Search Links Mission Statement Contact AAIR
Home Services Getting Involved Order Accident Reports Weekend Courses Books Resources AAIR Database
All captions are above the photos so you will be able to read them first as you scroll down...
 
F-104 Mystery
 
This was one of the first sites I visited when I started wreckchasing. I wanted to go back to get a GPS coordinate on it as I had visited the site before I owned a GPS unit. It is a good idea to take a GPS coordinate of a site because memory is fallible -- I spent most of the day looking for the crash on the wrong mountain! (Hey, it had been 15 years since I had last been there!)
Here's the mystery: is it 1, 2, or 3 F-104s?
 
At the base of the hill there is an impact crater with F-104 parts in and around it:
 
Another view of the crater:
 
There are small parts on the edge of the crater, but...
 
...but the parts are only heavily concentrated at this one spot and then lightly scattered around the crater. I have been to a number of F-104 crashes and while they can create a nice round crater like this, the craters are usually much bigger. A crater of this shape indicates an almost vertical impact, but the small amount of parts found, and only heavy in one small area, do not support this. I think this crater is from a practice bomb.  Several were found in the area (see below) and...
 
...the crater was where they happened to collect the wreckage after dragging it down the hill (see below). There was also a lot of wire cable next to the crater, enough to reach the crash site up on the hill.
 
View from the crater looking up to where the F-104(s) hit in the gully on the left. On the far right there is also a T-6 crash.
 
I think there might be 2 F-104s up there because, while I have an accident report for only one F-104C on this mountain, we found two gatling cannons (see below). The F-104C only had one cannon. Chris B, can you check with your F-104 guys to see if they carried two cannons, maybe one in a pod?
 
Another interesting detail is that while an F-104C is known to have crashed into the mountain, an F-104A mod plate was found at the base of the hill. It is possible the F-104C had a part on it that was salvaged from am F-104A model. Also, the paint on the parts on the hill is mostly white or bare metal, but at the base of the hill, I found some white and olive drab markings:
 
60 or 09 are not part of the serial number. It was 56-905. Chris, do you have any idea what a F-104C of 479TFW would have been painted like? It crashed 26 FEB 60 and I think you have the report.