Accidents – Incidents 1979


18 January 1979 F-104S MM6803/53-20 53St/21gr AMI written off pilot killed
This Starfighter crashed near Castelletto di Branduzzo (PV), near the local castle, 15km from Pavia, Italy due to a pilot error (sudden unwell) and subsequent loss of control. The pilot, Giovanni Ballestra was sadly killed. A small monument with engine parts was built outside the castle walls in memory of Ballestra. The aircraft had a wingtip missile launcher and BL-104 dispenser configuration. The picture beneath shows the aircraft at Alconbury a few months before it was lost, on August 25th, 1978.
19 January 1979 F-104D 4163 3W RoCAF written off pilot ok
(USAF serial 57-1318) It crashed this day. There was one pilot on board being Huang Chi-shuen (HUANG Zhi Xuan) and he ejected safely. Picture beneath was taken mid seventies.
22 January 1979 F-104G 62-12318 336Mira HAF written off pilot killed
This Starfighter was lost on an instrument training flight, in the north suburbs of Patra, exactly at Bozaitika NE Suburb of Patras (today) about 5-6 km from center of town, sadly killing the pilot 1stLt. Konstantinis Davillas. While on his way back to homebase the pilot decided to perform aerobatics over populated area (his girlfriend was living there) which was beyond his capabilities resulting in loss of aircraft control at very low altitude and crashing on the hill of Profitis Elias and killing himself. Pictures of aircraft 62-12318 are very rare. Below a picture from the early seventies and also a small newspaper article, thanks to Dimitris Adamopoulos.
1 February 1979 F-104S MM6783/9-36 9St/10gr AMI written off pilot ok
It crashed near Terracina (LT), Italy. The pilot Lt. Paolo Magro ejectected safely. Cause was due to non working tiptanks feeding and subsequent fuel starvation. The aircraft was configured with wingtip missile launcher configuration and BL-104 dispenser. The pictures below were taken during a visit of the aircraft at Alconbury on April 12th, 1978.
1 February 1979 F-104G 22+08 JBG31 GAF written off pilot ok
1 February 1979 F-104G 25+79 JBG31 GAF damaged pilot ok
F-104G 22+08 crashed after a mid-air collision near Niederempt and Elsdorf-Desdorf (Kreis Bergheim, 15km NW of Nörvenich) with F-104G 25+79 which landed safe on homebase Nörvenich. Pilot Hptm Frank Achner ejected safely. During the flight back home three pairs joined into 6 ship formation. During the manouvre the aircraft nr 1 (22+08) and 2 (25+79) collided. Aircraft nr 1 became uncontrolable and the pilot had to eject and was safe although injured. The nr 2 aircraft was damaged at its tail including its tail wing. Gladly the pilot Hptm Eckhard Schwipper could land safely. It was repaired at Erding after this accident. The damaged tail section was later on used on the instructional airframe 20+06 at Kaufbeuren. Pictures below show the unlucky 22+08 at Norvenich on May 13th, 1975 (taken by Gunter Grondstein) and two pictures (taken by Helmut Baumann) of aircraft 25+79. First the aircraft at Norvenich in October 1979 when operational again after repair and finally a picture taken on February 2nd, 1979, on which the damage of the collision is clearly visible on the tail and right tiptank fin.
25+47_JBG31_Norvenich_01may79_loanWS10_HelmutBaumannX 25+79 F-104G JaboG 31 Norvenich 02Feb1979 after midair with 22+08_Helmut BaumannX
5 February 1979 F-104G 22+84 MFG1 GNavy written off pilot ok
This F-104G Crashed near the List-range, which is near the island Sylt, after the aircraft encountered an engine-stall. Pilot OltzS Wolf-Rudiger Grosse-Freese ejected safely. Picture beneath was taken by Gerrit Hiemstra around mid seventies.
9 February 1979 F-104G FX81 23Sml BAF damaged pilot ok
9 February 1979 F-104G FX95 23Sml BAF written off pilot killed
This day the F-104G FX81 could land safely, and was repaired later, after a mid-air collision with FX95 near Diepenbroek. Both aircraft flew in the holding area before getting green lights to shoot at the Helchteren range (Belgium). FX95 was flown by O/Lt VI Frank Naets while the FX81 was flown by his brother O/Lt VI Peter Naets. Frank Naets was sadly killed, while his twin-brother Peter could land safely at Kleine Brogel AB (emergency landing). Picture below shows FX81 a year after the collision, participating in the Tiger Meet at Cameri (Serge Bonfond). Also a newspaper article can be found thanks to Carlo Ghys.
21 February 1979 CF-104 104754 417sq RCAF written off pilot killed
This CF-104 was lost this day during a tragic accident. Captain B.B. Reid was the lead of a two-plane interdiction mission during exercise Red Flag 79-4. Take-off from Nellis AFB was at 17:94Z and the mission proceeded as planned and briefed, until after a second of two targets were attacked. On egress from the target, the wingman lost sight of the lead aircraft. At approximately 18:17Z radio calls on 243.0 were instituted by Red Flag Operations that the lead aircraft was entering a sensitive restricted area (Groom Lake/Dreamland). At approx 18:20Z the aircraft, CF-104 104754, in an apparent attempt to leave the restricted area crashed at 7800 level of an 8,200’ mountain at 37 28 45N 115 44 30W. Captain Bruce Reid was sadly killed instantly. The aircraft disintegrated. The International F-104 Society owns a copy of the official accident report. Picture below was taken at Hill AFB, USA, November 20th, 1977, during an earlier held Red Flag (by Laurie Hawn). Also some pictures taken from the accident report. Finally another picture taken of the aircraft in better days, here at home base Cold Lake in 1976.
1 March 1979 F-104G D-8280 311sq KLu written off pilot ok
This F-104G Starfighter crashed near Wilstedt and Rothenburg (between Hannover and Bremen), Germany, after it encountered an engine-failure due to a severe birdstrike (Buzzard). It happened during a low-level mission, just above 2500 feet. The pilot, ELt. Willem Glazer ejected safely. Pictures beneath show the pilot after arriving back safe at the airbase, two pictures taken at the crash site (one thanks to Documentation group Volkel) and also a older picture showing the aircraft in better days, at Soesterberg in July 1968 (by Henk Schakelaar).
4 March 1979 F-104S MM6927/5-34 5St/23gr AMI written off pilot killed
It crashed in the circuit of Catanese di Sigonella Air Force Base in poor weather conditions during wrong performed landing or a difficult landing situation. The pilot Davide Savini was sadly killed.  The aircraft was mounted with tip tanks and missile launcher configuration + BL.104. It happened 12:04 PM local time.
14 March 1979 F-104G 26+32 JBG34 GAF written off pilot ok
Crashed near Westerheim after it encountered an engine-stall after take-off from Memmingen. Pilot Olt Andreas Sindelar ejected safely. The picture below was taken at Soesterberg on July 21st, 1978 by Henk Schuitemaker.
4 April 1979 F-104J 46-8598 205sq JASDF written off pilot killed
Crashed into the sea, 150km West of Komatsu Air Base, during a high altitude DACT mission.  It occurred at 2:58 PM. Sadly the pilot, First Lieutenant Imai Izuse (31) was never found. The picture below was taken in August 1974 at Misawa Air Force Base.
12 April 1979 F-104G FX12 349Sml BAF incident pilot ok
This Starfighter was damaged when it was hit by ricochet during a firing exercise from Solenzara. The Pilot Capt Jean-Claude "Jay" Servais landed safely and after inspection and possible repair the aircraft flew soon again.
17 April 1979 F-104G 22+15 MFG1 GNavy written off pilot ok
This Starfighter crashed near St Peter Ording 'Eidermundung' into the "Wattenmeer" (Eiderstett) after a birdstrike (shellduck) at low level and subsequent engine-stall. Pilot KorvKpt Manfred Kowalewski ejected safely. Picture below was taken at Schleswig on July 8th, 1973 (by Willy Metze).
23 April 1979 F-104G D-8115 322/323sq KLu incident pilot ok
On its way from Decimomannu to Baden-Sollingen (fuelstop) pilot Nico Dijxhoorn encountered a technical issue in flight (frozen flap motors/mechanism). Gladly he could land safely at Sollingen where the problems could be fixed. He could continue flying to homebase Leeuwarden the next day.
25 April 1979 F-104G 4318 unknown RoCAF written off pilot ok
(USAF serial 62-12259) This Starfighter crashed in Sangyi after it encountered an engine failure. The pilot Chen Hsiao-Ming ejected safely.
15 May 1979 F-104G 62-12328 191Filo THK written off pilot ok
This Starfighter crashed at or near home base Balikesir. The pilot was safe. Picture below was taken at Murted Air Base in July 1974 by Hans Koning.
5 June 1979 F-104G FX68 349Sml BAF written off pilot killed
This Starfighter crashed near Doische-Gochenée, which is near Florennes Air Base, Belgium. The pilot OLT  Benoit Paul was sadly killed. Cause was due to spatial disorientation. (Investigation ended April 1980 / struck of charge).  The picture below was taken at home base Beauvechain on June 24th, 1972.
8 June 1979 CF-104 860 334Skv RNorAF written off pilot ok
This starfighter was destroyed during a flying accident. It crashed near the island Spildra in Kvænangen. Just after completing a simulated rocket attack on a small island North-East of Spildra, the pilot noticed reduced engine power and loss of airspeed. As the afterburner was lit, the plane caught fire. The pilot, Squadron Commander Col. Per Bøthun managed to eject, and escaped with minor injury. The cause was a slightly misrouted fuel line which caused chafing and a leak. The pictures below were taken during a squadron exchange at Honington in May 1978.
14 June 1979 F-104G MM6571/6-06 6St/154gr AMI written off pilot ok
This day this Starfighter was written off after an accident during take-off from homebase Ghedi, Italy. The pilot Capt. Antonio Rocchelli gladly escaped by using his Martin-Baker ejection seat. The aircraft ended in the grass and went into flames which was stopped soon by the alarmed fire-brigade. The aircraft was structurally damaged beyond repair as can be seen on the picture below taken later that day at Ghedi.
14 June 1979 F-104G D-8297 322/323sq KLu written off pilot killed
This Starfighter crashed into the Waddenzee at approximately 100 km North-East of Den Helder, The Netherlands. During a 'clean' mission it struck sea at around 10.25 AM due to possible disorientation. The pilot, Lt. G A.. Wessels Boer (322 squadron) was sadly killed. He flew a mission together with 2 other F-104's. As soon as these two would intercept D-8297 (flying without tip tanks) the aircraft could not be found. The weather that day was very poor with bad sight and rainy. The wreckage was found on July 5th by the Dutch Navy vessel HM Dokkum. Lots of parts were found within a range of 115 to 120 km from the coast. The pilot was recovered July 19th in the evening. It looks like the pilot had tried to eject just before he hit the water but was too late. Pictures beneath show the aircraft flying over the Waddenzee (Arie Kraak) and taxing at Leeuwarden in April 1978. Also some newspaper articles found the weeks after the accident (Harry Prins Collection) and an overview picture of the found remains of the aircraft for investigation inside a shelter in Leeuwarden (by Flash Aviation archives).
27 June 1979 F-104G FX10 350Sml BAF incident pilot ok
This Starfighter encountered  birdstrike in flight. The pilot Capt. Jean Marie "Jim" Paul was able to bring the aircraft back home by an emergency landing. The aircraft could fly soon again.
6 July 1979 F-104G 20+27/63-13250 CCTW GAF written off pilot ok
This Starfighter crashed in Arizona after an engine failure due to fuel control malfunction near Gila Bend Range, Arizona, (caused by wrong maintenance repair on the main fuel control), The student pilot Olt Udo Wagner ejected safely. We do not own a copy of the accident report since the USAF stated that for an unknown reason they lost it. Picture below shows the aircraft at Luke AFB late sixties.
10 July 1979 TF-104G D-5801 CAV KLu incident pilots ok
This Starfighter encountered a birdstrike in flight and had to make an emergency landing at Leeuwarden Air Base with call sign "M 1591C". Both pilots were fine and the aircraft could fly soon again.
11 July 1979 F-104G MM6553/3-16 3St/132gr AMI written off pilot killed
This Starfighter crashed during shooting exercises at the Capo Frasco range near Capo Frene. The pilot, Capt Luciano Bezzan, was not able to recover from a dive towards the target where also the APC system (Anti Pitch Control) was activated, and was sadly killed. Note: the aircraft had recently been modified from RF-104G into F-104G. Although the aircraft belonged to 132 Gruppo, the pilot was from 28 Gruppo. The aircraft flew in a tip-tanks configuration.
12 July 1979 F-104S 6905 142Filo THK written off pilot killed
This Starfighter crashed near Kizilcihamam, Ankara, Turkey. The pilot, Capt. Ismail Salci (25), was sadly killed in this accident. Cause unknown.
27 July 1979 F-104G D-6667 322/323sq KLu incident pilot ok
This F-104 encountered a bird strike in flight and had to make an emergency landing at home base Leeuwarden. Pilot Capt. Guy Putker (323sq) flew a dart mission from Leeuwarden and took off at 9:50 local time. During the climb after take off the pilot saw a seagull entering the left intake with a loud bang (speed around 400 km/h). He managed to drop the fuel tanks and also his mounted dart near Marrum and headed back to the airbase. While trying to jettison his fuel tanks he accidentally lowered the hook.. A successful emergency landing with hook extended on runway 24, after a flight of ten minutes was the result. The aircraft was checked and repaired soon. Beneath a few newspaper articles around this accident.
3 August 1979 F-104G 22+25 MFG1 GNavy written off pilot killed
This Navy Starfighter crashed during landing at RAF Yeovilton, United Kingdom. The pilot KptLt Manfred Sturmer (39) was sadly killed. He encountered a "pitch-up" during its base-turn which was fatal. The aircraft crashed just outside the airbase into a sandy hill. Because the 3rd and 4th of August there was an Open House at RAF Yeovilton the F-104 was likely one of the participants. The picture beneath was taken at Leeuwarden Air Base on August 2nd, showing the aircraft on its way to the runway, on its way to Yeovilton, with pilot Manfred Sturmer inside. (Rob Loonstra).
13 August 1979 F-104G D-6683 312sq KLu written off pilot killed
This F-104G crashed in the afternoon 5 km North-West of Kleef, Germany, between Dornbruggen and Rindern. The pilot, ELt. Ron J. K. Smit (26), ejected and came down safely. After touching the ground however he was unfortunately killed by a broken neck when he collided with a tree. He flew a navigation-trip over Germany and encountered a nose-over situation from which the pilot was not able to recover. The accident report summary stated: The pilot flew in the final phase of the mission in auto-pilot with "engage" and "Altitude Hold" selected while not holding the controlstick. Due to an unknown technical cause the LN-3 platform suddenly choose a wrong setting/selection. This resulted via the auto-pilot that the stabilo was brought into the maximum leading edge UP position. Also the stick was pulled forward and so the aircraft went nose down. Due to the appearing negative G forces, the stick being forced forward, the low altitude and the total surprise of this situation resulted in the pilot deciding to eject. It cannot be checked anymore if due to the negative G forces the inertia reel lock handle was standing in "Locked" position. The pictures below shows the crater on the crash site (Flash Aviation Archive) and the aircraft during a squadron exchange at Karup in June 1977 (by Nico Roof). Also a published newspaper article can be found. (Harry Prins Collection).
22 August 1979 F-104S 6894 192Filo THK written off pilot ok
This Starfighter crashed near or at homebase Balikesir, Turkey. The pilot was safe. Cause unknown. The picture beneath was taken around 1974 (by Andrea Genta)
27 August 1979 F-104G 20+42 JBG31 GAF incident pilot ok
This Starfighter encountered an open-nozzle issue and had to make an emergency-landing at Leeuwarden AB. The aircraft was soon repaired.
28 August 1979 RF-104G D-8138 306sq KLu incident pilot ok
This Starfighter had to make an emergency landing on Leeuwarden AFB for an unknown reason. Because the repair toke quite a long time the damage must have been subtantial. (Cat2?). On September 5th it was still noticed at Leeuwarden Air Base inside the maintenance hangar.
29 August 1979 F-104S MM6939/5-44 5St/23gr AMI incident pilot ok
During the landing at Bitburg this Starfighter from Rimini encountered minor undercarriage damage. Later the damage was more severe than expected and the aircraft was transported to FIAT in Torino for repair. It arrived on December 5th and departed again (to Gioia del Colle) on January 14, 1981! Pictures below thanks to Wolfgang Schwarz and Pierpaolo Maglio.
6 September 1979 TF-104G 27+99 MFG2 GNavy written off pilots ok
This Starfighter crashed near Heimbuch inside the Luneburger Heide. After a malfuctioning of the flight-control-system the aft-seating pilot ejected both ejection-seats saving the life of both pilots, being slightly injured. The pilots were KptLt Ulrich Korst and KptLt Herbert Resch. Picture below was taken by Helmut Baumann at Decimomannu on October 7th, 1977.
1 October 1979 F-104G 22+03 JBG33 GAF incident pilot ok
This Starfighter ran off the runway at Nörvenich this day. The aircraft drifted off the RWY after nose gear malfunction. The nose gear broke off with only minor damage to the aircraft. The pilot Olt. Kurt Konietzka ejected with his Martin Baker ejection seat and was safe. The aircraft was repaired and flew again soon.
1 October 1979 F-104G 25+10 JBG34 GAF written off pilot ok
This Starfighter from Memmingen based JBG34, crashed near Allenbach, Germany, after encountering an engine-stall. The pilot, Olt Hartmut Hoffmann, ejected safely. The picture shows the aircraft landing with JBG33 badges back in May 1977.
12 October 1979 F-104G FX69 349sq BAF incident pilot ok
This day this Starfighter was CAT 2 damaged during a ground incident. The pilot, Olt. Philippe Martin, collided during taxiing with a fire extinguisher on the ground at his home base Beauvechain, resulting in some damage to the aircraft. It was repaired soon.
5 November 1979 F-104G D-8091 312sq KLu incident pilot ok
This Starfighter made an emergency landing at Leeuwarden after encountering a birdstrike during a mission. It was damaged enough to be transported by road to home base Volkel.
9 November 1979 F-104G 23+20 MFG2 GNavy written off pilot ok
This F-104G crashed near Haselund and Flensburg, Germany, after engaging an uncontrollable attitude. The pilot, KptLt Lothar Stryi became slightly injured after ejecting. The picture below was taken by Helmut Baumann at Nörvenich in July 1976.
13 November 1979 TF-104G 27+05 WS10 GAF written off pilots ok
This Starfighter crashed near home base Jever after experiencing an "assymetrical flaps" problem during landing. Both pilots Hptm Krafft Braun and Olt Rainer Friedrich ejected safely. One of the pilot sadly broke his leg. Beneath a picture of the aircraft landing at Jever and a newspaper article from a Dutch newspaper (Harry Prins Coll.).
19 November 1979 TF-104G MM54259/20-24 20gr AMI written off pilots killed
This two-seat Starfighter crashed 230 degree radius from home base Grosseto into the sea 4 NM from Talamone. Both pilots, Col. Eugenio Frezza and LtCol Renato Chionsini were sadly killed. During the approach to land, in a turn towards the base on low-altitude the aircraft struck the sea. Most possible cause was loss of control due to spatial desorientation while flying in bad environmental conditions. The aircraft was in tip-tank configuration and crashed 10.20 AM local time. The picture below was taken by Rob Loonstra at Leeuwarden Air Base on June 19th, 1978.
20 November 1979 TF-104G D-5702 TCA KLu incident pilots ok
This day this TF-104G made an emergency landing at home base Leeuwarden after it encountered a lost chute in flight situation. (mission "M2902").
10 December 1979 F-104G 20+42 JBG31 GAF incident pilot ok
The aircraft made an emergency-landing at Leeuwarden Air Base after the pilot encountered an exploded M61 canon while shooting at the range over the Waddenzee. (mission "M1274A).
14 December 1979 F-104G FX79 350Sml BAF written off pilot ok
This Starfighter was severly damaged during a CAT-4 runway accident when it made a belly landing at home base Beauvechain. The pilot lost control over the aircraft during the take-off which was caused by an oil leak. Pilot was Lt. Luc “strop” Vanlandeghem (1W/350Sml). It was declared written off and later on it went to a scrapyard in Kalken (around 1980/81) Then late 80's it was sold to a crane-service at Beervelde. The picture below was taken at Creil Air Base, France, on May 28th, 1978.


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