United States Navy

VFA-151

F3H-2N Demon

 BuNo.145265

3rd March 1960

LTJG Allan G. Anderson
 

 

 22 year old US Naval LTJG Andy Anderson was pilot of an F3H Demon on a routine training mission. After this flight his Flying Log recorded one more take off than landing.

Andy explains,

"My call sign was Switchbox 5; I was based at Moffett NAS, Ejection altitude was aprox. 18,000í, the aircraft was inverted. I landed about 2 miles from the crash site which was US highway 101 5 miles south of Gilroy, Calif. I landed in a farmerís field. The airplane destroyed about half of the southbound lanes of the highway, which was and is the major freeway between Los Angeles and San Francisco. It was noticed, that is for sure. The weather was CAFU, a beautiful day, until then.

It was peacetime except I was flying what was called an augmentation flight. That is we were playing war games. The USAF was flying faker flights as the bad guys and we were to intercept them, which was normally an AF mission, thatís where the augmentation creeps in. I had been assigned a target and had in fact locked on to it when the Wind Screen blew out and the engine possibly ingested a part of it.

I lost control of the airplane and initiated the ejection myself. On the old McDonnell seat the canopy was jettisoned first. There was much tumbling until seat separation and then I was able to stabilize, up side down. I was about to roll over when the parachute opened, right between my legs, quite a shock. I weighed 140lbs and ripped 3 gores apart when it snapped open. Almost lost my most important parts! I also tore part of an ear when a shroud line came up under my helmet. Actually I was not hurt (much) it just added to the humor. Oh, did I fail to mention that I launched alone as my flight leader had accidentally popped his May West life jacket while strapped in tight. The poor guy could barley talk on the radio.

 

 I did experience time seeming to slow and had total recall of the instructor voice telling us how this was to be done properly. That is when I started thinking that an upside down opening of a backpack parachute was probably not a good idea.

No out of body experience until I saw where the airplane had crashed. I knew that I had killed some folks for sure.

God was watching out for me, and a lot of others that day. The building across the highway was and is a winery and flying sod and aircraft parts destroyed part of the roof. The building to the north (left) of the Winery was temporary housing for migrant workers. In one unit 3 people were sitting at a table eating their lunch. A piece of sod came thru the roof, drove the table into the floor. Not one person even had a scratch. A driver headed north had every window turned to milk glass from the force of the aircrafts impact. The Navy never did recover the engine. They dug down over 35í and still did not find it. The highway folks put a stop to the digging.

 

 

 


                                                                           via Allan Anderson
LTJG Allan Anderson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

".   .   .   I was told by a Cdr. From the Navy safety center that I wrecked the airplane better than any he had seen."

[See the photo below]

 


page last updated
Friday, 14 December 2007 18:24