VFP-62 Pilot LT Julian Baucom Ejects from RF8
VFP-62 pilot Rod Rogers Records the Event with a RF8
[Webmaster's Note: Permission was granted from Dr. Rod Rogers to reproduce the text and photos of this accident. See his website for other interesting RF8 photos:Rodney O. Rogers, Ph.D. Professor of Aeronautical Science
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Daytona Beach, FL 32114 and VFP-62 pilot who shot these pictures with the cameras of his RF8]
In Spring 1964, Lt. Julian Baucom was flying an RF8A off USS Forrestal in the Virginia Capes area. On returning to the ship after a routine mission, he found he was unable to raise the variable incidence wing for landing. In accordance with NATOPS, Lt. Baucom was diverted to NAS Oceana for a field arrested landing. The LSO at Oceana was Lt. Norm Gandia of VF33, who later became a Blue Angel during the era when the team flew the Grumman F11 Tiger, perhaps the handsomest jet fighter ever built, though not a success in the fleet.
When the RF8 engaged the midfield arresting gear, the cable parted and wrapped around the main landing gear mounts, severing the shock struts on both sides. A successful go-around followed after the main mounts retracted into the gear wells. The arresting hook was torn from the aircraft and remained on the runway. Subsequent inspection by an airborne squadron mate (Rod Rogers in another RF8) revealed that a controlled ejection was indicated.
At 7000' in a designated ejection area, Lt. Rogers was on Lt. Baucom's wing with camera's rolling when Baucom secured the engine (photo 1) and left his disabled aircraft. The photos below show the canopy leaving the aircraft, Lt. Baucom emerging (photos 2 & 3), and drogue and stabilizer chutes deploying (photo 6). An uneventful nylon descent and ground landing were followed by a very unusual helocopter pickup.
The rescue helo crashed on the way back to Oceana. Fortunately, no one was injured in either crash. Lt. Baucom ultimately became an airline pilot. Rogers became a college teacher and flew F8s in the Reserves, where he was recalled for about a year when the USS Pueblo was seized in 1968 during the Vietnamese War. Norm Gandia became a test pilot for Grumman (per Bill Casey).
The photos below were scanned from an article about this accident in the May 1965 Approach Magazine. The original photos were shot by Lt. Rogers and were part of the official AAR prepared after an investigation of the accident.
Arrows indicate the missing tail hook and the damaged landing struts
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Created on ... May 22, 2008