trim (stabilizer), thus preventing sufficient nose down control to assure spin recovery. The IFS owns a copy of the official USAF accident report. Photo beneath shows the aircraft together with 56-880 at Wheelus AFB, Lybia,  during the Ramstein deployment, where pilots got trained in life GAR-9B sidewinder shooting. Photo thanks to Bob Anderson.
22 May 1962 CF-104 12707 6STR-OTU RCAF written off pilot ok
This Cold-Lake based aircraft crashed during take-off from RCAF Namao, Edmonton AB, caused by an opening canopy and loss of thrust due to a nozzle pump failure. The pilot FlLt Jack G. Aiken ejected safely at 75 feet and was slightly injured. Photo beneath was taken likely not long before it was lost (RCAF photo). Accident took place at 14:00hrs.
22 May 1962 F-104G DA+107 JBG31 GAF written off pilot ok
(c/n 2029). This Starfighter crashed shortly after take-off from homebase Nörvenich at Mersch near Jülich after engine an failure due to loss of pressure in the fuel system. This resulted in the closure of the Inlet Guide Vanes (IGV). Pilot Olt Siegfried Heltzel ejected safely but was badly injured, The aircraft was in use from march 8th, so only 2 months old.
2 June 1962 F-104A 56-862 157FIS SC ANG written off pilot ok
 This Starfighter crashed near Cordoba, Spain following an engine failure. The pilot was 1Lt Stanley L. Hoke of 157-FIS, USAFE, Moron Air Base, Spain, safely ejected. He flew this day at 17:57 local on a practice scramble mission from the alert hangar at Moron Air Base, Spain. It was on a 15 minute alert status. Pre-flight and take-off were normal except the pilot noticed no cabin pressure after t/o. The first 40 minutes of the flight were normal. During the flight the highest altitude reached was 27,000 ft, but since the cockpit pressurization was out intercepts were performed at 19,000 ft with Lt Hoke acting as the target. After the intercepts had been completed Lt Hoke attempted to join up with the lead aircraft. While joining he slightly overshot so he extended the speed brake and reduced power to just above idle. Immediately after he felt an intermittent deceleration and observed RPM to be low at 65%. He advanced the throttle to Military but the RPM did not increase. Lt Hoke then activated both airstart switches and heard the ignition, but the RPM remained at 65%. He stop cocked the throttle and activated the start switches again. As the RPM passed 50% he advanced throttle to Military but again the RPM hung up at 65%. He retracted the speed brakes and the RPM gradually decreased from the high of 65%. Shortly thereafter both generators cut out. He extended the RAT and attempted more airstarts. The RPM then began to hang up at 53% when advancing to Military power.Lt Hoke lowered take-off flaps and established a glide of 240 knots attempting more airstarts. He noticed fuel flow to be 250 to 350 PPH and TPT around 500 degrees C. At one time the fuel flow was 500 PPH and TPT 300 degrees C, although both gauges kept dropping back to 200 to 300 PPH and 300 degrees C. Continuous airstarts produced the same results with RPM slowly decreasing to just 36%, fuel flow at 250 PPH, and TPT around 250 degrees C. Overall, 7 or 8 stall clearings were attempted. The pilot also activated the IGV switch and throttled into AB as a last resort. Passing through 5 or 6,000 ft, Lt Hoke successfully ejected after leaving the throttle in full military power with RPM indicating 36%. The pilot did not jettison the canopy before pulling the ejection ring. Lt Hoke landed safely about 2 miles from aircraft impact and about 5 miles from La Carlota. The aircraft crashed 8 nautical miles SSE of Cordoba, Spain. The F-104 dived to the ground near vertical, exploding on impact. Most of the wreckage was contained in a hole the width of the wings. Excavating the remains of the aircraft necessitated digging thirty to thirty-five feet down. Investigation: Primary factor: technical: main fuel control, Materiel failure or malfunction of main fuel control or failure of main fuel shut-off valve to the closed position. The IFS owns a copy of the official USAF accident report.
18 June 1962 F-104A 56-809 197FIS Ariz ANG written off pilot ok
It was destroyed in a fire after it broke off its start from Ramstein AB. During the takeoff Pilot Capt James “Jim” N. Floor decided to stop when he experienced a burst tire. He was Alert Flight Leader and flew together with Lt Bennett. Everything went fine until at appr 3000 feet of roll, pilot Floor applied elevator back pressure to start establishing take off attitude. At this instant with the nose wheel still on the ground he experienced a shimmy vibration which he diagnosed as a main tire failure. His indicated airspeed was appr 150/160knts. He reduced power to idle, released the drag chute and started the abort procedure. The 104 pulled to the right towards the wingman (right main tire failure). The Tower indicated a fire in the right main wheel. The pilot was unable to straighten his roll with left brake, rudder and nose wheel steering switch depressed. Then it passed the barrier cable feering the aircraft to the right due to the right main wheel. The 104 did not have a hook and it was heading the barrier or stanchion. He decided to steer it more to the right to avoid colliding the barrier and array of runway and strobe lights. The landinggear and nose gear collapsed and when it came to a rest the leaking fuel with the burning right wheel remains started a fire. Pilot tried to evacuate but saw flames. He jettisoned the canopy and stepped out on the other side. Sadly the fire brigade failed in stopping the fire (lack of foam) and the aircraft burned completely. The IFS owns a copy of the official USAF accident report. Beneath a photo showing the aircraft during the Dallas Air Show in 1961 (thanks to Chris Baird) and a photo showing the burned wreckage (rough photo from accident report)
56-809 F-104A ARIZ AIR GUARD 809 airshow in Dallas _ChrisBaird_filtered
19 June 1962 F-104F BB+365 WS10 GAF written off pilot killed
19 June 1962 F-104F BB+370 WS10 GAF written off pilot killed
19 June 1962 F-104F BB+385 WS10 GAF written off pilot killed
19 June 1962 F-104F BB+387 WS10 GAF written off pilot killed
(USAF serials 59-4999, 5004, 5019, 5021). Crashed during a demo-exercise into the Eifelmountains near Bonn killing all pilots of all 4 aircraft of the team. The aircraft flew into the ground during a steep-dive near Knapsack. The pilots were Capt John Speer (USAF, team-leader and teacher with WS10), Olt Bernd Kuebart (exJBG31), Olt Heinz Frye (exJBG34) and Olt Wolfgang von Sturmer (ex WS10, Oldenburg). On this day the general repetition was held for the phase in of the F104G within the JBG31 Boelcke at Norvenich under commander Gerhard Backhorn. The highlight of the flying program in front of a number of high rank officers and politicians would be a 4-ship F104F formation demonstration by 4-WS10. As trained often before, the 4 aircraft started in a "finger-tip-formation" although the runway of Norvenich was not very long. But without tiptanks it was no problem. Both first flown figures were executed perfectly. Major Tom Perfili (USAF teacher team) did some soloflights during the moments the team was out of sight. Then in the east direction, some 8 km away, a lot of smoke was seen and a few minutes later it was clear that the German Air Force lost 4 aircraft with 4 of their best pilots. To achieve a way for getting back to the runway/demo area faster for the next figure, John Speer decided to make a 180 degree turn by cutting a small cumulus-cloud in a steep diamond formation. But he overturned the aircraft that much that for all 4 aircraft no possibility could be found to recover because they flew vertical towards the ground out of the cloud. This is what happened following all of the eye-withnesses on the ground. Also the investigation found out the same cause of the accident after they had little thoughts about a mid-air collision. Wolfgang von Sturmer, flying in the aft-position of the formation had the best overview and tried to recover from the overturn in which he failed. It was a terrible accident. Photo beneath shows the team preparing for a demonstration back in 1961 at Fürstenfeldbruck. Aircraft were flown by Speer (BB+370), Frye (BB+387), Kuebart (BB+365), VonSturmer (BB+385). (thanks to H. Wohlmuth)
12 July 1962 F-104A 4207 8TFS RoCAF written off pilot killed
(USAF serial 56-838) It most likely encountered power loss due to FOD (birds?) during takeoff from homebase Ching Chuan Kang (CCK) resulting a flameout at 3000 feet. The pilot / flightlead Wang Ji-Yao (31) could not restart the engine and ejected but was too low so the parachute did not fully deploy which became fatal. Aircraft crashed N of CCK. It was reported that the pilot had not strapped his boots to the ejection seat so his legs had been broken or cut by the instrument panel.
31 July 1962 F-104A 56-759 AFSC USAF incident no pilot
This incident happened during an engine ground test run, operated by the 6515 OMS (Organizational Maintenance Squadron), AFFTC, Edwards AFB. Performing a throttle burst after several other high power tests, the left main landing gear obviously collapsed damaging the main gear and parts and the skin on the lower left side. Estimated repair 700 man hours. The IFS owns a copy of the official USAF accident report. The rough photo shown beneath was faxed with the report.
10 August 1962 QF-104A 56-734 3205DS USAF incident no pilot
While returning from an unmannend test flight, this drone 56-734 "QFG-734" engaged the barrier on landing because it encountered braking problems. Everything went fine and there was no damage. The aircraft was checked and available soon for new drone operations.
10 August 1962 CF-104 12742 6STR-OTU RCAF written off pilot killed
This Cold-Lake based plane crashed during a touch and go due to loss of thrust. The pilot, FlLt. Jake R. Mulhall ejected but sustained fatal injuries when his parachute disintegrated in the aircraft fire area and was sadly killed. The cause was an oilpump failure. The pilot ejected just after lift-off during the touch and go at Cold Lake. Because there was almost no wind, the parachute came down straight and landed into the middle of his fireball with the chute vaporizing above the ground. The IFS owns a copy of the accident report of this terrible accident.
16 August 1962 F-104C 56-912 479TFW USAF incident pilot ok
It encountered an accident at Tyndall AFB but could be repaired lateron. Pilot, 1st Lt John L. Mesenbourg was ok. Together with aircraft 57-923 (Lt Korcheck) both were supposed to fly back to George AFB after participating in Operation Firefly at Tyndall AFB. There was a fuel stop planned at Cannon AFB, Nw Mexico. Two minutes after takeoff Lt Mesenbourg reported problems with no 1 Generator switching on and off. Soon later this was followed by hydraulic problems with stuck gauge and losing communication (radio) and now a double generator failure. He decided to return back to Tyndall and make an emergency landing. Since he did not burn extra fuel to lower the landing weigth he came in to hard, chute broke, brakes could not decelerate sufficient and aircraft entered the barrier system. It failed catching the barrier and aircraft continued through the overrun onto the dirt for some distance when the nose gear collapsed and farther on the right tip tank and wing struck a concrete post adjacent to the ILS trailer which caused a fire. It came to rest 1203 feet from the end of the overrun. The pilot evacuated the aircraft unhurt. The damage was substantial but could be repaired. The IFS owns a copy of the official USAF accident report.
21 August 1962 F-104C 56-935 476TFS USAF written off pilot ok
This Starfighter suffered an engine failure after disconnecting from refueling on a KC-135 tanker. The pilot, 1Lt. James E. Folston, was unable to clear the compressor stall or airstart the engine and he ejected safely. The aircraft crashed and was destroyed 14 miles northwest of Bakersfield, California. It occurred during a night refueling mission on tanker KC-135 #8089 in flight of four in the refueling area north of Bakersfield. Just after disconnecting from the tanker the pilot experienced a compressor stall. Lead and #2 man (Lt. Folston was flying #4) saw Folston's F-104 falling behind with sparks coming out of his tail. Lt Folston immediately began stall clearing procedure. The compressor stall continued. Numerous stall clears and airstarts were attempted with no success. An emergency had been declared on Guard but the flight had difficulty getting a steer or useful information on the radio as Guard channel was filled with excessive chatter (at one time, Castle Radar, Edwards Radar and Lemoore NAS were all giving information at the same time). Lt Forston set his power to 80% (just below stall) and prepared to eject. Flight lead heard Lt Folston call out his altitude as he passed 13,000’, 7,500’, and 5,500’. Lead advised Folston to eject when he got down to about 8,000’. When Folston called 5,500’ he was again urgently ordered to eject. He ejected at about 4,500’ MSL and landed unhurt in a plowed field (about 2 miles north of the F-104 wreck).  Lt Folston’s F-104 struck the ground in a plowed field and parts of it skidded across a small road into an alfalfa field. The aircraft was totally destroyed. The crash occurred 2.5 miles east of Shafter, California. Duration of flight was 1 hour 13 minutes.
The USAF accident report shows a photo of missing blades from the first stage compressor of the engine, suggesting FOD from the tanker disconnect. Investigation showed that the refuelling probe failed on seperation from tanker. Valve parts from the probe caused FOD to the engine. It was an unqualified probe installed by the USAF. Main centre shaft broke and valve parts entered the engine. After this accidents all probes were checked and unqualified probes were removed. The IFS owns a copy of the official USAF accident report. Beneath some newspaper articles and a photo of the aircraft taken at Hannover, ILA, on 4 May 1960 (thanks to David Whitworth)
25 August 1962 F-104D 57-1328 479TFW USAF written off pilot ok
This day this Starfighter encountered an accident at homebase George. A team was performing a leak-check on and did three full engine run-ups on the ground with three ground personnel (NCOs) and one pilot (Italian Air Force Major Vitantonio Nini Fiore) in the front seat. At or near military power on the third run-up a muffled explosion occurred and the aircraft caught fire instantly. The throttle was immediately stop-cocked, but Major Fiore got tangled up in something and broke both his arms and his nose escaping/falling from the cockpit. The entire underside of the center fuselage was engulfed in flames. Fire fighters got there in 90 seconds and took 10 minutes to put the fire out. However the aircraft received major damage. She was 80% destroyed, only the nose and aft section survived. On September 10th it was officially declared written off due to the sustained damage beyond economical repair and written out at the operational fleet at Kirtland officially on October 1st. Investigation: Findings: Materiel failure of one of the three starter clutch pawls. Recommendations: A shear point be incorporated on the starter turbine drive shaft of the starter. The IFS owns a copy of the official USAF accident report. Beneath rough photos which were faxed with the report.
3 September 1962 F-104G DA+116 JBG31 GAF written off pilot killed
(c/n 2019) This Starfighter crashed near Krekel and Mechernich, Kreis Schleiden after encountering problems with the undercarriage. Pilot Olt. Erik Edgar Bedarf (26) was sadly killed. It crashed shortly after take-off from homebase Nörvenich after the pilot reported a landing gear malfunction. Pilot of another aircraft confirmed that the forward landing gear doors were open. The pilot cycled the landing gear and got the APC kicker actuation. Sometime later the aircraft was observed to descent. The pilot tried to avoid a town called "Krekel" and ejected too late at about 70 feet, but was fatally injured. With his attempt he certainly has saved a lot of civilian lifes. Investigation: Primary factor: pilot, Pilot raised the flaps at a too low airspeed. He lowered the landing gear without increasing power. He allowed the speed to get too low and aircraft became uncontrollable. Contributing factor: Ejection seat, Lockheed C-2. Descending flight pass at moment of ejection. Parachute did not have time to blossom. Parts of the aircraft were donated to the Technical University of Delft, The Netherlands in October 1966 for instructional purposes. The photo beneath (Thanks to Klaus Kropf, was taken with MBB and shows this aircraft with werknr 2019)
4 September 1962 CF-104 12803 Canadair RCAF written off pilot ok
This Canadair factory, Montreal owned aircraft hit some trees on final approach and crashed near Montreal. The pilot, FlLt. L. S. Lumsdaine ejected safely. Some components of this aircraft, which was on its acceptance flight, were used inside the currently displayed ColdLake gateguard '12872'.
7 September 1962 QF-104A 56-734 3205DS USAF incident no pilot
Just as on August 10th, this drone Starfighter encountered problems during the landing after an unmanned test flight. It engaged the barrier after returning to the airbase and again his time there was no damage and everything went ok. It returned soon back to operational drone operations.
10 September 1962 F-104D 57-1325 479TFW USAF incident pilot ok
This day this F-104D encountered an incident on the ground at George AFB but the aircraft could be repaired soon. The incident was very light, a reason why the USAF did not initiate an official accident/incident report.
12 September 1962 QF-104A 56-734  3205DS USAF incident no pilot
Third incident this year with this drone QF-104A Starfighter "QFG-734". This time it sheared its nose-gear on landing. It could be repaired and could continue drone operations soon after. Photo shows the aircraft at Eglin with 3205DS.
14 September 1962 QF-104A 55-2968 3205DS USAF written off no pilot
On this day QF-104A 55-2968 "QFG-968" was lost in the Gulf of Mexico. It was flying its second unmanned flight, which ended tragically without understanding the cause. Likely the system lost control of the aircraft.
October 1962 QF-104A 56-736 3205DS USAF written off no pilot
This QF-104A "QFG-736" was shot down by a missile on purpose during shooting exercises. It was its 5th and also last unmanned flight.  The  aircraft crashed into the ocean in a secured area.
10 October 1962 F-104C 56-920 476TFS USAF written off pilot ok
The accident occurred during a daytime ACM training mission in a flight of three in clear visibility out of George AFB. Each aircraft carried a centerline catamaran with two GAR-8 missiles. Aircraft 56-920 had slightly less fuel because of a preflight ground run to leak check the low pressure fuel filter.  Routine airwork commenced for normal duration of time with regular fuel checks.  On final approach to land the pilot noted 1,100 lbs fuel remaining. Just prior to pitching to land at 1,500 feet  AGL, straight and level, 325 knots at 90% thrust, there was a sudden loss of thrust with rapid decrease in RPM and EGT going down to 50-100 degrees C.  Airstart was attempted and the tip tanks were jettisoned.  Pilot then forced to eject due to low altitude.  The canopy left the aircraft but the seat did not fire. Pilot pulled the control stick back level and re-pulled the ejection ring and the seat fired.  Last RPM reading noted was 30%. Pilot ejected safely. The aircraft struck the ground inverted at about 30 degree nose low attitude about 2.5 miles south of George AFB and was destroyed. Apparent fuel exhaustion. Pilot was Captain Joseph R. Nevers (28), 479-TFW, 476-TFS, TAC. Findings: Materiel Failure. Most probably cause is failure of the main fuel shutoff valve to the closed position. Recommendations: That a study be made as to the feasibility of a manually controlled fuel on-off valve in the cockpit or devicing some method by which this valve would be postitively locked open or shut. The IFS owns a copy of the official USAF accident report. Beneath a photo showing a newspaper article, the remains of the canopy (rough photo from the report) and a photo of 56-920 itself.
20 October 1962 F-104C 56-903 476TFS USAF incident pilot ok
This F-104C suffered a landing accident on the final leg of a flight of ten F-104s from George AFB, Calif to Key West NAS, Florida. The pilot was Lt. Colonel John D. Rosenbaum with 479-TFW, 476-TFS and he was leading the flight. Aircraft touched down 20 feet short of Runway 07 at Key West NAS, Florida. The left MLG collapsed and the aircraft settled onto the pylon tank which caused the aircraft to swerve left. The aircraft departed the runway at approx 2,800’ from initial touchdown point. The right wheel of the aircraft struck the 3,000 foot marker causing the right main gear to collapse; the aircraft then settled onto the right pylon tank. The F-104 skidded an additional 1,200’ on both pylon tanks and the nose gear, which remained intact, coming to stop approximately 4,200’ down the runway and 50 left. The pilot was not injured and aircraft could be repaired soon. The IFS owns a copy of the official USAF accident report. Beneath a rough photo which was faxed with the report.
20 October 1962 F-104C 56-922 476TFS USAF incident pilot ok
This F-104C suffered a right MLG failure and landing accident at Key West Naval Air Station in Florida on a 479th TFW deployment. The pilot was not injured but the aircraft was significantly damaged. The pilot was Captain James J. Torson with 479 TFW, 476 TFS. On the second wave of 10 F-104s on deployment to Key West NAS, Florida Captain Torson flew element lead with 1Lt Hauth as wingman. The mission included two air-refueling. Lt Hauth experienced pylon tank feeding problems and these two aircraft diverted twice, once to England AFB, later to Tyndall AFB. During the flight from Tyndall to Key West NAS the UHF radio failed in Lt Hauth’s F-104. Because this was to be a strange field night landing with his wingman’s radio out, Capt Torson elected to land in formation. A radar penetration and GCA formation landing were made at Key West NAS. At touchdown the right main landing gear of Capt Torson’s F-104 failed and the aircraft settled onto the right pylon tank. Lt Hauth, on Torson’s right wing in formation, went into afterburner, accelerated and passed on the right hand side of Capt Torson and stopped without incident. Capt Torson continued down the runway in 56-922 drifting to the right and departed the runway at the 4,000 ft mark. The nose gear sheared approximately 400 feet after leaving the runway. The left MLG did not fail. The F-104 travelled approximately 1,000 feet after leaving the runway, coming to rest 20 feet from a lagoon. Aircraft could be repaired soon again.
Findings: Materiel failure. Failure of drag strut pin boss hole resulting in failure of main landing gear. Recommendations: That a design engineering study be initiated to determine if the F-104 landing gear can or need be improved to withstand greater landing stresses in view of the rework to be accomplished in TO 1F-104-837. Final fix: Special depot teams have been dispatched to all F-104 squadrons. All main landing gears are being reworked on the spot to provide adequate radii of the blind hole for the drag strut attaching pin. The IFS owns a copy of the official USAF accident report.
20 October 1962 F-104C 57-929 476TFS USAF incident pilot ok
This F-104C suffered a broken refueling probe during inflight refueling from a KB-50J tanker at 22,000’ near Hobbs, New Mexico. The broken probe lodged in the horizontal stabilizer and could not be dislodged. A safe landing was made at Webb AFB, TX. The pilot was not injured. The pilot was 1Lt Robert H. Jones with 476-TFS, 479-TFW. This mishap occurred during a CASF (Composite Air Strike Force) deployment from George AFB, California to Key West NAS, Florida with two aerial refuelings enroute. This flight consisted of ten F-104Cs led by LtCol Rosenbaum and made a normal rendezvous for the first aerial refueling normally at a point 10 miles east of Hobbs, New Mexico. All 10 F-104Cs hooked up to the KB-50J tankers at 22,000 ft in moderately turbulent air. As the fuel load in the F-104Cs increased, several pilots experienced stick shaker actuations. Just before Lt. Jones received his full fuel load the stick kicker moved the stick forward and held it there for 2 to 3 seconds. The nose of the aircraft dropped sharply and the forward portion of the refueling probe broke off. This loose section of probe became lodged in the leading edge of the horizontal stabilizer. The stick then returned to neutral momentarily and then moved again to the kicked position for another 2 to 3 seconds. The stick returned to neutral and Lt Jones noted his airspeed was 240 KIAS, his angle of attack reading .3 and his altitude 2-3,000 ft below the tanker formation. Lt Jones informed the flight leader that his probe had broken off and he was diverted to Webb AFB, Texas with his element leader Captain Delashaw. During the flight to Webb AFB, Lt Jones tried to dislodge the probe from the stabilizer without success. He was able to land safely at Webb AFB without incident using a straight in approach. Total duration of flight was 3 hours. Aircraft was operational again soon. The IFS owns a copy of the official USAF accident report.
23 October 1962 F-104A 4222 8TFS RoCAF written off pilot ok
(USAF serial 56-800)  While approaching home base CCK for landing this Starfighter crashed after it lost engine power and an engine stall at 7000ft. The pilot, Chu Wei Min, tried some restarts (fuelflow became 0) and after this was not succesful he ejected at 3000ft and was safe. The aircraft crashed and was totally destroyed.
8 November 1962 F-104F BB+368 WS10 GAF incident pilots ok
(USAF serial 59-5002) This Starfighter made an emergency landing due to technical problems which ended in a net-barrier engagement damaging the aircraft substantially. It could be repaired. Both pilots Oblt Sensen and Belgium Air Force Capt Forgeur were safe. Photos beneath thanks to Heribert Mennen.
BB+368_accidentXXBB+368 F-104F barrier engagement Norvenich 08Nov1962_Heribert MennenXBB+368_08nov62_HeribertMennen2X
17 November 1962 F-104A 4213 8TFS RoCAF incident pilot ok
(USAF serial 56-777) On this day this F-104 was seriously damaged. Pilot Chuan Ren-Lian was not Injured and the plane could be repaired.
10 December 1962 F-104B 57-1310 157FIS SC ANG incident pilots ok
This F-104B received major damage when both main gears collapsed on initial takeoff roll from McEntire ANGB, South Carolina. There was no injury to either pilot. The pilots were Captain Clifton M. McClure and 1Lt James Altman both with South Carolina ANG, 157-FIS. Scheduled as an Air Defense mission acting as a target, this aircraft lined up for takeoff at McEntire ANG base. Minimum AB was selected and almost simultaneously as the AB lit and the brakes were released, a loud noise was heard and the left wing started settling and the aircraft began veering left. Lt McClure throttled back to idle RPM then immediately shut down the engine when he realized the left wing was settling lower then a blown tire would normally allow. Both pilots evacuated the aircraft without injuries. The aircraft received major damage when both landing gears had failed allowing them to contact the pressure bulkhead immediately aft of the main gear. Findings: Materiel failure. The left main gear drag strut assembly failed. Final fix: TOC1F-104-841 (publ. 11-12-1962) Inspection and rework of main landing gear drag strut. The IFS owns a copy of the official USAF accident report.
13 December 1962 QF-104A 56-796 3205DS USAF written off no pilot
This day this QF-104A "QFG-796" sheared its nose-gear on landing, left the run-way, rolled over and burned. This was the end of 56-796 which just returned from its first unmanned flight. It was totally destroyed/burned and subsequently the remains were scrapped.
20 December 1962 F-104A 56-749 ATPS USAF written off pilot ok
This F-104 crashed during X15 pre-mission gliding excercises after the pilot Milt Thompson lost control. He ejected successfully. The aircraft was destroyed. It suffered asymmetric flap condition during X-15 gliding exercises which resulted in uncommanded roll. Thompson was practicing low lift/drag approaches and when he was configuring the aircraft for one of these approaches, only one of the flaps extended ­ leaving him with an asymmetric flap configuration. Initially he was able to control the roll caused by this configuration but subsequently the aircraft became uncontrollable. He safely ejected at about 20,000 feet altitude and landed not too far from a road. He hiked to the road and shortly a farmer came by in a truck and asked if he could give him a ride. Thompson took the offer, and the farmer brought him back to the Center. The aircraft crashed and was totally destroyed. The IFS owns a copy of the official USAF accident report. Beneath some photos taken at the crashsite and a photo of Milt Thompson. (USAF and Chris Baird archives)
F-104 749 crash site12/20/62F-104 749 crash site12/20/6256-749 JF-104A December 20, 1962_fl
21 December 1962 F-104C 56-924 476TFS USAF written off pilot killed
This F-104C serial 56-0924 crashed short of Runway 21 at George AFB while landing due to a loss of thrust from an uncommanded opening of the exhaust nozzle. The pilot, Major John M. Soler, 479 TFW, 476 TFS. was fatally injured. This accident occurred following a morning air-to-air gunnery mission on a towed dart over the Leach Lake Gunnery Range with Major Soler flying lead in a flight of two. Captain Roger Billett was flying his wing, and Captain Raymond Holt was towing the target dart. Returning for approach to George AFB Major Soler was out front with Captain Billett in the pattern behind him. Rolling in on final the Mobile Officers saw Major Soler’s aircraft emit a black puff of smoke at about 300 to 400 feet of altitude. Major Soler then radioed, “Tower, I just lost the engine…” He was continuing the transmission but it was terminated after an unintelligible “I” or “AH”. There were no further transmissions. One of the Mobile Officers saw another puff of smoke and an apparent re-start of the engine at about 10 or 20 feet just prior to impact. The F-104 impacted 1,324 feet from the end of the runway with gear and land flaps extended. It contacted the ground in a landing attitude, nose slightly higher than normal. The nose hit the ground 120 feet from the initial impact point and began to disintegrate immediately. The F-104 then came to rest 622 feet from initial impact, 702 feet from the end of the runway. Major Soler did not eject and was killed in the crash. Total duration of the flight was one hour, one minute. The USAF report states the primary cause was loss of thrust from an undetermined cause, with the probable cause due to known material deficiencies including the following: Main Fuel Shut-Off Valve, Control Alternator Connector Plug in conjunction with magnetic temperature amplifier, and/or the bearing on 3D cam shaft in Main Fuel Control.
Lockheed concluded the cause was “undetermined” but established that the most probable cause was failure of the temp amplifier control alternator causing an open nozzle failure. Lockheed also gave the following other probable causes: closure of main fuel shut-off valve, or failure of main fuel control, or failure of the nozzle area control. Lockheed states that evidence indicates that the nozzle was open on initial impact and closed afterwards; the emergency nozzle closure valve was found closed. Lockheed laboratory tests of the alternator connector established that a short circuit found in the connector could have occurred over an extended period of time and was not the result of moisture introduced by the foam used by the base fire department. Findings: Materiel failure or malfunction of the main fuel shut-off valve. Recommendations± That a study to made as to the feasibility of a manually controlled on/off valve in the cockpit or devising some method by which this valve would be positively locked open or closed. Interim fix: TO 1F-104-844. (31-12-1962) Disconnect and ground main fuel shutoff valve electrical wiring to the full open position at all time. The IFS owns a copy of the official USAF accident report. Beneath two rough photos which were faxed with the accident report.
1962 F-104D 57-13.. 479TFW USAF incident pilots ok
Summer or fall of 1962. An F104D with teacher Carnahan and German student Hfw Gert Poelchau made an emergency landing at Edwards. During flight with Mach2 which was needed to get a nice charter, the aircraft wanted to turn lightly over its yaw-axis and the student immediately shut off the afterburner. Carnahan asked Poelchau if he had played with the trimming, which was not the case. After finding out another strange thing both pilots decided to land as soon as possible. After landing they were shocked by finding out what happened. At the nozzle-ring a fin was broken off and a big hole was melted inside the back of the aircraft. Half of the rudder was also missing while parts of the vertical stabilizer were burned! The pilots went back to homebase George by a C130. The aircraft could be repaired soon and no official USAF accident report could be found. Aircraft identity and date in 1962 stay unknown.
1962 F-104C ????? 436TFS USAF incident pilot ok
This unidentified F-104 encountered an incident somewhere in 1962. The pilot Max Jersperon was fine. He stated later: “Many test-hops turn out to be more exciting than planned. I was on a test-hop in an F-104 out of George AFB. Normal test would be an afterburner climb to 37,000 feet and accelerate to mach 2, checking all systems and instruments, recovering with a simulated instrument approach GCA/ILS. I was cleared #1 on the runway, and began my take-off roll, with the nose wheel lifting off at 180 knots, and then airborne at 210 in under 3,000’ of runway. Sucked the gear up, then boom, the aircraft blew up – at least I thought it did. The plane went in to severe buffet only a few feet off the runway. Noticed the runway going by underneath, the hatch had departed the aircraft (downward ejection). All preflight checks had indicated a safe hatch. I pulled up onto a downwind leg, and was unable to contact the tower as the UHF antenna is in the hatch. Fortunately, there were no aircraft on initial approach. The flight lasted about five minutes.” Sadly nothing more is known.. Glad to understand that the aircraft and pilot were both safe.


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