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F-106 "CornField Bomber"

Discussion in 'Shiny Things' started by claude74, Mar 30, 2009.

  1. claude74

    claude74 2 Girls, 4 Tities!

    Feb 6, 2008
    Ground Zero, CO
    58-0787 lands Pilot-less in a field in Montana

    F-106A 58-0787 of the 71st FIS landed without a pilot in a field in Montana on 2 Feb 1970 after pilot Captain Gary Faust ejected. The tail markings belonged to the 71st FIS out of Malmstrom AFB at the time of the landing, however the 71st FIS was later changed to the 319th FIS, Malmstrom. Retired Colonel Wolford (Major at the time) was the Chief of Maintenance at the 71st FIS at the time. His name was stenciled on on the side of 58-0787 as the pilot, however, Major Wolford wasn't flying the bird at the time of the incident.
    <table id="table2" width="99%" border="0" cellpadding="2"> <tbody> <tr> <td valign="top" width="225">[​IMG] 58-0787 sits in a Montana field after landing without pilot Capt Gary Faust</td> <td valign="top">[​IMG]58-0787 after landing without pilot Capt Gary Faust</td> <td valign="top" width="228">[​IMG]58-0787 after landing without pilot Capt Gary Faust</td> <td valign="top" width="202">[​IMG]58-0787 after landing without pilot Capt Gary Faust</td></tr> <tr> <td valign="top" width="225">[​IMG]58-0787 after landing without pilot Capt Gary Faust</td> <td valign="top">[​IMG]58-0787 after landing without pilot Capt Gary Faust</td> <td valign="top" width="228">[​IMG]58-0787 after landing without pilot Capt Gary Faust</td> <td valign="top" width="202">[​IMG]Doesn't look bad post ejection</td></tr> <tr> <td valign="top" width="225">[​IMG]Underside damage as seen after the depot team from SMALC put it back on its gears</td> <td valign="top">[​IMG]Back on her gears again</td> <td valign="top" width="228"> </td> <td valign="top" width="202">[​IMG]Article from Mohawk Flyer, 10 March 1978 (submitted by Bill Chapman, 15 Oct 2000)</td></tr></tbody></table> Account by Col Wolford

    Three F-106s were on a ACM (Air Combat Maneuvers) that day when 58-0787 went into a flat spin and according to procedures Captain Gary Faust bailed out at 15K feet. One of the accompanying F-106 pilots, IP Major Jimmy Lowe, observed the ejection and also observed 58-0787 straighten out right after ejection and reportedly transmitted "Gary - you'd better get back in it!". Major Wolford got a call from the sheriff about an airplane sitting in a field with the engine running and wanted to know how to shut it off. The sheriff was advised to just let it run out of fuel. The plane was resting gear up, engine running, on a small amount of snow, with a slight downhill grade and as the snow melted under the aircraft, it would creep forward some, which had the sheriff rather excited.
    A depot team from Sacramento Logistics Center, McClellan AFB later came in, took the wings off, put everything on a railroad flatcar (a railroad set of tracks was conveniently located about a mile from the landing site), and shipped it to McClellan AFB, CA where it was repaired. Colonel Wolford said he'd like to have flown it out of there but after the aircraft was lifted up, the under side damage was greater than thought. The Stable Table had exited the bottom through the 05 panel area and crunched its way back to the rear of the plane ruining the armament bay doors. The wings were in perfect shape.
    Account of the incident by the other IP pilot on the flight, Tom Curtis

    "I was the other IP in that flight. The mission was a 2V 2 ACT training flight. My wing man, Larry Mc Bride, aborted when his drag chute deployed on the ramp prior to take off. So it turned out to be a 2V 1, me being the one [Tom Curtis].

    We took off as a flight of three. Gary Foust was leading with Jim Lowe in the chase position. We then split up I went to one end of the training air
    space and they proceeded to the other end of the air space. We had about a twenty mile separation. The controllers turned us into each other so we passed head on with a thousand feet separation. The ROE (rules of engagement) were we had to pass head on with no tactical advantage to either flight. After passing the fight was on. The object was to gain a tactical advantage on the opponent and maneuver in to valid firing position. After landing we would review the film and try to reconstruct the engagement. Of course, this was a big ego thing. who was the winner etc.

    I figured I could handle Gary pretty easy but I did not trust Jimmy. I figured he would probably break off and come after me. With this thought in
    mind, I came at them in full afterburner I was doing 1.90 mach when we passed. I took them straight up at about 38,000 ft. We got into a vertical
    rolling scissors. I gave him a high G rudder reversal. He tried to stay with me, that's when he lost it. He got into a post stall gyration. This happens
    just prior to a stall. The aircraft violently rolls left and right and sometimes swaps ends, a very violent maneuver. His recovery attempt was
    unsucceful and the aircraft stalled and went into a flat spin which is usually unrecoverable.

    The aircraft looked like the pitot tube was stationary with the aircraft rotating around it. Very flat and rotating quite slowly. Well,. Gary rode it
    down to about 15,000 feet. All this time Jimmy Lowe was giving the spin recovery procedures. Part of the spin recovery procedures is to actuate the take off trim button. This trims all the control surfaces to a take off setting, which is a bout the same as for landing. So when Gary ejected the
    aircraft was trimmed wings level for about 175 knots a very nice glide setting.

    When he ejected the aircraft straightened out and glided toward a perfect landing. I couldn't believe it ! Jimmy sez "get back in there."
    The aircraft landed in a snow covered field and Gary landed in the mountains. This was in February in Montana. Our concern was Gary's safety.
    However, the Indians got him out ok on their snow mobiles. The sheriff climbed upon the wing of the aircraft, engine still running and the radar
    still sweeping. when the air craft started to slid forward a bit he got down off the wing. He said when the rotating beacon went off he figured the
    engine ran out of fuel.

    Pat, this has been a long story but an experience I will never forget. There are people who don't believe it." (Tom Curtis, 26 Jan 2005)
    58-0787, The Famous "Cornfield Bomber" as told by F-106 Forums member 'Viper Pilot', 18 March 2009

    In 1970, while assigned to the71st FIS at Malmstrom AFB, Montana, its pilot ejected during an inflight emergency. The pilot somehow got himself in a flat spin -- this is considered generally unrecoverable in an F-106 and the book says to get out.

    After the pilot did just that, 58-0787 recovered itself from this unrecoverable position. In a vain attempt to recover, the pilot had trimmed it to takeoff trim and engine throttle back. After it recovered itself, it flew wings-level to the ground and made a near-perfect belly landing in a farmer's snow-covered field.

    When the local sheriff arrived on the scene, the engine was still running. On a slight incline, the F-106 would move slightly as the snow under it melted which got the sheriff quite energized. See the attached photos.

    A depot team from McClellan AFB recovered the aircraft and it was eventually returned to service. When the 71st FIS was disbanded in 1971, 58-0787 went to the 49th FIS, my first squadron. Some considered it a lucky ship, others a jinx ship. We all referred to it as the "Cornfield Bomber".

    We would occasionally run into ex-71st FIS guys at William Tell and ragged them unmercifully about the "emergency" so dire the plane landed itself. 58-0787 is in its 49th FIS markings at the USAF Museum and I have been to see this old friend several times. As pleased as I am to see the 49th FIS Eagle immortalized for millions to see, a part of me wishes they would paint one side in 71st FIS markings to ensure visitors know it wasn't the 49th that abandoned this perfectly good airplane.

    E-Mail from my father:
    "When your Mother and I lived in Great Falls, Montana in the 70"s I was in the 71st FIS. One Saturday in February 1970 I got called out to be on an investigative team. My job was to pull Hydraulic Samples, filters and various flight control parts. When we got to Box Elder, Montana this is what we found about 40 yards from the highway fence. Couldn't believe it when I found this on the WEB."
    I remember him telling me this story some years ago but when he sent this email today, I thought I would share the story with y'all FF's!
  2. Klay

    Klay dreaming adventurer Super Supporter

    Nov 19, 2005
    right here on my thermarest
    That's remarkable.
  3. Makalu

    Makalu Long timer

    Oct 29, 2003
    Event horizon
    :eek1 Sounds like an episode of Twilight Zone.
  4. Venteuri

    Venteuri I don't give a shit

    Sep 3, 2007
    Queretaro , Mexico
  5. Bongolia

    Bongolia stop acting

    Feb 16, 2007
    on thin ice
    Thanks, I enjoyed the post
  6. Mav

    Mav Something witty...

    Sep 17, 2006
    Awesome story :clap

    I love this bit, you can imagine the shit you'd get:

  7. Schlug

    Schlug JockeyfullofBourbon

    Jan 23, 2006
    put something on and stay in that position.
    tremendous post! appreciate it.

    anyone know whethe this is one in which the canopy is shattered or the canopy is ejected?

    it almost looks as if there is shattered material in the bottom of the cockpit.
    i don't think i would love having explosive cord embedded in my canopy.

    just sayin'
  8. blake716

    blake716 nine toes

    Nov 5, 2008
    Baton Rouge, La.
    Great post.

    Cool story.:thumb
  9. El Guero

    El Guero Long timer

    May 8, 2007
    "Major Wolford got a call from the sheriff about an airplane sitting in a field with the engine running and wanted to know how to shut it off."

    Gotta love them good ol' boys. I know if I found a running bomber jet in a field, I'd stay the hell away from it :lol3 It's just how I imagine it'd be if my Grandpa had found a plane.
  10. Squelch

    Squelch Everyday People Supporter

    Oct 27, 2005
    Austin, TX
    Awesome story, thanks for posting that! :D
  11. Big Red One

    Big Red One If yer gonna be one...

    Mar 21, 2006
    Helena, Montana
    In case anyone is interested, that plane is now on display at the Air Force Museum at Wright-Patterson AFB in Dayton, OH.
  12. Motor31

    Motor31 Long timer

    Nov 29, 2006
    Wherever we park - full time RV'ers
    The farmer should have been able to keep the plane. The Pilot kind abandoned it, so finder keepers.....:wink:
  13. bigsteve950adv

    bigsteve950adv White Trash Adventurer

    Feb 15, 2007
    Merthyr Tydfil...South Wales.

    Great story,thank you :thumb
  14. Ray of Sunshine

    Ray of Sunshine Happy Grrrl

    Feb 14, 2004
    42deg 40' 3"N 73deg 46' 54"W
    Fucking Zoomies. Wait was that the F-106 W flew? Explanes a lot.
  15. STSVPilot

    STSVPilot YAY!

    Sep 28, 2008
    The North Coast
    very cool story...thanks for sharing.

  16. BubbaZanetti

    BubbaZanetti for a corrector life

    Jun 8, 2005
    DC Metro

    i think W was a 102 pilot, the ANG gets all the old junk. they were still flying 106s at my dad's base in 89'.:lol3
  17. sc-razor

    sc-razor Long timer

    May 19, 2008
    NW Arkansas
    Very cool. Thanks!
  18. exwingnut

    exwingnut Entremanure

    Apr 14, 2008
    I guess that this would makes some of the fighter Pilot schtick that it takes a real man to keep the pointy end of those things pointing forward debatable. :D
  19. EvilGenius

    EvilGenius 1.5 Finger Discount

    Apr 7, 2007
    DFW, Texas

    Thanks for sharing!
  20. Electronique

    Electronique Noobmobile

    Feb 26, 2008
    Laurel, Nebraska
    Useless thread number 362.