Accidents – Incidents 1981


11 January 1981 F-104C 57-928 198TFS PR ANG destroyed no pilot
Being a monument at Muniz AB, it was completely destroyed by a Puerto-Rico guerilla-action, inside a shelter. During the night the Starfighter was stationed at the beginning and to the side of the flightline in front of the main hangar.  It was blown up during a thermite bomb attack by leftist leaning independence terror group. The aircraft sustained severe damage to its centersection and the fuselage broke apart and collapsed. Later the carcass was judged unrepairable and used for practice by fire-crash crews until nothing was left.  Note: Seven operational A-7D aircraft were also destroyed in the attack.
February 1981 F-104G D-8051 312sq KLu incident pilot ok
This month pilot Joop Bakker suddenly saw three deers crossing the runway after he touched down from a mission at homebase Volkel. Within a few moments later he heard and felt a small bump and he knew that he had hit at least one of them. He reported this to the tower and after stopping the aircraft he left it with a ladder to check the damage. The underside was spread over with blood and some meat moisture. He was shocked by the fact that the hydraulic brake and anti skid lines were broken loose just through a metal grip. It was loosing hydraulic oil rapidly. On the landing gear remains of a deer were found and one of the deers were found without head which had been cut by the razor sharp wing. The aircraft was repaired soon again. Photos thanks to Klu Safety magazine Veilig Vliegen.
4 February 1981 TF-104G 66-13627/627 331SKV RNorAF written off pilots ok
It crashed during the landing approach to Bodo when the canopy suddenly opened and some parts went into the engine (FOD) stalling the engine. The TF-104G flew a routine trainingmission and was undertaking a radar controlled landing at runway 08 at homebase Bodø. Suddenly a canopy which opened, smashed against the left side of the plane and pieces of plexiglas went directly into the inlet and ingested into the engine compressor. The engine RPM dropped immediately and the crew decided to eject. Lt. Per Christian Torp (front seat) landed safely while Lt. Inge Støen suffered minor injury. Both landed on the base area. So did the plane which exploded on impact near shelter 16. Photo beneath shows the totally destroyed aircraft (RNorAF) and a photo showing this same aircraft at Norvenich on 8 February 1978 taken by Helmut Baumann.
17 February 1981 F-104G 4343 7TFS RoCAF written off pilot killed
(USAF serial 64-17769)  This starfighter crashed into sea. The pilot, Capt Chou Da Tong was missing after this crash and officially declared killed. It happened after a radar intercept training when during the return back to the airbase, Capt Chou together with his leader, entered clouds at 14,000 feet above Tai Chung in bad weather. The lead lost contact with Capt Chou who must have had problems and crashed into the sea soon after. The accident was due to an engine failure. Why the pilot did not eject is unknown. Attached a photo thanks to Clarence Fu. At the time it crashed it had already been camouflaged.
16 March 1981 CF-104D 104665 439sq CAF written off pilots ok
This starfighter crashed near Sonstheim and Leipheim after a compressor-stall caused by a bird hit. On the run in to the target at 500 feet and 510 kts the pilot saw a large brown bird pass the left side of the aircraft below the canopy rail. An impact was felt, followed immediately by a severe vibration. A climb and turn to the nearest military airfield (GAF Leiphiem) was initiated. The throttle was brought to idle and the engine stall appeared to clear. As subsequent throttle movements beyond 85% re-induced the stall, the throttle was selected at a setting between 80 and 86%. When it became evident that there was insufficient thrust to achieve an emergency landing at GAF Leipheim, the aircrew ejected at approximately 1200 feet AGL, suffering only minor injuries. The investigation revealed that a bird had been ingested into the engine. From a few feathers sent to the German Military Geophysical Office, the bird was identified as a buzzard weighing approximately one kilogram with a wingspan of 1.2 meters. This type of bird lives in the forest and is not migratory. It happened some 12 miles from Leipheim in lowlevel. Both pilots, Capt. Lawrence A. Sianchuk and Lt. Henry Raffel, ejected safely. The aircraft was completely destroyed. Beneath a photo of this CF-104D taken during a visit at Soesterberg AB late 70s. (Thanks to Eric Tammer).
2 April 1981 F-104S 6863/9-853 191filo THK written off pilot ok
This Starfighter crashed near Gol Maramara very likely after encountering technical problems. Gladly the pilot (name unknown) was capable to eject in time and was safe.
8 April 1981 TF-104G D-5810 CAV KLu incident pilots ok
In flight this aircraft suddenly lost a panel mounted just behind the cockpit. It landed somewhere in a garden near a house in Neidermohr, Germany. Aircraft was repaired soon. Inside pilot Kapt W Glaser (311sq) and passenger Maj B Moran. The aircraft toke off from Ramstein earlier that day and during a turn, avoiding rain showers, the pilot had experienced a small bump but did not take any notice of that. At Volkel (after arrival) the groundcrew detected that 60% of the electric compartment door was missing and also some damage was seen inside the E- compartment. Investigation showed that the door had been closed but not secured. (See photo beneath).
30 April 1981 F-104J 46-8658 203sq JASDF written off pilot killed
This Starfighter crashed in Naganuma-cho, Hokkaido, on final approach to Chitose AB, in heavy rain with cloudrange of 120km. (11:30AM). It came down in South Nr 7, East 2 Line, Naganuma Town, Yuubari County, Hokkaidou. The pilot, First Lieutenant Nishiki Masaaki (28), was sadly killed. He had 598 flight hours, including 133 hours in F-104. About 10:00, the pilot toke off with 7 others for training in the C1 training area near Shakotan. It took 30 minutes to reach the area. Then about 11:00, after dogfight training, the pilot returned back to base as four flights of two aircraft. First Lieutenant Iimure Yoshihiko was leader. Nishiki was wingman. Cloud ceiling above base was 120 m. Visibility very low. ATC guided Iimure and Nishiki into the clouds. Landing gear was lowered and about 15 km from runway, with altitude approximately 500 m, and around three minutes before landing, Nishiki told Iimure that Nishiki lost sight of Iimure. Iimure ordered Nishiki to pull up. Iimure turned left. Nishiki should have turned right 30 degrees. Nishiki lost radar and radio contact. Soon, SAR helicopter found Nishiki's crash site, about 18 km from airbase. Nishiki did not eject. His aircraft had headed east. Photo beneath shows the F-104J on May 11th, 1977, operated by 7 Wing by then, later it went to 203sq.
18 May 1981 F-104G 24+79 JBG32 GAF written off pilot killed
It crashed near Sigmaringen, Bayern in the Heuburg training area when it struck the ground during shooting exercises. Pilot Hptm Manfred Brandt was sadly killed. Beneath a photo of the aircraft taken in April, one month before it was lost.
9 June 1981 CF-104 104762 421sq CAF written off pilot ok
This starfighter struck trees on a simulated tactical delivery. The pilot, Lt.K.G. Cranfield ejected safely.  The pilot was forced to eject following inadvertent contact with some trees. While waiting for a chance to “scab” onto Siegenburg bombing range, located between Munich and Nuremberg, he discovered a target of opportunity in the shape of a tank. Rising terrain behind the target was the problem, and the pilot had to set about trying to clear the compressor stall which had occurred. Running out of altitude and airspeed at a rapid rate, the pilot ejected safely. The report stated: The aircraft was holding near the Siegenberg-Range entry point awaiting clearance onto the range for a normal air to ground weapons delivery exercise. While in the hold, the pilot spotted a single derelict tank in a military training area. The pilot decided to make a simulated strafing attack on the tank and rolled in on it from a finally close-in-position. The attack was initiated from a low total energy state to that take-off flaps and afterburner were used to complete the hard turn onto target. The attack was abandoned when the pilot realized he was not having normal parameters. As he pulled the nose up through 5 or 10 degrees above the horizon, the “kicker” fired and it became obvious to the pilot that contact with the trees was imminent. During further recovery efforts, three obvious bumps were felt before the aircraft started gaining altitude. The aircraft zoom to about 1600 feet AGL and the pilot turned toward Ingolstadt Air Base. He became aware of a low speed (210 kts) and slight descent rate (700-800 fpm) conditions, and attempted a stall clearing procedure that was unsuccessful. At this point the decision to eject was made, but further delay with attempted UHF calls caused the pilot to eject with sufficient time for only two swings in his parachute before becoming hung up in a tree. Beneath the aircraft at Soesterberg Air Base in 1980, photographed by Martin Herbert.
26 June 1981 F-104G FX86 23sq BAF written off pilot ok
This Starfighter experienced a severe birdstrike over Diepholz, Germany resulting serious damage to the engine. Pilot Lt E. De Decker was able to make a successful emergency landing at Jever and was ok. CAT3, but due to the time limits of the airframe and the engine damage the aircraft was declared written off instantly and was transported back to Kleine Brogel where the aircraft became a new gateguard as can be seen beneath.
6 July 1981 F-104G 24+58 JBG33 GAF written off pilot ok
This F-104G crashed near Baden-Wurtenberg and Mulfingen and Staigerbach after encountering a birdhit (buzzard) at low level and subsequent engine-stall. Pilot Hptm Thomas Reinker ejected safely. Some reports state location Niederstetten.
14 July 1981 TF-104G 63-8459 69TFTS GAF written off pilots ok
(shadow serial 27+61) This Starfighter, based at Luke AFB, crashed in Arizona after an engine-stall. Pilots USAF Capt. (IP) Chris R. Glaeser and 2nd Lt Ralph P. Dietl ejected safely. The aircraft was conducting a transition training sortie in the Gladden MOA, Arizona. During the initial entry for a loop, an RPM decrease was experienced with a corresponding loss of thrust. The instructor resumed control of the aircraft and recovered it to level flight. He followed the standard restart procedures but sadly with no success. In total he made 3 attempts. Both pilots ejected at 5000 ft MSL (3000 ft AGL). Aircraft was destroyed completely on impact and both pilots were fine with some small injuries. Investigation revealed: engine failure due to a broken throttle control linkage (Electrical Fire). The International F-104 Society owns a copy of the official accident report. Crash location :  33 57 23.7N 113 19 20.1W
14 July 1981 F-104G 63-13640/4-640 141filo THK written off pilot ok?
This F-104G crashed near Bolu, it is believed that the pilot ejected safely and was ok. Benaeth a photo showing the aircraft on the Murted flightline around late 70s just prior it received the new serial 4-614. (thanks to Soner Capoglu)
17 July 1981 F-104G 4322 3TFW RoCAF written off pilot ok
(USAF serial 62-12222) It crashed on an unknown location due to an unknown cause. Pilot Yan Shau Kuen ejected safely. Beneath a photo taken late 70s at homebase CCK (thanks to Banjamin Yu)
22 July 1981 F-104G 61-2610/4-610 SahinKt THK written off pilot killed
This Turkish Starfighter  crashed near Bolu (just as another F-104G a week earlier). The pilot, Hv Plt. Yzb. Mehmet Örs (28 years old) was sadly killed in the accident of which the cause is still unknown.
July 1981 TF-104G 28+19 JBG34 GAF written off pilots ok
Not yet confirmed but some stated that this aircraft encountered G-overstressing damage during its deployment at Decimomannu, others stated that it was grounded due to corrosion damage. It was dismantled, airlifted to Manching and declared written off. It was used for spare parts after that and the remains have been scrapped late 80s. Photo beneath shows this aircraft also at Decimomannu but a few years earlier in 1976. (Thanks to Gunter Grondstein)
4 August 1981 F-104G 66-13525 69TFTS GAF written off pilot ok
(Shadow serial 22+52) The Starfighter, based at Luke AFB, crashed at Gila Bend (complex 4), Arizona after an engine-stall. Pilot Hptm (Capt) Wolfgang Daberkow ejected safely. This aircraft was scheduled as number 2 in an F-104G four-ship flight to range 4 at Gila Bend Range Complex. Briefing had been done at 06:10 hours MST and all four aircraft took off at 08:16 hours. Flight arrived on range at appr. 08:25 hours. The flight proceeded normally with six bombing events and three rocket passes. On the first strafe pass, the number two aircraft in the flight (this aircraft) pulled off the target and halfway through the turn to downwind experienced an engine problem. The pilot was unable to maintain level flight due to power loss and ejected safely. Aircraft crashed on impact and pilot was fine. The International F-104 Society owns a copy of the official accident report. (Beneath a photo showing the aircraft at the flightline of Luke.)
11 August 1981 F-104J 26-8507 204sq JASDF written off pilot ok
This Japanese Starfighter crashed into sea, near Hyuuganada, East of Miyazaki Perfecture, 170km ESE of Nyutabaru AB. While climbing during a DACT-mission it encountered an uncontrollable spin at 9:47AM (take off was 9:29 from Nyuutabaru AB). First Lieutenant Nishifuji Hisanori (29) landed into the sea and was found and rescued by a helicopter. The pilot was safe although he suffered from an injured right shoulder. Photo beneath shows this aircraft 26-8507 with 205 squadron at Komatsu on August 26st, 1978, almost 3 years before it was lost. (Unknown photographer / IFS archive)
26-8507 F-104J 507 205 sqn Komatsu 26Aug1978-2_blog
17 August 1981 F-104G 25+79 JBG33 GAF written off pilot ok
This German Starfighter crashed near Lorraine and Metz (near Ollieres) in France after an engine-failure which was caused by a birdhit (buzzard) at low level. The pilot, Olt Uwe Ahrens first saved a town before using his ejection seat which saved his own life. Witnesses stated that only the back of the aircraft was visible on the crash site, the rest of it was berried into the ground. The Luftwaffe cleaned the complete area soon after.
25 August 1981 F-104G 24+29 JBG33 GAF written off pilot ok
Pilot Olt Hartmut Schmidt lost control during touch & go training at Beja AB in Portugal and crashed while trying to get airborne again. The ejection-seat was activated by the collision with the ground and ejected the pilot. He was very lucky that he survived although being severely injured. Photo beneath shows the aircraft while visiting Soesterberg AB mid 70s. (Henk de Ridder)
26 August 1981 F-104G 26+68 MFG2 GNavy written off pilot ok
This F-104G crashed near Oksboel (Oksbol range) and Esbjerg, Denmark, during a ground-attack exercise (Tactical Fighter Weapon Meet at Aalborg from 17th of August). It got a bird strike (Gulls) at low level which caused an engine-failure. Pilot OltzS Uli Bauer ejected safely. Photo beneath was taken at Yeovilton July 31st, 1981, 26 days before it was lost. (Thanks to Peter Mühlböck). Newspaper article shared by Harry Prins.
26+68 F-104G MFG 2 Yeovilton Aug1981_PMC_1600XX
2 September 1981 F-104G D-6670 312sq KLu incident pilot ok
While landing at Gutersloh from the East side (with Eastern wind) the chute broke after touch down and the pilot tried to use the arrestor hook. However at Gutersloh they have a different emergeny system and the aircraft could not stop in time before the end of the runway. It ran off and stopped in the grass breaking off its nose wheel and damaging slightly the forward under section. It was repaired soon. Pilot 1st E. Boogaards was ok.
5 October 1981 F-104G MM6517/6-14 6St154gr AMI written off pilot killed
This Italian F-104G crashed near Pordenone, North-Italy during exercises at the Maniago-Poligono range. The pilot, Lt. Tiziano Montinaro (26) was sadly killed. It was the 20th 6Stormo F-104 crash since 1963. Near the Dandolo shooting range the aircraft made a low-key turn after a long strike run. During this turn the pilot encountered a sudden engine failure (flame out) on low level and the pilot directed the plane immediately out of residential area of Maniago but was too low to eject. It hit some trees causing it to crash instantly. Parts were found spread over mile distance on the ground. The aircraft flew in a tip/pylon tank configuration. Beneath a photo showing the remains of the engine. (thanks to Eugenio Vellorso / Air Safety Magazine Italy)
29 October 1981 F-104S 6855/9-855 191Filo THK written off pilot killed
This Turkish Starfighter crashed near Kuzu Yatai Inegol, Bursa, after it hit the mountain of Uludag, during bad weather. Pilot Capt. Sabahattin Culha (32) was sadly killed. Photo beneath was provided by Oguz Meric very likely taken in 1981.
30 Oktober 1981 F-104G FX47 10W BAF incident pilot ok
Pilot Lt. Yvan Janssens experienced quite a moment when his aircraft lost part of its nose gear during the take off from homebase Kleine Brogel. He was able to save the aircraft and was unhurt. The aircraft was repaired soon after. Photo beneath was taken at Twenthe Air Base on 5 August 1981, two months before the accident. (by Harry Prins)
2 November 1981 F-104G 20+44 JBG31 GAF written off pilot ok
This Starfighter made an emergency landing at Decimomannu after experiencing "Open Nozzle" problems. During this landing the aircraft arrester hook failed to catch the barrier and the aircraft did overrun the runway. The aircraft operated under control of the Decimomannu-Kdo and wore JBG31 badges but was flown by a non-JBG31 pilot being Olt Klaus Sommer. Gladly he was unhurt, the aircraft was written off. Beneath some photos taken just after the accident and after it was stored at Decimomannu. Final photo was taken by Gunter Grondstein showing this aircraft while landing at Norvenich on July 23rd, 1980.
4 November 1981 F-104A 4247 8TFS RoCAF written off pilot killed
(USAF serial 56-866) This F-104A crashed after encountering a pitch-up while landing at homebase CCK. This happened after approaching the runway with too high angle of attack. Pilot Major Mao Chung-Jo (30) ejected but at too low altitude and was tragically killed. The aircraft was destroyed. Photo beneath shows the aircraft late 70s at CCK (RoCAF photo)
5 November 1981 F-104G 25+67 JBG31 GAF written off pilot killed
This German Starfighter crashed on final approach while strucking the landing light system 300 meter before the Norvenich runway 25 in very bad weather (fog). Pilot Hptm Edgar Ohnmacht escaped but sadly died on its way to the hospital due internal bleedings. It was a 100% copy of the accident of F-104G DA+240 on February 11th, 1966. It happened on the same place with the same reason. Photo was taken in April that same year.
9 November 1981 F-104G D-8308 312sq KLu written off pilot ok
This Dutch Starfighter crashed between St.Anthonis and Elsendorp during a standard exercise-mission in the afternoon. The pilot, Lt. Rob van Zoelen (24) ejected safely after he encountered loss of control. The F-104 toke off from Volkel with two others to exercise 1 vs 2 air-combat with alpha as attacker. The 8308 (bravo) was flying at 16000 feet while charlie was flying on 12000 feet on his right hand. A moment later bravo saw alpha coming in high in his 7'o clock position and warned charlie. Immediately alpha changed his direction and it became clear he was now chasing charlie. As reaction bravo decided to start chasing alpha by carrying out a specific manouvre including a climb. However his angle of attack value was reaching a possible pitch-up problem. The pilot decided to increase the angle possibility by lowering takeoff flaps and pulled the aircraft into an increased angle which resulted in a 'shaker' action very soon. The aircraft immediately entered a not defined flying state including all kind of spin-movements. The starfigher was completely out of control and because the pilot did not succeed in recovering and the altitude was still 8000 feet, the pilot decided to eject. The F-104 crashed near Elsendorp and burned out. The investigation revealed the cause being 'flying-technical'. After the mentioned shaker the pilot can reach a moment were the kicker will react when pulling further. However when take-off flaps are selected, the shaker and kicker limits are changed to a higher value automatically. The investigators discovered the values were changed immediately while the flaps where still travelling. In reality there was a short time the aircraft having flaps neutral being in maximum angle without warning the pilot which is in fact a very dangerous situation. The pilot reached pitch up and the aircraft went out of control. The pilot gladly survived and was taken back to Volkel Air Base by Allouette A-521. Photos beneath show the aircraft at Volkel (preparing take off and mission to Leeuwarden AB) on August 25th 1981 by Gerben Groothuis, and the crash site after the accident (Aviation Safety magazine Veilig Vliegen). As can be seen the aircraft did not carry squadron markings but was flown by 312 squadron. Newspaper article shared by Harry Prins.
D-8308_VKL_25aug81_GerbenGroothuisXD-8308 crash_312sqBooks_VeiligVliegen
10 November 1981 F-104G FX11 31Sml BAF written off pilot killed
10 November 1981 F-104G FX52 31Sml BAF incident pilot ok
Both Belgium Starfighters collided mid air during a standard mission from Kleine Brogel Air Base. One  of the aircraft (FX11) was uncontrollable, flew over Dinant and crashed in a field outside Dinant, 75 km South of Brussel. The pilot, Major Theo Theeuwen, ejected but his chute unfortunately came out too late which was fatal. Some reports stated that one of the shoulder connectors came lose during the ejection attempt. The pilot was found near the '”Obelco” factory at Neffe. The other aircraft (FX52) suffered from a damaged tail and tiptank but could land safely at Kleine Brogel again. Pilot 1Lt. Yvan Janssens was ok. The aircraft was soon repaired and received the 100% tail from FX86. Beneath photos of both aircraft. FX52 photo was taken at Leeuwarden by Arie van Groen on 19 May 1983, more than two years after the accident. Newspaper article shared by Harry Prins.
1 December 1981 F-104G D-8047 311sq KLu written off pilot ok
This Dutch starfighter crashed 10 kilometers South of the Cornfield gunnery range near the island Vlieland into the sea due to engine-failure. The pilot, Lt. Peer "Doc" Donkerbroek (29) ejected safely. It happened during the aircraft's fourth and last run at the range. During this attack the pilot used his M61 cannon which suddenly failed at the end of the salvo. Shortly afterwards some explosions were heard by the pilot followed by heavy vibrations and de-accelerating of the aircraft caused by an engine stall. Two times the pilot tried to restart the engine which failed and the pilot decided to eject. The pilot was rescued out of the 'Waddenzee' sea after 11 minutes while the starfighter desintegrated on a 'sandbank'. Investigation revealed a double-feed problem inside the M61. A new bullet was supplied before the case of the earlier bullet had left the canon-chamber. The new bullet exploded which blew away the door of the gun-compartment. Also some parts of the gun and door entered the engine. The compressor was damaged and caused the engine stall in combination with the 'disturbed' air-stream (caused by the lacking door). The double-feed cause was not found but most of the double-feed problems are caused by not correctly created/filled bullet cartridges, 'wear and tear' of the cartridge feed-system or a combination of both problems. All remains were brought over to the island (Vlieland) by Dutch Navy Lynx helicopter and were transported to Gilze Rijen Air Base for investigation. As mitigation all Dutch Starfighters received a modified M61-feeder to avoid any issues again. Beneath photo showing the recovery of parts of the aircraft on the island (thanks to Dirk Bruin) and some newspapers articles thanks to Jeroen Jonkers. (note that this day two F-104 accidents occurred which both were mentioned). Finally a photo of D-8047 when it still flew around, taken on 2 June 1978 while visiting Leeuwarden Air Base (Harry Prins).
1 December 1981 F-104G D-8133 306sq KLu written off pilot ok
This Dutch RF-104G flown by Lt Robert Jan Willekens (24) flew with a collegue Capt. Geertjan Stoop a recce mission above the North German area. The mission was to take pictures by Orpheus of specific SAM-sites. All went fine until during flying back to Volkel the D-8133 encountered a bird strike at 300 meters, 50 kilometers East of Delfzijl. The bird, an eiderduck, hit the right inlet cone resulting in the creation of a big hole between the inlet and the fuselage. A white smoke stripe-track coming from the gap indicated also a damaged fuel system but the pilot noticed on his instruments there was no abnormal fuel dissipation going on. Also no burning red 'fire' indication lights were burning and the pilot decided to make an emergency landing at Jever Air Base. This landing went fine initially however half way the runway the F-104 suddenly caught fire near the right inlet. When he selected the drag chute it refused to deploy and the pilot selected the hook. After stopped 'roughly' by the barrier-cable a bulk of fuel went out of the hole and exploded. The pilot opened the canopy to leave the aircraft as soon as possible. However his F-104 was burning heavy so he closed it again. Then he blew the canopy away to create a way to leave the aircraft at the other side. The pilot was okay although he suffered some 2nd degree burn-wounds. The aircraft burned out completely at the right side and was written off. It was transported to Volkel by truck and it went to the LETS (Air Force Technical School), after the examination. After the school was closed the aircraft remains were scrapped.
Photos beneath show the aircraft at the runway of Volkel in October 1977 (by Henk Schakelaar), newspaper articles (thanks to Jeroen Jonkers), the aircraft on the runway of Jever after the fire and finally some photos taken in a hangar at Jever by crewchief Geurt van den Brink showing the aircraft being dismantled for transport back to Holland.
11 December 1981 CF-104 104705 AETE CAF written off pilot ok
A flight of two CF104 aircraft departed Cold Lake on a routine low level navigation mission with the accident aircraft, number two, flying in tactical formation. The mission progressed normally until the flight crossed the surface of a large frozen lake. Sky, cloud, snow and ice conditions were perfect for a classic case of whiteout, and the lead pilot made an R/T all for number two to “watch for whiteout”. Number two made a positive check of his altitude above the lake surface by placing the lead aircraft slightly below the horizon. Shortly thereafter inadvertent contact was made with the ice surface that substantially damaged the underside of the aircraft. This was 14 NM North of home base Cold Lake. The pilot, Maj. G.W. Nicks, was able to fly the aircraft off the ice, gain altitude, and return to base. The pilot was only able to get two wheels down – right main was held up by a piece of fuselage skin folded over the gear door. All attempts to open the door proved fruitless and the pilot carried out a successful controlled ejection. This accident clearly demonstrates the potentially disastrous effects of whiteout. It is not necessary to understand how your eyes are being tricked but only that they are, and that if corrective action is not taken you are courting disaster.  Immediate conversion to instruments for partial or full attitude and altitude reference is absolutely essential. As in vertigo-inducing conditions the only reliable references available to the pilot are his instruments, and conscious effort must be made to ignore deceptive visual cues. Further, if whiteout occurs while in low level flight, move it up!  Beneath an AETE photo showing the aircraft during a test flight.
104705 CF-104 705 BL-755_Enzo Maio


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