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Posts: 54
Northrop F-5E Tiger II of the 405th Tactical Training Wing (Luke), 425th Tactical Fighter Training Squadron, Williams AFB, AZ. Canopy only sitting in the desert. Deployed K-9 came across it while tracking illegals. 1402 appears to still exist, so the canopy had to have been jettisoned, either intentionally or unintentionally, but the circumstances behind that is unknown.

The name on the canopy, Capt Gimborys, is Pete Gimborys, formerly of the 425th TFTS and a former F-16 pilot, a soon to be retiring airline pilot. According to friends of his that are part of an ex-Fighter pilots social media group I’m a member of, he had left the 425th to a follow-on assignment and doesn’t recall any incident with 1402 during his time there. So the reasons for the canopy being on the ground in the desert here, is still unknown. Overall in good shape, for having fallen to earth from whatever altitude, aside from the shattered plexiglass.

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Posts: 54
In the last 4 years of its existence with F-5s 1985-1989, the 425th TFTS lost 4 F-5s to accidents, a few that I can recall: 2 E model and 2 F-model two-seaters. The E model was a Mexican AF student who stalled in the final turn to RW 30R at Willie, fatally impacting the ground short of the runway, a common accident sequence in the F-5/T-38 series when improperly flying the final turn. The Mexican student had previously flown T-33s and may have been using techniques suited to that straight wing jet, vice the nearly no-wing of the F-5.

One F model was lost on North TAC range during a surface uattack tactics mission when they were jumped by red air. The Saudi student and USAF instructor executed a low altitude defensive turn. The dorsal fuselage longeron failed just aft of the rear cockpit, breaking the jet in half. Neither pilot attempted ejection and were killed, speculation being that the instantaneous G onset rendered both instantly unconscious. The programmed longeron inspections missed about 6 or so inches of fuselage plug behind the rear cockpit where the former E model had been converted to an F. It was found that the 4 foot fuselage plug added to the added to the Es to make the F had no beefing up of the longerons.. The extra stress caused from the longer bending moment, caused cracks in the exact 6 inch area that was missed in airframe inspections. The F models were grounded until a more robust dorsal longeron sleeve could be added.

An E model was on takeoff roll from Tyndall AFB, FL when the centerline external fuel tank failed to seal, spraying jet fuel all over the underside of the jet which subsequently ignited as the pilot was getting airborne. USAF instructor pilot ejected but did not survive.

Another F model was in the pattern at Willie when wire chafing caused the main fuel control unit to close, flaming out both engines. Saudi student and USAF instructor successfully bailed out from that jet.


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We all want to know, was the canopy recovered or left in the desert? Was the location GPS marked?

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Posts: 324
Here is a F-5E canopy I came across years ago in southern Arizona while searching for yet another F-5 midair. Always nice to come upon a 'new' crash while searching for another.  This F-5E was also from the 425th out of Willy, and crashed in the early 80's.


Posts: 465
Here is another canopy story.  I was riding my Quad in the desert about 2 miles off the western end of the Mojave airport runway.  This was about 6 or 7 years ago.  I found a badly damaged canopy for a apparent Mig jet.  I say apparent Mig jet because of the weird bluish color on its inside.  I left it in place where I found it.  But sometime later Dave Trojan asked me to relocated it so he could go have a look.  I went back and searched the whole area again but could not find it.  It may still be there and I was just looking in the wrong area.  Does anyone know of any Mig accidents at the Mojave airport?
Don Jordan
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