Accidents – Incidents 1963

8 January 1963 JF-104B 56-3720 AFSC USAF written off pilots ok
This JF-104B from AFSC/APGC Eglin toke off from its homebase 08:10 CST for a remote control training flight and was scheduled as chase aircraft on a QF-104 drone. During the mission which was flown also with a DT-33 as airborne director aircraft, the aircraft broke formation with this DT-33, as planned, for a join-up on the drone. While approaching the drone on low-level (appr 500 feet) and low speed with speed brakes extended (around 400 knots), a series of explosions, eminating from the aft section were heard by the co-pilot (Capt Owen C. Davis). He told the pilot (Capt Ralph D.J. Miller) that they possibly had a compressor stall. The pilot immediately retracted the speedbrakes and initiated a left turn to avoid a populated area. He then rolled the 104 into a zoom to reach maximum possible altitude. After three attempts to restart the engine the aircraft went into a glide from 4000 feet. A 220 knots IAS glide was initiated and again 2 attempts were made to restart. Sadly the engine was dead and the crew decided to eject at 2000 feet MSL. The aircraft continued straight ahead, striking the ground in a right wing low attitude, approximately one half mile from the pilots, and was completely destroyed.  The IFS owns a copy of the official USAF accident report.
56-3720 F-104B 63720
10 January 1963 F-104A 56-829 157FIS SC ANG incident pilot ok
This F-104A suffered a right main landing gear failure and departed the runway on landing roll out at Brookley AFB, Alabama on 10 January 1963. The pilot, Captain Clifton M. McClure of 157 FIS, 169 FG (South Carolina ANG), was not injured. The F-104A suffered significant damage including a broken keelson, damage to right main landing gear gear and doors, bulkhead and skin damage, and ventral fin and right wing trailing edge flap damage. Upon landing at Brookley AFB on final leg of a 3-day cross-country flight, all witnesses stated that pilot made an exceptionally smooth landing. Captain McClure stated that he then experienced a vibration through the aircraft just prior to nose wheel touchdown. About 3,700’ down the runway and 125 knots, the right cylinder assembly drag strut failed allowing the right main gear leg to move aft and contact the pressure bulkhead. The bulkhead (at FS 489.50) supported the load until the aircraft departed the runway to the right and then the bulkhead crushed. Capt McClure realized he had a main gear failure and chose to ride it out because use of left brake, nose gear steering, drag chute, etcetera would impose only additional damage. The aircraft departed the runway and swiveled in a right arc about 90 degrees 188 feet off the end of the runway coming to rest with a final heading of 290 degrees off Runway 18. The IFS owns a copy of the official USAF accident report. Beneath a rough photo which came with the accident report.
6 February 1963 QF-104A 56-734 3205DS USAF incident no pilot
This QF-104A "QFG-734" engaged the barrier on landing like it did as well in 1962. The aircraft did not brake and did not release its drag chute. This could have been the result of a failure of "weight on nose gear switch" malfunction. The aircraft could soon continue with the drone operations.
6 February 1963 F-104C 56-899 436TFS USAF written off pilot ok
During the deployment at Moron, Spain this Starfighter made a rough landing causing some major damage. It happened 19.56 CET (nighttime). Pilot 1/Lt Frederik Alvord was on 5 minute alert. After the scamble at 1908 CET practice intercepts were flown with GCI station “Bolero”. The flight returned to Moron AB with additional fuel due to a strong crosswind situation. A GCA low approach with separate full stops was planned and cleared. At 1 mile on final the Nr.2 (wingman) dropped out of position without making a radio call. Lead performed a missed approach. Nr.2 touched down 200 feet behind the barrier and 550 feet short of the normal touchdown point with a too high sinkrate. The main gear sprung outboard. And the left missile fin contacted the runway. The nose gear sheared on contact and the aircraft started burning. 6,250 feet down the runway the aircraft came to a stop. The pilot evacuated the aircraft unhurt. The fire was controlled within 10 minutes. The leader diverted to Rota NAS. It went to the US for repair. However Lockheed declared that the aircraft was damaged beyond repair and officially it was declared a write-off by the USAF on August 15, 1963. At McClellan it was put off the list on June 30, 1964 and this means it was scrapped. The IFS owns a copy of the official USAF accident report. Beneath a photo taken at Andrews Air Force Base during an open house in May 1962 by Steve Miller. It is here also owned by 436TFS.
18 February 1963 CF-104 12777 6STR-OCU RCAF written off pilot killed
This CF-104 starfighter struck the surface of a lake during a high speed low level turn near Cold Lake. The pilot, FlLt. D.H.McElmon did not eject and was sadly killed. Photos of this aircraft are very rare, beneath a photo taken at Canadair by Bob McIntyre, prior delivery to the Canadian Air Force.
19 February 1963 F-104D 57-1321 4443CCTS USAF incident no pilot
The F-104 (operated by 4443CCTS / 479TFW) was undergoing its 5th periodic inspection at homebase George and was moved out for the engine run-up pad for a stall characteristics check and leak check. Ssgt Burns was inside the front seat to operate the aircraft controls and AlC Faught was observing instruments from the backseat. After a succesful stall characteriscs check the engine was restarted for the leak check. When the check of the afterburner system had to be done, Ssgt Burns advanced the throttle slightly and then started to retard the throttle from the afterburner range so they could recheck all areas before advancing the power to full afterburner but before the throttle was out of afterburner an explosion ocurred. The crew abandoned the aircraft in time and the fire could be stopped in time to assure the aircraft could be repaired again. One of the ground crew was severly injured and taken to hospital.  The IFS owns a copy of the official USAF accident report. Photos show roughly the scene after the accident (photos came with the accident report).
15 March 1963 F-104C 57-922 435TFS USAF incident pilot ok
This F-104C landed at the the runway with its gear up at Edwards AFB. The pilot, Captain Charles E. Connors with 479-TFW, 435-TFS, was not injured. Following a successful BDU-8 practice bomb dropping mission out of George AFB Captain Connors and Captain Harvey Quakenbush joined up when Capt Connors noted a slight loss of thrust and his Lead (Capt Quackenbush) observed that he was siphoning. Capt Connors then noted that his nozzles were open and selected AB and obtained AB light. A climb was initiated to 31,000’ over Edwards AFB Runway 22. The AB was shut down and emergency nozzle closure handle was pulled. This action did not close the nozzles. A precautionary pattern was entered with the throttle in idle, speed brakes in, gear up, and flaps in t/o position. The aircraft was flown to final approach with no difficulty with the airspeed at 295 knots. At this time Capt Connors put out the speed brakes to slow down. The gear was put down at 265 knots approximately over the approach end of the runway at Edwards AFB. The pilot felt he was getting no indication of the gear coming down so he placed the landing lever in the Up position and inadvertently pulled the drag chute handle instead of the manual landing gear release handle. Capt Connors realized he had pulled the wrong handle and immediately placed the landing gear lever to the Down position again. Shortly after the drag chute deployed the aircraft contacted the runway with the landing gear in the Up position. 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. The IFS owns a copy of the official USAF accident report.
10 April 1963 F-104J 26-8504 2W-201sq JASDF written off pilot killed
This Starfighter crashed on final approach (emergency landing) to homebase Chitose AB about 12:57PM into the field, about 300-350 m south-southeast of south end of runway. The pilot Major Nishi Hikaru was sadly killed. It was the first F-104J accident of the JASDF. The aircraft took off from Chitose at 12:05PM and was one of two for air combat and low altitude training. Wingman was Captain Kobayashi. About 12:48PM, about 10 miles or 20 km southwest of Chitose AB, its throttle lever became stuck at maximum thrust position and could not move. The pilot informed wingman and control tower to abort the mission, and returned to base for straight-in emergency landing. He flew at 6,000 feet, lower than standard 8,000 feet, then he turned with a sharp angle of 60 degrees, and stalled. About 12:57PM, heading northwest, the tail hit ground, about 300 m from south end of the runway, and skidded about 100 m. Aircraft middle and rear parts broke. Pilot did not eject and was killed by impact. Throttle might be stuck at maximum position because throttle control cable malfunctioned. Stall might be caused by engine shutdown, to decelerate before emergency landing, but pilot could not or did not activate the speed brakes when aircraft decelerated and descended. Investigation showed that the pilot also had switched off the fuel Shut OFF switch resulting the engine in flaming out. Photos of the aircraft are rare, beneath a photo provided by Lockheed showing the aircraft during one of the test flights prior delivery. (The IFS owns a copy of an official accident report).
12 April 1963 F-104C 56-896 435TFS USAF written off pilot ok
This Starfighter crashed North of interstate 15 (I15) at Soda Mountains near the town of Baker, California, pilot Keith Davey ejected safely, The pilot stated : "We briefed a two ship flight, myself and Richard Lougee of the 435th TFS. Dick was lead and I flew wing on a low level to Cuddeback Range. I don't recall what the range mission was but we carried an MN-1A dispenser with 25lb. practice bombs as well as tip tanks. After takeoff we flew in spread formation proceeding towards Baker, CA. Crossing a dry lake I noted a slight bump and shortly thereafter the control stick began to stiffen, requiring abnormally high force to move it. A check of the hydraulic pressures revealed a problem, the guages were oscillating rapidly, down toward the bottom of the scale. The control stick froze and control with it was pretty well lost at this point. I found by going into burner I could raise the nose and could keep wings level or turn with the rudder, which was manual on the "C". The ailerons began "flopping in the breeze" and the whole airframe was unstable, however I could control if fairly well at this point, and attempted to head towards Edwards AFB, as we always did with a problem, hoping to get it down on the long runway or lake bed there. As control deteriorated, I deployed the RAT but it didn't seem to have any effect. I was able to fly level at about 10,000 feet for a short time but the stab evidently shifted and I couldn't keep the nose up.  As airspeed increased past 400kts and the nose continued to drop, I had no choice but to eject. I told Dick of my plan, blew the canopy, and pulled the ring".
Keith landed succesful with his chute in a rocky environment and soon after an H-13 helicopter arrived. This helicopter damaged its rotor on landing and so another helicopter was arranged, a Navy H-34 from Cold Lake. Both Keith and the other helicopter pilot were dropped at Fort Irwin. An Air Force Helicopter from George AFB took Keith back home. The IFS owns a copy of the official USAF accident report.
24 April 1963 F-104C 57-918 436TFS USAF written off pilot killed
During shooting exercises this Starfighter struck ground obstructions (a 25’ utility pole and a 5’ wooden sign) on the Cuddeback Gunnery Range and crashed, sadly killing the pilot Captain Harold G. Holmquist with 436 TFS, 479 TFW. This day’s mission had Captain Holmquist flying as element leader in a 4-ship flight briefed as a low level navigation mission of approximately 45 minutes terminating at Cuddeback Gunnery Range, R-2509, for a laydown and LADD (Low Angle Drogued Delivery) bombing maneuver, camera-recorded dry strafing passes, followed by an instrument recovery to George AFB. This accident F-104C was configured with two 165 gallon tip tanks, a MN-1A bomb dispenser centerline, and 100 rounds of 20mm ball ammunition. Capt Holmquist’s aircraft was considered as a possible short due to previous mission write-ups but the USAF accident report does not say what those write-ups had been (it is not known if the altimeter was on write-up). The aircraft in the flight were Capt Billet (flight lead) in 56-890, Major Mumma in 56-927, Capt Holmquist in 57-918, and 1Lt Alvord in 57-927. As the flight made engine start Captain Holmquist signaled that he had radio difficulty. As the flight was marshalling on the runway for take-off Capt Holmquist called the flight leader stating that he would be airborne 5 minutes later than the rest of the flight. The flight of 3 took off at 1545 hours Local. Captain Holmquist took off from George AFB at 1555 hours. Due to the late take-off he apparently elected not to pursue the flight on their low level route but proceeded directly to the range for join up. At 1620 hours Capt Holmquist checked in with the Cuddeback Range Safety Officer and was told his flight had not yet arrived. Capt Holmquist requested a pass by the tower for an altimeter check and was cleared to do so. Capt Holmquist also called in to position himself as number 4 in the flight in the range traffic pattern which was confirmed by flight lead Captain Billett. Captain Holmquist, however, was currently in the lead position and intended to make his altimeter check and rejoin as No. 4. Moments later the Range Officer and Range Recorder observed Captain Holmquist’s aircraft flashing past to the left and rear of their respective positions in the 65 foot high main control tower. They observed Captain Holmquist in a slight descent approximately 30 to 40 feet above the ground when he struck a 25 foot high utility pole and then a 5 foot high sign, at which time the aircraft disintegrated and the pilot was fatally injured. The duration of the flight was 30 minutes. The pole struck the F-104 in front of the left engine intake and the direction of flight was into gently rising terrain. The pole was 200 feet south of the main control tower. Wood fragments were found in the left intake duct and inspection door (apparently from the 25’ pole and/or the 5’ sign) and imbedded in cracks at the portion of the star insignia and color marking by the left duct (station 1235L?). Wood splinters were also found in the nose section of the right tip tank. The left stabilizer had wood imbedded in leading edge holes. The IFS owns a copy of the official USAF accident report. Beneath two newspaper articles (thanks to Chris Baird) and a photo of the bird in better days.
30 April 1963 JF-104C 56-888 AFSC USAF written off pilot ok
Thsi aircraft was scheduled for a high altitude mission with pilot Capt William A Cato. He went airborne at 0956 hours from runway 08 at Kirtland AFB and climbed to 35000 feet MSL to a point approximately 2 miles west of Anton Chico VOR. Then the pilot experience oil pressure problems and subsequent decreasing engine RPM. Level flight at 35000 feet could not be maintained so the aircraft was established in a 1000 foot/min rate of descent at 300 knots. The pilot contacted Kirtland and decided to go for a straight in emergency landing. At 14000 feet and 5 miles out from the approach end of runway 08, the pilot S-turned the aircraft to position himself for landing using speed brakes to control his descent which was not easy. Then about three miles from the runway the engine flamed out and contact with the tower was lost. Three airstarts were attempted with no results. In a rapid descent Capt Cato decided to eject.
The altitude was between 500-700 feet above the ground and the aircraft impacted about 16 seconds after ejection, short north of the approach overrun of Runway 08. Parts of the aircraft slammed on the nose of a nearby parked T-33A (58-2105) which was damaged beyond economical repair.The IFS owns a copy of the official USAF accident report. Beneath a photo of the aircraft at Kirtland during an open house in 1961 and a photo of the wreckage of the aircraft (rough photo which came with the accident report)
10 May 1963 F-104C 57-912 435TFS USAF written off pilot ok
This aircraft crashed 14 Miles NE of Yakima, Wash. on the Yakima firing range. Pilot Capt Victor J. O'Bryan flew a Napalm and Strafe mission against a tactical target in the Yakima Firing Center Military Reservation. It was during exercise Coulee Crest. An F-100F with cameraman would take pictures during the firing.
Capt O'Bryan flew with three other F-104s. When firing a long range burst at Approximately 2500 feet from the target he suddenly felt a slight jolt and heard a grinding noise as the gun ceased firing. He interpreted this as a gun jam and had just started to pull up with full power. Then the chase F-100 told him that something had fallen of the aircraft which later was identified as a missing gun door. Suddenly the engine malfunctioned and restarting did help a bit but then the engine stalled violently. The pilot decided to eject at 4000 feet and 200 KIAS.  The automatic chute malfunctioned but the manual lanyard worked fine so the pilot landed safely and was picked up by an Army helicopter within a half hour. Lateron it was found that the jammed canon with blasted gundoor due to gasses resulted in FOD into the engine, damaging the first compressor blades severely (as can be seen on the photo beneath which came with the accident report). The IFS owns a copy of the official USAF accident report.
27 May 1963 CF-104 12719 4W RCAF written off pilot ok
This Baden-Sollingen based Starfighter crashed after an engine flame-out on an initial acceptance flight, near Colmar. The pilot, FLt L.A. Tapp ejected safely
6 June 1963 QF-104A 56-730 3205DS USAF incident no pilot
This QF-104A QFG-730 toke off for an unmanned mission but during this take-off it lost its canopy. The aircraft could be recovered and was ok. Beneath a photo taken at Eglin AFB on October 1st 1961. The color of this aircraft looks white but is actually bright orange. (USAF).
18 June 1963 QF-104A 56-730 3205DS USAF written off no pilot
This day this QFG-730 had a barrier engagement on landing after an unmanned mission. This was likely due to a too high landing speed selected by the controller.  The aircraft was safe and could continue operations soon after. This photo shows the QF-104A at Eglin prior a manned test flight.
19 June 1963 CF-104 12728 6STR-OCU RCAF written off pilot killed
This Cold-Lake based aircraft struck ground after take-off, probably caused by an open canopy. The pilot, FlLt. W.G.Hollingshead used his ejection-seat at too low altitude and was killed. The aircraft crashed near Cold Lake.
16 July 1963 F-104G FX08 1W BAF written off pilot ok
This Starfighter crashed near Taviers after pilot, kapt. Georges Castermans encountered a fire-alarm. The pilot was ordered to eject which was sucessful. It was the first Belgium F-104 loss. The pilot stated: After experiencing a BLC duct failure on final approach to Beauvechain (with 50 hours experience on F-104-F/G). A split second reaction to revert to T/O flaps saved my life but the fire warning lights, an unexpected T2 reset and other problems forced me to abandon the A/C.  The FX08 flew an ordinary training flight with another F-104 practicing PI's (Practice interceptions) and returning to base for GCI/GCA landing. Investigation found out that the same hot air was sucked forward to the engine front where the CIT sensor (Compressor Inlet Temperature) was positionned at 6 o'clock which registered an abnormally high temperature which caused a T2 reset (acceleration of RPM to 102 % whatever the position of the throttle) only occuring normally at high altitude when nearing Mach 2, to avoid a compressor stall. The air coming out of the 13th stage of the compressor at full RPM was at 650° C.
23 July 1963 CF-104 12802 427sq RCAF written off pilot killed
This Zweibrucken-based aircraft crashed into sea after a practice weapons delivery mission at Sardinie. The pilot, FlLt. R.J. Prescott was sadly killed. He was on a bombing run at the Capo Frasca range during a deployment at Deccimomannu. It was thought that a slow topple of the LN-3 inertial navigation system coupled with very hazy flight visibility were responsible for this tragic accident. Photo beneath thanks to Eric Cartigny.
12802 CF-104_DND
24 July 1963 CF-104 12816 434sq RCAF written off no pilot
This starfighter was destroyed in a hangar-fire on home-base Zweibrucken. The aircraft caught fire during an engine ground runup in a modified 'zulu' (alert) hangar off the end of the runway. It was tied down with a cable for the runup and it was impossible to disconnect it because of the fire, which was difficult to fight in the hangar. The tailsection was not mounted and could be saved. The front-section of the F104 could also be saved during the fire-fight. The burned fuselage went to 6 RD at RCAF Station Trenton for possible rebuilt on 1 August 1963, then to Canadair for rebuild as a static functional test ground trainer on 27 August 1963. It became training aid 685B on 20 January 1964 and went to 10 FTTU on 18 June 1964. The major usable components of the airframe (including the tail) were used to create "12872" together with parts from an other CF-104 "12803". Photo beneath shows the burning Starfighter, it was taken by Bill Ewing.
25 July 1963 F-104A 56-814 319FIS USAF written off pilot killed
Crashed off Florida into the Atlantic Ocean. Aircraft was briefed to fly as wing on a morning Formation Profile Radar Mission, call sign Mike November 07 Alpha (MN 07A), the flight of two was to intercept another F-104A target at 1.2 mach at 49,000ʼ. Flight lead was Mike November 07 (MN 07). During taxi MN 07A  (mishap aircraft) crew chief SSGT Swigart observed Captain Peterson (in MN 07A) as having his oxygen mask attached. The accident report mentions that when pulling into the arming area Captain Peterson noticed an F-89 in take-off position with what appeared to be an AF Form 781 on its wing. Capt. Peterson called the tower to notify the F-89. Mike November 07 and 07A held for 2 minutes while the F-89 took off. Formation take-off and climb to 35,000ʼ were normal and contact with GCI normal. Mike November 7ʼs IFF was inoperative, however.  Report states that the aircraft spent 2 minutes at 55,000ʼ. The flight of two then made several turns on target, went to afterburner accelerating to 1.35 mach about 40,000ʼ. The tactical formation had loosened a little bit but was still normal.  The flight rolled on final attack heading to a heading of 60 degrees and 45,000ʼ at Mach 1.3 eight miles behind the target.  Mike November 07A acknowledged armament safety check (this was the last radio transmission from MN 07A). Another flight of two F-104As (Mike November 08 and 08A) were behind Mike November 07 and 07A on the attack heading.  Mike November 08A observed Mike November 07A start a slow descent and then a slow left turn, where it descended below contrail level and he lost sight of it. MN 07 (lead) continued the intercept and normal breakaway despite having no radio transmissions from MN 07A. After breakaway MN 07 called MN 07A for join-up. Receiving no acknowledgement MN 07 recovered assuming MN 07A had lost radio and returned to base. Upon landing, MN 07 made a ramp check and found that MN 07A was missing. SAR operation began at this time.  Oil slick and debris found in the water. Impact point of crash was determined to be approximately 24 55 North 80 10 West, approximately 33 nautical miles SSE of Homestead AFB, Florida off the Florida Keys. The depth of the water at impact point is 1,200 to 1,500ʼ with a current of 8 to 12 knots. Bureau of Ships, Washington DC was contacted and they advised that recovery of the aircraft and pilot were impossible at that depth. Report mentions no attempt to eject. Pilot was Captain Dean C. Peterson, 319-FIS, ADC, home base Homestead AFB, Florida. Conclusion: Dean Peterson's accident was a classic hypoxic/incapacitation case. His airplane banked away from the flight and slowly rolled into a descending spiral. Flight lead called him many times to deploy the bailout bottle, but nothing happened. The IFS owns a copy of the official USAF accident report. Beneath a newspaper article thanks to Chris Baird.
1 August 1963 QF-104A 56-734 3205DS USAF written off no pilot
This day this QF-104A "QFG-734" was shot down as unmanned drone by a BOMARC missile during live shooting exercises. Aircraft remains crashed into the sea.
1 August 1963 QF-104A 56-735 3205DS USAF incident no pilot
This day QF-104A QFG-735 made a severe landing after an unmanned drone test mission. During this landing it damaged its nose gear but aircraft could be stopped in time. It was soon back in operation. Beneath this QF on the Eglin platform.
56-735 QF104A QFG-735_Harry Prins
8 August 1963 F-104G KG+180 Fokker GAF incident pilot ok
This aircraft made a crashlanding after gear-release malfunction during a Fokker test-flight. The starfighter could be repaired soon and aircraft could continue test flying. Photos beneath show the aircraft on the runway. (Fokker).
21 August 1963 F-104C 56-933 479TFW USAF incident pilot ok
This aircraft suffered damage to the horizontal stabilizer when the front fairing of the left AIM-9B launcher departed in flight over Death Valley, California. The pilot, Captain Charles E. Connors with 479-TFW, 479-OMS, landed without incident. The flight was briefed for an air combat tactics mission with captive AIM-9B (GAR-8) missiles installed. Capt Connors was to fly wing position during the flight. All phases of flight proceeded normally and as briefed until joinup for return to the field. At this time the lead pilot noticed the front fairing of the left AIM-9B launcher was missing. No further damage was noted at this time and the flight was terminated without further incident. The damage to the horizontal stabilizer was discovered while the aircraft was shutting down in the refuelling area. Location : California, Inyo, Death Valley, 50NM radius of Furnace Creek. TAC 12thAF, 831st AD, 479TFS, 479OMS, George Air Force Base. The IFS owns a copy of the official USAF accident report.
28 August 1963 F-104B 56-3721 AFFTC USAF written off pilots ok
This two-seater Starfighter crashed and was destroyed on Rnwy 04 at Edwards AFB, California after stalling and falling short during practice SFO landing. It skidded off the runway after all three gear failed and slid over 2,500’ catching fire. The rear seat occupant ( Captain Michael J. Adams, ARPS) safely ejected. The front seat pilot, Captain David R. Scott (ARPS), stayed with the aircraft and his ejection seat partially initiated (stirrup cables and canopy jettison) due to the cockpit floor disintegrating but the seat did not fire because the torque tube was unable to rotate due to crash damage. The crew survived with only minor injuries. Both were astronaut candidates and members of Class IV of the Aerospace Research Pilot School. They had flown morning missions in F-104A aircraft practicing low lift to drag ratio (“low L/D” or Drinkwater type) landing approaches as well as standard SFO landings.
Note: Michael J. Adams was selected to be an astronaut in 1965 but left to join the X-15 program. He was killed in the crash of X-15A-3 on 15 November 1967. David R. Scott was in the third group of astronauts selected in 1963. He flew on Gemini and later Apollo 9 as command module pilot. He was mission commander on Apollo 15 and walked on the moon. He later became the NASA director at Dryden/Edwards AFB. The IFS owns a copy of the official USAF accident report. Beneath a photo of the aircraft and also a newspaper article (Thanks to Chris Baird).
5 September 1963 RF-104G D-8050 306sq KLu written off pilot killed
This Starfighter crashed near Losser, Holland due to open nozzle problems within the landing pattern of home base Twenthe. The pilot, sgtI. E.G.C. (Willy) Evers was sadly killed. The engine-failure occured at an altitude of 400m (1300ft) and the pilot ejected at 20m (70ft) which was too low. This was the first time a Dutch Starfighter was encountering this problem and Sgt Evers wanted to reveal as much as possible about this problem via the radio. Then he had to eject but was already too low. The aircraft had rolled 90 degrees and his ejection seat was actually jettising into the ground. It was the first Royal Netherlands Air Force Starfighter loss. Beneath a rare small photo of the aircraft taken by John van Benten and some newspaper articles thanks to A.J. Witsen and Bert Wessel.
11 September 1963 CF-104 12794 427sq RCAF written off pilot killed
This starfighter crashed at its homebase Zweibrucken after encountering engine-nozzle problems. The pilot, FlLt. D.O.Schneider ejected but at too low altitude and was sadly killed. He experienced an engine exhaust nozzle failure and a subsequent failure of the Emergency Nozzle Closure System (ENCS). To crown a tragic set of circumstances he apparently had a seat malfunction on ejection and died in the wreckage of his aircraft, due to the late bailout. The photo beneath shows the crash site (thanks to James Craik)
27 September 1963 TF-104G D-5802 TDM KLu incident pilot ok
This day this Starfighter encountered a bird strike during its the landing at homebase Twenthe AB. It could land but sustained damage which needed to be repaired.
3 October 1963 QF-104A 56-836 3205DS USAF written off no pilot
The QF-104A QFG-836 was shot down as unmanned drone by a GAR-2B missile from another fighter, during live shooting exercises. The aircraft was completely destroyed and crashed into the sea.
October 1963 QF-104A 56-739 3205DS USAF written off no pilot
The QF-104A QFG-739 was shot down as unmanned drone by a GAR-2B missile from another fighter, during live shooting exercises. The aircraft was completely destroyed and crashed into the sea. It was the last important event of this Drone-squadron in 1963. Photo beneath shows the aircraft during drone testing at Edwards. When it was shot down it was already painted bright orange. (Thanks to Ludovich)
10 October 1963 F-104G DC+102 JBG33 GAF incident pilot ok
During shooting exercises at Capo Frasca range at Sardinia, this Starfighter encountered a situation where the undercarriage went down during the strong pull-up after a bombing run. The aircraft could make a successful emergency landing but due to the speed limitations it was taken to Manching later on for repair. It continued operations afterwards as can be seen on the picture beneath which was taken in 1964 at Norvenich Air Base (Helmut Baumann).
22 October 1963 CF-104 12876 444sq RCAF written off pilot ok
This Sollingen based aircraft crashed after an engine-fire on final approach to Marville AB. The pilot, FlLt. H.R. "Bud" Venus, ejected safely.  He stated : I was descending through 500’ on final approach at Baden-Sollingen and was in landing configuration. The T-Bird in front of me had missed his turn-off at mid field and was messing up my available runway for landing , and the Tower and I simultaneously agreed that I should go around. The Tower called for a go around, and I applied 100% power as I raised the nose in a gentle climbing turn to the left. I maintained landing configuration because I wanted to get this bird on the ground as quickly as possible. At about 90 degrees into the turn, there was a tremendous “bang”, and the aircraft did a snap roll to the left, through 360 degrees. I selected afterburner, (which fortunately lit immediately) and was able to level the wings with full right aileron and full right rudder applied. My first impression was that I had had a mid-air collision with a glider. There is a lot of glider activity at the Baden Oos civil airport just south of 4 Wing, but now I had to figure out if I could get this bird back on the ground. I maintained the aircraft configuration of Gear Down, and Landing Flap because I barely had control of the aircraft, but I was gaining altitude, and my plan was to get to 10,000 ft. and then sort out the problem. Passing through about 5000ft. the flaps began to cycle from Take-off to UP to Land, and the subsequent control inputs to maintain straight and level flight would have put a Braun cocktail mixer to shame. I watched the “dolls eyes” and tried to interpret the flap configuration , to determine my control inputs but things were happening too fast. And then, the ultimate insult. The “Fire Warning Light” came on. My immediate reaction was to throttle back to idle, which I did, and to push the control column fully forward to prevent a stall. I found myself looking at the ground in a vertical dive, with no hope of recovering. It was time to go. I pulled the “D” ring firmly with both hands. The ejection sequence was remarkably smooth. My only concern was that the seat fired when the canopy was open only about 3 inches, and I thought the seat would strike it. I did not feel the “chute” open, and it took a bit of nerve to look up and find that the canopy was fully deployed. What a beautiful sight! Time to relax a bit, and enjoy the ride. I looked around for the aircraft but could find nothing. It was later determined that the a/c hit the ground in a vertical dive. There were no injuries to anyone on the ground. The ground below was a patchwork of farm fields and large areas of tall Black Forest pine trees. Naturally, I wanted to land in the fields but I was drifting in backwards and had no experience with controlling a parachute. I then recalled a training film from long ago which said “ To reverse your position, simply pull down on the Left riser with your right hand, and pull down simultaneously on the Right riser with you left hand” I reached up, grabbed the risers and dutifully performed this simple task. The chute immediately collapsed, and my acceleration to the ground was very dramatic. Needless to say, I released the risers instantly, and the chute once again filled with air. I determined not to mess with this small problem again! I descended into a forest of tall pines,(backwards) kept my ankles crossed and listened to the branches snapping off. No Sweat, until I came to a jarring halt about 15 ft. from the ground. Looking up, the canopy was gently covering the top of the tree. I turned the buckle on my chute harness release and was just about to punch it open (other arm firmly around tree trunk) when the top of the tree broke off, and I once again began a rapid descent to Terra Firma. I hit hard, rolled to my right, and lay silently thanking God that I had finally arrived. The top of the tree also arrived, about 3 seconds later, and buried itself in the forest floor less than 2 feet from my body.
Investigation report: It was caused by an incorrectly installed clamp. The “Boundary Layer Control System”( BLC) bleeds air from the 13th stage and feeds it to the leading edge of the wing when the flaps are selected to the “Landing” configuration. The supply to the left wing was halted when the clamp failed, resulting in immediate stall . The loud “bang” was a result of the BLC pipe striking the fuselage. The hot air from the open BLC system was directed at the flap control system “black box” and subsequently melted it, resulting in random movements of the flaps. The hot gases eventually caused the “Fire Warning Light” to illuminate. Photo beneath was taken in the period it was lost. (RCAF)
24 October 1963 CF-104 12793 427sq RCAF written off pilot killed
This aircraft struck ground on a night TACAN-penetration training exercise near homebase Zweibrucken. The pilot, FlLt. H.B.Sheasby did not eject and was sadly killed. Most likely cause was a misread altimeter. Photos of this aircraft are very rare, beneath a photo taken at Canadair by Bob McIntyre, prior delivery to the Canadian Air Force.
30 October 1963 F-104G 61-2603 4443CCTS USAF written off pilot ok
It crashed while being used at George AFB for training (NATO/MAP). Royal Netherlands Air Force Major Henricus W. Arendsen was flying this Starfighter Transition Mission #8. This is the second solo F-104G mission of the course. The training syllabus does not require a chase pilot for this mission but local policy provides for an observer pilot. Weather in the flying area at the time of the accident was clear, visibility 10 Miles, wind WNW at 18knots. The flight was thoroughly planned by Captain John P. Gee, the observer instructor pilot. Major Morton C Mumma, III, USAF student instructor pilot flew Captain Gee's wing. Major Arendsen was the number 1 aircraft of the three. He was briefed to line up on the runway, perform his pre-takeoff checks and takeoff as a single aircraft. Immediately after takeoff Major Arendsen noted an unsafe gear indication. This difficulty was remedied by recycling the gear. (Any delay on gear retraction on takeoff usually results in the gear doors not locking closed due to the rapid build up of air loads associated with the very raped acceleration of the aircraft. Although briefed on this possibility, students in the transition phase experience this condition occasionally. Captain Gee and Major Mumma took off as an element and flew as observers for Major Arendsen in the local transition area. While proceeding to the local transition area Major Mumma flew in trail on Captain Gee to gain experience with the F-104G radar. At 22.000 feet and in the local transition area Major Arendsen performed steep turns and other aerobatic maneuvers which included loops, barrel rolls and lazy eights. While doing the previous mentioned maneuvers some altitude was lost and climb was made with afterburner in an attempt to position the aircraft for another loop. At this time he arrived at an altitude of approximately 23,000 feet, 160 knots, on a heading of about 330 degrees. From this point a diving turn was initiated to the right in an attempt to set up the conditions for another loop.Major Arendsen established a 60-70 degree dive angle at this time. The aircraft configuration was takeoff flaps down and the throttle at full military. During the course of the dive, although the pilot could not recall the sequence, he applied back pressure to the stick, retracted the takeoff flaps and experienced kicker three times. Between the second and third kicker he extended the speed brakes and retarded the throttle to IDLE and after the third kicker he ejected. Although the pilot has no recollection of the altitude at which he ejected, for the available evidence it is estimated that ejection occurred at between 2000 and 5000 feet above the terrain. The aircraft struck the ground at the estimated dive angle of 50 to 80 degrees and exploded on impact. The pilot sustained two broken legs. Major Mumma and Captain Gee remained in the vicinity of the crash long enough to alert a rescue helicopter from Fort Irwin. They then returned to George Air Force Base and landed. Lateron Major Arendsen revealed: "After I had done some aerobatics. I set myself up for a loop and then I realized that I wasn't on the flatter part of the country but that I was over the hills. Then I saw that I couldn't make the pull out and got the kicker three times. After the third time I decided to bail out." Investigation: The aircraft hit the ground on the easterly heading at a steep dive angle. Most of the wreckage was found within a 1000 foot area east of the impact area. The wing flap actuators showed the flaps had been in the UP position. The tachometer showed the RPM to be 70% (IDLE). There was no evidence to indicate flight control positions at impact. Since the pilot testified that he was satisfied nothing mechanical was wrong with the aircraft. The IFS owns a copy of the official USAF accident report.
31 October 1963 F-104D 57-1325 479TFW USAF incident pilots ok
This Starfighter encountered an accident at George AFB. Impact was low and aircraft could be repaired soon. One of the pilots was named Lougff.
1 November 1963 CF-104 12764 6STR-OTU RCAF written off pilot ok
It crashed after a failure of the main fuel control unit 14 miles from homebase Cold Lake. Maintenance test pilot Flt. Lt. Clarke W. "Tex" Gehman ejected safely. He was tasked to to do a very simple test flight to try and locate which fuel tank probe was  causing erroneous readings.  He was briefed to apply accelerations in all directions (including deceleration).  A rapid throttle retard caused the J-79 engine to flame out and the pilot was not able to restart it anymore.  He ejected and was safe and picked up by a helicopter. Later investigation revealed  an improperly seated "O" ring ruptured with the ram effect of the  reduction in fuel demand. (Information thanks to pilot). Photos of this aircraft are very rare, beneath one taken at Canadair, Montreal, before delivery (Bob McIntyre).
7 November 1963 F-104A 4211 8TFS RoCAF incident pilot ok
(USAF serial 56-775) The aircraft caught fire in mid-air, near Tai Nan City. Maj LI Zi Hao decided not to eject and made a succesful emergency landing at Hainan (Tai Nan) AFB and was safe. The aircraft was lateron repaired. Aircraft carried 700 gallons of fuel, and 750 rounds of ammo.
9 November 1963 F-104A 56-802 9sq PAF written off pilot ok
It crashed after it went into a spin. F/O Asghar Shah ejected safely. (Note: It was not lost on 13 November)
13 November 1963 F-104C 57-930 435TFS USAF incident pilot ok
It suffered failure of the left leading edge flap and in-flight extension of the MLGs following a rocket pass at Cuddeback Gun Range. He was able to land safely at Edwards AFB, California. The pilot was Capt Dayle W. Carlson of 479-TFW, 435-TFS. Mishap occurred on a 4-ship bombing, rocketry and strafing mission at Cuddeback Gunnery Range. Two nuclear weapons deliveries were practiced then on the first hot rocket pattern pass Capt Carlson fired a rocket at 2,000’ AGL and commenced a 4G recovery during which he heard a loud explosion and felt the aircraft yaw and roll to the left. The pilot immediately corrected and selected AB climbing to 10,000’ but the aircraft would not accelerate beyond 350 knots and 3-4,000’ per minute. During the climb the pilot noticed that the left leading edge flap had been torn free from its mounting hinge. At 10,000’ ft the pilot came out of AB and slowed to 300 knots then started towards Edwards AFB. The Flight Leader joined up with him and noted that both main gears were down, the forward starboard gear door was open, and the nose gear was retracted. Also, the left leading edge flap was laying obliquely across the left wing and still attached to the fuselage near the wing root by the drive mechanism. In addition, the left forward main gear door had been partially torn from the aircraft. The pilot slowed the a/c to 260 knots and selected gear down position. The Leader saw the nose gear extend and the remaining portion of the left forward gear door cycled to the partially closed position. Actuation of the doors could not be positively verified in flight but the pilot observed two green lights on the main gear indicators followed by a nose gear down indication. The Flight Leader recommended a no flap straight-in approach and the pilot elected to fly final to Edwards AFB Runway 22 at 240 knots. Touchdown was uneventful, the drag chute deployed, and the a/c taxied to the de-arming area where the pilot disembarked without injury. The IFS owns a copy of the official USAF accident report.
21 November 1963 F-104G FX27 SABCA BAF written off pilot ok
This brand new Starfighter crashed before delivery to the Belgium Air Force, at Sart-Dames Avelines (near Gosselies) after the pilot encountered a flame out at 650 feet. The pilot, Bernard Neefs (SABCA) ejected safely. Insurance-wise this FX27 was replaced by a new one lateron which got the same serial. Picture of the wreck at the crash site thanks to Charles Mali.
26 November 1963 F-104A 56-849 331FIS USAF incident no pilot
26 November 1963 F-104A 56-863 331FIS USAF written off pilot killed
26 November 1963 F-104A 56-866 331FIS USAF incident no pilot
Crashed on Webb AFB damaging also 2 other aircraft on the ground being 56-866 and 56-849 by flying debris and aircraft parts from this crashed 56-863. It was the split flap accident in which pilot Mike Mc Dowell from Bonham Texas. was sadly killed.  (He was posthumously promoted to Captain). The plane crashed about 100 yards in front of squadron  operations building between the parking ramp and the taxi way. It crashed inverted, in full burner at about a 60 degree angle. After rolling out on final he went to the land position and experienced a BLC roll off which he couldn't trim out, but was controllable. He elected to go around. He added power, retracted the gear, and went from Land flaps to TO flaps. Mobile control said that both trailing edge flaps appeared to be in the land position. This is when the failure side stayed somewhere between land and TO, and other side went to TO. The aircraft entered a series of aileron rolls till it crashed inverted in front of the ops building about 300 feet out.  The IFS owns a copy of the official USAF accident report. Beneath photos received with the accident report showing the damage to the aircraft 56-849 and 56-866. Also a photo of the unlucky 56-863, taken earlier whn it was operated in Europe in 1961 (Klaas Folkersma Collection).
4 December 1963 F-104G 61-2606 4333CCTS USAF written off pilot ok
It crashed after a flame-out while being used at George AFB for training (NATO/MAP). Accident report summary: The squadron had scheduled a flight of four F-104Gs for a practice formation flight in preparation for a fly-by on this day at George AFB, California. The flight was filed on a local VFR clearance. The weather forcast for the flight was clear with thirty miles visibility. The line up was BlackBart1 Maj. William B. Gunn, BlackBart2 Capt. David R. Brown, BlackBart3 Capt. John P.Gee, BlackBart4 Capt. Robert E. Kelley, all were Instructor Pilots in the 4443rd CCTS. The Flight Leader, Major Gunn, the 4443rd CCTS Operations Officer, started the flight briefing at 0734 PST. Start engine time of 0845 was met by all flight members. Start, taxy and engine runup were uneventful. The aircraft were marshaled in left echelon on the runway and began their element formation takeoff at 0900 hours as scheduled. A right turn out of traffic was initiated, the number two men was crossed to the right wing and the second element joined in close formation. The after takeoff check was accomplished and verbally acknowledged by each flight member. As the joinup was being accomplished, the leader held 350 knots and 92% engine RPM. After joinup, the leader started a climbing turn to the south-east and called from an increase of power. (At this point the flight was twenty-five miles west of George AFB and fifteen miles east of Palmdale Airport at 9000 feet MSL) Immediately after the flight increased power, the number four man noticed black smoke come from the tailpipe of the number two aircraft and at the same time the number two man experienced a mild explosion and a power loss. At this point the number two man, Capt. Brown, called the leader and said, “I have a flameout”. Shortly afterwards number four asked if he could obtain an airstart. Capt. Brown said “no” and that it “possibly was a compressor stall”. Capt. Brown then stated, “My nozzle is wide open” and that he would try to obtain an afterburner light and proceed to Palmdale Airport, the nearest suitable runway. The leader advised the second element to climb and advise Palmdale on guard channel of the emergency and of the number two aircraft’s intentions. At this point, number two was attempting an airstart but received no response from the engine. After passing over a building area, he jettisoned the tip tanks. The airspeed was now down to 230-240 knots and the aircraft was in a high rate of descent. Capt. Brown attempted to raise the nose and zoom for altitude, however, this was unsuccessful and the automatic pitch control (APC) actuated twice. At this time, Capt. Brown started the bailout sequence. The ejection was successful and the pilot landed just off the side of a dirt road and 15-20 feet from the ejection seat. The survival kit malfunctioned when the actuator handle was pulled by Capt. Brown during the descent. The kit fell completely free and did not remain attached to the parachute harnass by a lanyard as designed. Capt. Brown stood up after removing the parachute harnass and waved to the flight leader as the helicopter from Palmdale Airport was directed to the scene. The helicopter pick-up was made and Capt. Brown was delivered to George AFB. The aircraft impacted one mile west of the pilot and seat in a seventy degree nose down and one hundred thirty degree left wing down (inverted) attitude. The aircraft exploded on impact and parts were scattered over an area on hundred thirty degrees by 350 yards. A crater then feet deep and thirty feet across resulted. However a major portion of the engine and fifty percent of the tail section were left damaged but intact at the side of the crater. The tip tanks and aircraft both fell in uninhabited areas of the desert. The ejection was witnessed by only a few civilian personnel working at an asphalt mixing plant close to the scene. The ejection took place eight minutes after takeoff at 0908 local. The remaining three flight members continued the briefed mission and landed at 1015 PST. The IFS owns a copy of the official USAF accident report. The photo beneath, which came with the accident report shows what was left of the engine.
10 December 1963 NF-104A 56-762 ARPS USAF written off pilot ok
It crashed after ARPS-senior-instructor Chuck Yeager went into a spin one minute after reaching the top of a parabolic trajectory at 101.600 feet caused by a frozen stabilizer. He ejected successfully. This day ARPS commander Col. Charles E. "Chuck" Yeager made two flights in preparation for an altitude record attempt, the second one was with 56-762. He climbed to 35,000 feet about 100 miles from Edwards near the southern end of the San Joaquin Valley, and headed for the base in afterburner. Yeager ignited the rocket as he was climbing at a steep angle, passing through 60,000 feet with the jet engine flamed out from oxygen starvation. The NF-104A went over the top of its ballistic arc at 104,000 feet. Yeager had planned to re-ignite his jet engine at about 40,000 feet in a dive, but as the angle of attack reached 28 degrees the nose pitched up. The RCS thrusters had no effect, and the aircraft soon entered a flat spin. Without airflow into the jet intakes, Yeager could not restart the engine. He attempted to drop the nose by deploying the drag chute at an altitude of 17,000 feet, but after the chute was released the nose pitched up again. The aircraft continued to spin towards the desert surface. After a total of 13 revolutions, Yeager ejected at 7,000 feet. The seat tumbled with him and became entangled in the parachute lines. As the chute deployed it dislodged the ejection seat, which then struck Yeager's faceplate. It smashed the Plexiglas and burning fuel from the ejector charge ignited the rubber helmet seal as the pure oxygen poured out. The aircraft crashed and created a crater in the desert a number of miles north of Mojave. Colonel Yeager was picked up by an H-21 helicopter. He sustained severe burns, but could continue operations soon after. The IFS owns a copy of the official USAF accident report. photos beneath show the aircraft taking off (thanks to Mike Clemente) and three photos of the crashsite.
56-762_crashsiteX 56-762_to_MikeClemente 56-762_Tail 56-762_NF762_wreck
15 December 1963 F-104A 56-818 331FIS USAF written off pilot killed
This Sunday morning Capt Kenneth A. Cunningham (he was the brother of NASA astronaut Walt Cunningham) was flying a Fighter Interceptor operation mission intercepting B-57 targets. The aircraft was without armament and without external fueltanks, mission was planned for 0:50 min. Everything went fine until the pilot returned back to homebase Webb. During the approach the aircraft suddenly went into a steep dive, within 4 miles of Webb AFB, and crashed into an open field. The pilot did not gave any indication over the radio that something was wrong and also the aircraft had enough fuel to reach the air base. There was also no sign of apprehension nor Hypoxia because the communications between pilot and ground was always fine. Later on it was stated that the accident was caused by a split-flap situation making the aircraft uncontrollable during the final stage of the landing pattern. However this is not according the official accident report of which we own a copy. The wonderful photo beneath was thanks to Samuel Scott Fields, showing the 56-818 with 331FIS markings in formation with 56-821. This photo was taken in the same year 1963 when the aircraft was lost in this tragic accident.
18 December 1963 F-104A 4208 8TFS RoCAF written off pilot killed
This Starfighter crashed after encountering a fire warning alarm in flight. It flew a mission with another F-104 when the pilot, Fan Huan-Ron, received a fire-warning light. The other pilot however could not see any smoke or fire. To be sure the pilot decided to make an emergency landing at Hsinchu but something must have happened suddenly because the aircraft crashed 3000ft off shore S of Hsinchu into a mud-bank were it exploded. Sadly the pilot was killed and it stays insure what really happened. Photo beneath was taken in 1963. (thanks to Clarence Fu)
1963 F-104A 4221 8TFS RoCAF incident pilot ok
Somewhere this year this aircraft landed just 50ft short of the runway. It then pulled up and came down again after 600meters. Because the main gear was completely lost it glided over 8000ft runway before it stopped aside the runway also loosing its nosewheel. It was repaired and continued operations soon after. Pilot was ok.


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