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NavSource Online: Aircraft Carrier Photo Archive


This photo sequence shows an accident that occurred on USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CVA-42) on October 21, 1961, south of the Dominican Republic. The plane was an F8U-1 Crusader assigned to Fighting Squadron 11 (VF-11), the "Red Rippers," BuNo 145357, modex AB-212, piloted by LT(JG) John T. "Terry" Kryway. In the words of Jim Roberts, a former VF-11 pilot: "it could have happened to any of us flying the Crusader aboard the Roosevelt that day. [...] Terry was a super outstanding pilot. He was a member of the 'Red Rippers' flight demo team [...]"

The photos were taken by PH3 Louis J. Cera, who explains: "[I used] an 8-mm movie camera & a K-20 aerial camera combo made up by our camera repair Chief, C.A. White, PHC. Cameras were rigged with each other, with their own activator buttons, or both could be run at the same time by holding down both buttons. I was stationed on the 06 level and my job was to anticipate any and all possible aircraft crashes."

The sea was rough and as the aircraft approached, the deck dipped. The plane hit hard on the starboard landing gear and the wheel violently bounced up into its well, rupturing the main fuel line; the resulting cloud of fuel can be seen in photo 01. Although the tailhook had caught an arresting wire, the scraping of the bare main strut pulled the nose to a side, imposing an asymmetrical load on the tailhook and ripping it out (as movies taken from the starboard quarter showed.) Dragging the flight deck, the Magnesium strut flamed instantly and the fuel caught fire. With a landing speed of about 125 knots, the Crusader moved at over 200 ft/sec — that is, LT(JG) Kryway had about 3 seconds to see the fire, realize he had flamed out (no power), let go off the controls, reach for the face curtain and pull it 18" to punch out in his Martin-Baker ejection seat (photos 07, 08 and 09 show LT(JG) Kryway in the air; he is just below flight deck level in photo 10, as his pilot chute pulls his parachute open.) He was picked up by a helicopter almost immediately after landing in the sea. He got a small abrasion on his neck from his harness, but that was all. The Crusader went "deep-six."

Special thanks to Chester O. Morris, who located the photographs; to Larry Blumenthal, "US Navy Photos," who put us in touch with Lou Cera; and to Dave Johnson, "The Gunfighter's Site," who put us in touch with "Terry" Kryway.

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Last update: 4 March 2007