Aircraft Wrecks in the Mountains and Deserts of the American West

May 5, 1956


On May 5, 1956, Lt. Harold D. Case took off from NAS Fallon, NV, in North American FJ-3 BuNo 135911 at 11 a.m.  Lt. Case was stationed at Moffett Field, CA, but had been temporarily assigned to Fallon for air-to-air gunnery training.  He was the leader of a flight of five aircraft flying over the Black Rock Desert Gunnery Range that morning.  After his sixth pass on the towed target, he felt a jolt and vibration as his engine failed at 20,000 ft.  Lt. Case attempted to reach a nearby road for an emergency landing, but the engine continued to lose power and he was forced to eject at 7500 ft.  He experienced considerable difficulty separating from the ejection seat, and finally deployed his parachute very close to the ground.  He landed near the burning FJ-3, suffering a sprained knee and minor cuts and bruises.  A helicopter from Fallon picked him up a short time later.

During his Navy career, Lt. Case also flew the F4U, F8F, and F9F-5 aircraft.  He flew aboard the USS Yorktown and USS Boxer, did a three year tour in the South China Sea, and was an instructor at NAS Pensacola,FL, during the Korean War.  Leaving the Navy in 1960, he earned a degree in electrical engineering and worked on instrument displays in the F-14 and Space Shuttle.  Today Harold Case lives in California, and still holds a pilot's license at age 89.

Special thanks to Jim Rowan and Pat Macha for help with locating this site.  Crash site visited 3/26/16.





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