F-104F BB+385 WaSLw 10 at Norvenich AB 1962

F-104F, construction number 283-5072, model 483-04-08, US serial number 59-5019, built by Lockheed
manufactured by Lockheed Aircraft Cooperation (LAC), Burbank; first flight 1960 with US serial number "59-5019"
BB+385 shipped to Bremerhaven, Germany on November 8, 1960; by train transport to Messerschmitt-Norvenich
Messerschmitt test flight December 7, 1960; acceptance date February 7, 1961 by BABwMTT in Silver finish colors
WaSLw 10 (OTU Operational Training Unit) delivery date February 7, 1961 at Norvenich AB
crashed June 19, 1962 into an open brown coal-mine at Knapsack near Norvenich during practice show formation
after disorientation of leader when entering cloud deck, pilot was killed, written off; taken off Lw aircraft type roster on August 16, 1962.

copyright © Mühlböck collection

Crashed during demo-exercise into an open brown coal-mine near Bonn killing all pilots of all 4 aircraft of the team.
The aircraft flew into the ground during a steep-dive near Knapsack. The pilots were Capt John Speer (USAF,
team-leader and teacher with WaSLw 10), Olt Bernd Kuebart (ex JaboG 31), Olt Heinz Frye (ex JaboG 34) and
Olt Wolfgang von Stürmer (ex WaSLw 10, Oldenburg). On this day the general repetition was held for the "phase-in"
of the F104G within the JaboG 31 Boelcke at Norvenich under Commander Gerhard Barkhorn.
The highlight of the flying program in front of a number of high rank officers and politicians would be a 4-ship F-104F formation demonstration
by 4 Staffel WaSLw 10. As trained often before, the 4 aircraft started in a "finger-tip-formation" although the runway of Norvenich was not very wide. But without tip tanks it was
no problem. Both first flown figures were executed perfectly. Major Tom Perfili (USAF teacher team) did some solo flights during the moments the team was out of sight.
Then in the east direction, some 8 km away, a lot of smoke was seen and a few minutes later it was clear that the German Air Force lost 4 aircraft with 4 of their best pilots.
To achieve a way for getting back to the runway/demo area faster for the next figure, John Speer decided to make a 180 degree turn by cutting a small cumulus-cloud in a
steep diamond formation. But he overturned the aircraft that much that for all 4 aircraft no possibility could be found to recover because they flew vertical towards the ground
out of the cloud. This is what happened following all of the eye-witnesses on the ground. Also the investigation found out the same cause of the accident after they had little
thoughts about a mid-air collision. Wolfgang von Stürmer, flying in the aft-position "slot" of the formation had the best overview and tried to recover from the overturn in which he failed.