F-105 Losses, George AFB 1978

1978 was a bad year for the Thud drivers at George AFB.  It was said you could go down to Thud Ops and watch pilots push each out of the door.

Pilot A: “You fly the Bitch!” [shove]

Pilot B: “Oh Hell no! I flew this morning. You fly the Bitch!” [shove]

The truth was by 1978 the F-105G was getting long in the tooth.  They had patches on the patches that fixed wing cracks.  The sheet metal shop and hung a huge sign.

I became involved when I volunteered to help the Thud guys transition into the F-4G Advanced Wild Weasel.  I was in the 563rd so we had fewer F-105’s and didn’t lose one while I was there.

 

3/2/1978

SN 63-8321 Pt Mugu, CA TACAN 043/11

Lost instruments in low clouds

Pilot: Maj. Charles T. Fulop Killed

EWO: Capt. William A. Stone  Ejected

561 TFS

NARRATIVE

Call sign “Thud 71” was on a routine instrument training mission, shooting approaches at NAS Point Magu, California.  On the return to George AFB, CA they were in heavy clouds.  At this point they suffered a failure of the primary attitude indicator.  This was followed shortly by the failure of the secondary attitude indicator.  Major Fulop initiated a climb to get above the clouds.  During this manuver, the aircraft lost all electrical power.

“Thud 71” exited the cloud  base at approximatly 1000 feet.  Inverted.  Captain Stone in the back seat then saw the violent side to side motion of the control stick.  Recognizing it as the comm out ejection order he ejected.

Finding himself over a densely populated area, Major Fulop elected to stay with the aircraft.  He was killed when the aircraft crashed in a wooded area near Newbury Park, CA.  Prior to the arrival of the Crash Response Team, his body was looted of his helmet.  Live 200mm cannon ammunition was also taken.

This is the story told to us at George AFB in a mass briefing by the 35th TFW Safety Officer.

4/20/1978

SN 63-8340  1962′ from end of Runway 21, George AFB

Aborted Takeoff

Pilot: Capt. John A Comstock

EWO: 1Lt Christopher C. Soto

Successful Ground Egress

 

562 TFS

NARRATIVE

I personally witnessed this mishap.  As the aircraft rotated, the whole ass end burst into flame.  This was followed by a massive explosion at the departure end of runway 21.  The F-105 had punched a hole in the perimeter fence.  the fire trucks chasing it punched two more holes.

 

Meanwhile, in the cockpit Lt. Soto in the back seat (this was his familiarization  flight) was waiting for the front canopy to open or be blown away.  If he opened his own canopy first, the flames would suck down into his cockpit.  This wouldn’t be a good thing.  The front canopy began to rise and Soto got the fuck out. He turned back to see what Captain Comstock was doing and saw him semi-conscious.  He had banged his head on the instrument panel.  Soto returned to the aircraft, pulling Comstock from the cockpit.  The aircraft then exploded.

Soto was awarded the Daedalian trophy for this action.

 

6/14/1978

63-8334   12 m from George AFB CA

Flameout high final

Pilot: Capt. John A. Comstock

EWO: Capt. William C. Knight

Ejected

562 TFS

NARRATIVE

Don’t know much about this mishap.  The pilots were kinda jumpy by this time.  The engine flamed out and the ejected.

 

 

9/1/1978

63-8263   George AFB TACAN 007/104, CA

Centerline tank hit A/C, Lost control

Pilot: Capt. Eddie M. Graham

EWO: Capt.  Frank S. Hartman

Ejected 562 TFS

NARRATIVE

Yeah the tank just fell off.  The Thud was prone to this.  In this mishap, the tank took the stab right off.  The crew got the fuck out.  Then Murphy grabbed them by the balls.  Neither seat locator beeper worked.  One injured his back in ejection, the other broke his leg on landing.  They crawled together and huddled in desert waiting for rescue.  Back at George, pairs of F-4’s took off at intervals going out to look for them.  They were found the next day.  Shaken but not stirred.

 

5/17/1979

63-8350  42 NNE China Lake, CA

Flight Control Failure

Pilot: Capt. William L. Carroll JR Killed

EWO: Capt. Michael R. Carlson Ejected

562 TFS

NARRATIVE

On 5/15/79, a flight of three F-105Gs departed George AFB, California on a local training mission. The mission, second of the day for the six flight crew members, was to include Low Level Training and Air Combat Tactics. After completion of the Low Level Training, the flight climbed to medium altitude and set up for the briefed Air Combat Tactics engagement. Number one, the mishap aircraft, was attacked by number two and maneuvered to the six o’clock position of the attacker. As he slid behind the attacker the aircraft rolled off and entered a steep driving spiral. Both crew members ejected. The Electronics Warfare Officer, Capt. Michael R. Carison successfully ejected, but suffered major injury upon landing in rugged terrain. The pilot, Capt. Will H. Carroll Jr. ejected but was fatally injured on ground impact. The aircraft was destroyed on impact with the desert floor.

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