Accidents – Incidents 2002

4 March 2002 F-104S/ASAM MM6929/4-4 4St/9gr AMI written off pilot ok
This Starfighter, operated by 4Stormo, 9 Gruppo at Grosseto Air Base, crashed after an engine failure due to a fuel-leak. The pilot, Capt Marco Bertoli, could eject in time and was safe. After landing on the ground he was picked up by a base AB-212 helicopter after the airbase received the beacon of the ejection seat. The F-104 crashed into a hill North of Castiglione, between the villages Vetulonia and Buriano, Italy. The aircraft had arrived just recently with 9 Gruppo. The pilot reported “aircraft-on-fire” after take-off from Grosseto. It was the last ejection from a military Starfighter in the history.
2 May 2002 F-104S/ASAM MM6778/9-40 9St/10gr AMI written off pilot ok
This aircraft was lost during a landing accident at Leeuwarden AFB in the early afternoon. It flew as “iglu41” together with “iglu40, 42 and 43” a mission from Florennes AFB within the TLP program. Lt. Andrea Franceschinis flew a TACAN approach (and came out of the heavy clouds rather late and could not avoid smashing the ground rather hard after first hitting the runway with the exhaust nozzle. It broke in two parts and stopped on the runway on the West part of the AFB. It had skidded the runway over around 300 meters. At the end the cockpit area broke in two parts while the pilot was still seated inside his cockpit although he already had initiated the ejection process. Due to this dangerous situation the pilot was carefully cut out of the cockpit to assure that the ejection process would not continue. The pilot was severely injured on its back and was taken to the hospital in Leeuwarden city. Lateron he was brought over to Italy for intensive surgery. The other 3 aircraft could fly to Wittmundhafen and Florennes. Early July 2002 the aircraft could still be found at Leeuwarden AFB. Cause: probably combination of bad visibility (low cloud and some light rain) and the fact that no detailed information on height could be given by the Airbase, the aircraft started its approach to high. First picture beneath was found on internet (photographer please contact us!) the second picture of the wreck somewhere stored at Leeuwarden Air Base was provided by Eddie Elzinga. Radio communications recorded during the accident can be listened here


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