F-104G Starfighter s/n 63-13259:
Pilot: Luftwaffe Lt. Guenter Wuttke
This fighter crashed on the Goldwater Bombing Range 27 May 1966 after a loss of oil pressure and engine failure. The West German pilot ejected safely. You need a permit to hike out here.
We had done vast amounts of background work on this crash, including even ordering satellite photos of the area to look for wreckage. We attempted to locate the pilot through the International F-104 Society with no luck.
From home we finally plotted a best guess coordinate on a hill that matched all the particulars of the accident report perfectly.
It turned out that our guessed coordinate was a mile off…
When we got to the setting off point, we glassed all the surrounding mountains with good, high-power binoculars before putting on our packs and heading out from the truck. We immediately spotted something very shiny on a mountain about 2 miles off.
It turned out to be some tip-tank fins off this very Starfighter crash.
We headed at an angle towards our guessed coordinate and the Shiny Thing we’d seen in the binos.
As we got closer we knew it was a crash site because we saw some more manmade anomalies.
If we had not spotted those tip-tanks we probably would not have found this crash site because we would’ve headed to the wrong area, a mile distant.
This trip was a doozy because we also found the ejection seat about a mile and a half from the impact crater. And the pilot’s survival kit.