29 November 1970 – It was a very bad day. For the 3rd time in two days, there was an accident with a U.S. Air Force Fairchild C-123K Provider transport. On November 29th, 3 F-100 pilotS: 1Lt Elmon C. “Mike” Caudill (615TFS), 1Lt Charles Louis Kollenberg (352TFS), and 1Lt Jon Marc King (615TFS) along with
John C. Betz
In May of 1963 while piloting an F-105D, 1Lt John Betz (front seat) and Maj Harvey W. Prosser, Jr.were “pulling off from a radar laydown delivery, an explosion was felt followed by a warning light indicating that their aircraft was overheating. Their afterburner began to light intermittently; shortly thereafter, a fire warning light came on indicating additional difficulty. Both pilots elected to eject and landed in the sea. They were subsequently retrieved by helicopter — neither sustained any injury.”
The official report says: “Takeoff roll was started at 0715I; afterburner light was good and all engine instruments were normal. When the afterburner was disengaged, Major Prosser went under the hood and at 2,000 feet took control of the aircraft for an instrument climb out. Lt Betz contacted the 18th Wing Command Center, gave them their ‘off time’, and switched to refueling frequency. After checking ‘Lanyard and Oxygen’ at 5,000 feet, Lt Betz had visual contact at 15 nautical miles. At this time he took control of the aircraft and Major Prosser came out from under the hood. In order to effect a join-up approximately twenty (20) seconds of afterburner was used. Fuel in the internal tanks was below five thousand pounds. Normal pre-refueling checks were made. Lt Betz’s hook-up was smooth and uneventful and they received an onload of three thousand pounds. Disconnect was accomplished by the boom operator, switches were returned to their normal positions, and a low power descent was started toward Range 178. During the descent the internal fuel read five thousand eight hundred pounds.
“When the rear cockpit had radar control both radar scopes were unusable but when the front cockpit had control both scopes were good. Under these circumstances, Lt Betz would have to make the weapons deliveries from the front seat.
He retained control of the aircraft and took all the control transfer buttons. He contacted the Range Officer at Range 178 for clearance during the descent. The letdown was completed at one thousand feet northeast of the range where he turned final for a 230-degree heading visual laydown. He was cleared, but the pass was dry due to the Bomb Bay Button in the rear cockpit being depressed resulting in an ineffective weapons control transfer.
Another pattern was made for a visual laydown on a 050-degree heading with the discrepancy corrected. The next pattern, a 230 Radar Laydown, was also good.
“BEAK 11 pulled up, retarded the throttle to an estimated 85 – 92% and turned right for a crosswind leg. On
crosswind, wings level and still climbing, a thump, or bump, was felt followed in one to two seconds by the Aft
Overheat Warning Light. Stores were jettisoned, a call was made to the range requesting verification of the fire and a turn initiated toward Kadena. Lt Betz left the throttle at its present setting. This was ‘minimum practical thrust’ considering their present position and distance from Kadena and/ or Ie Shima Island Runways. The Overheat Light was followed almost immediately by the Fire Light. The decision was made to land at Ie Shima Island due to both Warning Lights and the proximity of an adequate runway.
“The Range Officer stated, ‘I do not have you in sight. Jettison stores and head for home.’ They informed the range that they would land at Ie Shima. As they were turning into a wide base leg at approximately five thousand feet and 350 KCAS, Major Prosser noticed that the Fuel Inlet Pressure Light was on and saw the RPM unwind very rapidly. Immediately following this, they felt the afterburner engage although throttles were inboard. There was a definite increase in thrust which terminated in 10 – 15 seconds. Lt Betz stated that the EGT was about 500 degrees centigrade and that other instruments were normal although a thorough gauge by gauge reading is not remembered by either pilot.
As they were turning toward the island, the afterburner disengaged; there was a definite loss of thrust. A large cloud was noted between the aircraft and the runway. Forward and Aft Boost Pump Lights, Stab Aug Light, and several more undetermined lights were now on. To go around the cloud would have put them out of position for landing. In order to land on this approach, they would have to penetrate the cloud or dive under it. This, combined with the cockpit indications and thrust reduction, determined that ejection was required. Both pilots agreed. Lt Betz hit the Bailout Light Switch, confirmed it verbally, and went to Emergency on the IFF/ SIF. Major Prosser ejected, followed immediately by Lt Betz. The entire sequence consumed three to four minutes. Lt Betz had a complete loss of memory from the time he initiated the ejection until he recovered at Camp Kue Army Hospital. The crew of the USAF HH-19 which rescued him stated that he appeared to be in a high state of shock and that on the first two attempts to hoist him into the aircraft, he fell out of the sling. The HH-19 crew chief entered the water with him and secured him to the sling. From this point his rescue was uneventful.”
History of the 18 TFW, Jul – Dec 1964, USAF microfilm MO496 & AF Form 711 USAF Accident/ Incident
Report 64-8-4-1, dated 21 Aug 1964, signed by Capt Donald L. Totten, Investigating Officer.