The Strange But True Story Of The Cornfield Bomber

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AVweb blogger Paul Berge recently observed--only half in jest--that an airplane would land itself if left unattended. It has happened, as this AVweb classic video shows. The incident, which occurred in 1970, has become known as the Cornfield Bomber. After the pilot ejected because he couldn't recover from a flat spin, the airplane righted itself and landed in a cornfield. It was recovered, repaired and flew again. This video details one of the most bizarre incidents in aviation history. 

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Comments (7)

An interesting part not mentioned in this story is one of the onlookers watching the jet inch forward under power was the local sheriff. He wanted to know how to shut the thing off, and received instructions and stuck his head in the cockpit and shut it off.

Another self landing incident happened around Denver years back involving a Cessna 400 series twin that had run into a severe hailstorm. The hail broke the windows and pummeled the passengers unconscious. The battered occupants woke up after the equally battered but intact plane landed itself in a similar manner as the cornfield bomber. I don't remember what their ultimate condition was, but I don't believe any fatalities.

Posted by: George Welch | September 10, 2018 11:33 AM    Report this comment

According to the National Museum of the USAF website, this F-106 is on display at the main facility near Dayton OH.

Posted by: Robert Mahoney | September 10, 2018 12:40 PM    Report this comment

This story reminded me of a similar story. The 'Lady Be Good', a B-24 landing pilot less in Libya during WWII.


Posted by: alain Pautard | September 10, 2018 4:16 PM    Report this comment

Per the National Museum of the USAF web site, this aircraft is on display there.

Posted by: Robert Mahoney | September 11, 2018 11:43 AM    Report this comment

On display at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, Dayton Ohio

Posted by: Mark Swinford | September 11, 2018 3:31 PM    Report this comment

As noted in the video, the F-106 set a world speed record for a single engine aircraft of 1526 mph in 1959. That record still stands after 59 years. The Soviets claimed that their experimental Ye-152-1 exceeded that speed in 1962, but the FAI did not accept it because the attempt was not sanctioned nor monitored.

Posted by: Theodore Spitzmiller | September 26, 2018 9:28 AM    Report this comment

" the local sheriff. He wanted to know how to shut the thing off, and received instructions and stuck his head in the cockpit and shut it off." I remember the story differently - that they were told to just leave the engine running. If the engine was at full power, there is a serious risk of being anywhere near the engine intake, that a person could be sucked in. I checked Wikipedia and they reported the story this way:
Wikipedia: Shortly thereafter the local sheriff and local residents arrived at the scene of the crash. The thrust from the still-idling jet engine allowed the aircraft to slowly drift on its belly along a field. The sheriff, having contacted the air base, was informed that he should simply allow the jet to run out of fuel, which occurred an hour and forty-five minutes later without further incident."

Posted by: Unknown | September 26, 2018 11:58 AM    Report this comment

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