Today in History – June 8, 1966 – F-104N Starfighter and XB-70A-2 Valkyrie, in mid-air collision

North American XB-70A Valkyrie just after collision. Note the F-104 is at the forward edge of the fireball and most of both XB-70A vertical stabilizers are gone. (U.S. Air Force photo)

On June 8, 1966, during a publicity photo formation, an F-104N Starfighter (N813NA) flown by NASA Chief Research Test Pilot Joseph A. Walker, was caught in the wingtip vortices of the North American Aviation XB-70A-2 Valkyrie, 62-0207.

The Starfighter rolled up and across the Valkyrie. The two airplanes collided, with the F-104 taking off the Valkyrie’s vertical fins, then exploding. The Valkyrie continued to fly straight and level for 16 seconds before it began to roll inverted. The B-70’s pilot, Alvin S. White, was able to eject, though he was severely injured. Joe Walker and B-70 co-pilot Major Carl S. Cross, United States Air Force were killed.

Source: This Day in Aviation History by Bryan R. Swopes.

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