Project: Get Out and Walk 



Royal Canadian Air Force 3 Wing Zweibrucken

CF-104 Starfighter


11th May 1964

Flt. Lt. Len J. "Speed"  Bentham

                                                                                             via L. J. Bentham



My rudder failure occured at about 200 feet above the ground in France about 30 minutes from 3 wing in Zwiebrucken Germany. There was a very severe yaw to the left and the rudder pedals could be pushed without the normal resistance in either direction without results. The only way direction could be maintained was to introduce about 20 degrees of bank to the right. I gained altitude and flew back to 3 Wing in this attitude. After informing the tower of my problems I made 4 or 5 attempts to land but on each approach I could not hold the centre line and had to go around. Since the rudder pedals gave absolutley no resistance and produced no effect I was afraid I would have no nose wheel steering and no brakes and technical people on the ground could not assure me that they would be available. Since there was a strong crosswind at 3 Wing I decided to try an American base which was not to far away and the runway was more into wind. On my approach to this base I realized I was over a heavily populated area and my fuel was getting very low. Rather than risk a flame-out and still unsure if I could land safely I decided to proceed to the bail-out area which was only a few minutes flying time away and eject.


The ejection went as expected and the aircraft went into the ground vertically with no resulting fire. When the investigating team arrived at the wreckage they found the rudder hydraulic control access panel at eye level and discovered one control rod disconnected giving full power to the opposing rod. A very simple investigation.


                                                               L. J. Bentham ,

31st October 2005