Wolfgang Leuthner

Tie Club # 1552

On Aug. 24. 1976 I had switched duty to the No 321 Sq in order to fly some ACT (Air Combat Training) we were doing at that time in order to fullfil our secondary role as Day-Fighter Interceptors. We took off as a pair around 07.30 hrs and did some spirited engagements. I worked as Attacker first and then switched to the Defenders part. In a rather hard-fought engagement I suddenly, without warning, lost control of my Starfighter F-104G and went into the infamous “Pitch-Up”. The airplane tumbled around all possible axes (and, I felt, a few more!), recovery was not possible due to the height-requirements, so there was only one means of getting out alive: your fine product! Everything worked, as advertised and I found myself dangling from a seemingly rather small canopy, while the aircraft already had slammed 8 1/2 meters into the ground.

Being picked up by an accidentally close-by rescue-helicopter, I managed from my homebase Lechfeld to phone my wife about 10 minutes before the crash was reported and so fulfilled a promise I gave her already during my flying training, that I would jump in time and tell her myself about the action.

Thanks to Martin-Baker it became a good and glorious day after all!

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