Portsmouth, N.H. – January 30, 1981

Portsmouth, New Hampshire – January 30, 1981

    

FB-111 U.S. Air Force Photo

FB-111
U.S. Air Force Photo

     On January 30, 1981, the United States military was conducting a nationwide readiness exercise dubbed Global Shield ’81.  The aircraft involved in this accident was taking part in that exercise.

     At 2:55 p.m., an FB-111 fighter-bomber (No. 68-0263) assigned to Pease Air Force Base in Portsmouth, was returning to Pease when the aircraft began to violently roll and shake.  The pilot, Captain Peter Carellas, 33, struggled to maintain control, but when the jet fell below 4,000 feet he and the navigator, Major Ronald Reppe, 39, were forced to eject. 

     The aircraft came down in an apartment complex known as Sea Crest Village and exploded.  The burning fuel set one of the apartment buildings on fire.  Three people suffered minor injuries, and 13 families were left homeless.  (The families were given shelter at hotels at Air Force expense.)  

     The crew of the aircraft landed safely about a 1/4 mile away.

     The FB-111 was designed to carry nuclear weapons if necessary, however, at the time of the accident it wasn’t carrying any ordinance.   

     Sources:

     St. Petersburg Independent, “Air Force Plane Crashes Into Apartments”, January 31, 1981

     Nashua Telegraph, “Pilot And navigator Eject Safely; No One Killed Or Seriously Injured”, January 31, 1981

     Lewiston Daily Sun, “F111 Crash Report – Jet Out Of Control, Grew Bailed Out”, May 8, 1981

     Nashua Telegraph, “Pease Crew Lost Fight To Control Plane”, May 8, 1981, Pg. 44

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