Western Maine – November 3, 1959

Western Maine – November 3, 1959

Near Flagstaff Lake    

T-33 Shooting Star - U. S. Air Force Photo

T-33 Shooting Star – U. S. Air Force Photo

On November 3, 1959, two Air Force jets, at T-33 trainer, (51-4499), and a Delta F-102 fighter, (56-1497), were taking part in a radar training mission over western Maine in which the T-33 was to act as an enemy aircraft, and the F-102 was responsible for intercepting it via radar.   At some point near Flagstaff Lake, the F-102 made a mock attack run at the T-33, during which a mid-air collision between the two jets occurred. 

     The F-102 sliced the tail off the T-33 sending it into a downward plunge.  The pilot of the T-33, 2nd Lt. Frederick M. Johnson, 22, managed to eject safely from 30,000 feet.   He dropped to 14,000 feet before deploying his parachute, and came down in a tree.  Because of near total darkness, he had no idea how high the tree was, so he remained there for the night before climbing down at first light and hiking to a logging camp.      

F-102A Delta Dart - U.S. Air Force Photo

F-102A Delta Dart – U.S. Air Force Photo

     The second man aboard the T-33, was 1st Lt. Alfred Williams, 26, of Manchester, Connecticut.  He also ejected safely, but became entangled in his parachute lines and was killed when he landed head-first on the north side of Bigelow Mountain at the 1,500 foot level.   

     The partially opened parachute of the F-102 pilot, 1st Lt. Gary N. Sugar, 24, of Seattle, Washington, was located about fifteen miles from where Lt. Williams was discovered, but his body has never been found. 

     On February 27, 1979, a 54-year-old man from Stratton, Maine, was on an ice fishing trip at Flagstaff Lake when he noticed what appeared to be aircraft landing gear protruding from the muck of the lakebed.  The water level was unusually low at the time which explains why the discovery hadn’t been made earlier.  Navy divers were sent to investigate to see if the aircraft was still intact and if it contained the body of Lt. Sugar.                   

     The F-102 was armed with six Falcon missiles, and 24 rockets. 


     Woonsocket Call, “Airman Okay In Collision; 1 dead, 1 Lost”, November 4, 1959, Pg. 9    

     Woonsocket Call, “2 AF Planes Crash; Find 1 Airman, 2 Lost.” November 5, 1959, Pg. 18

     The Hour, (Norwalk, CT.) “Plane Wreckage Found Near Lake Believed To Be From 1959 Crash”, February 27, 1979, Pg. 26.

     Website – www.ejection-history.org

     Wikipedia – Flagstaff Lake Maine




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