Saturday, September 15, 2012

Fighter Jet Explodes in the Sky Above Bowie Race Track

F-86 Sabre Jet (photo by Jason Lefkowitz)
September 15, 1953 (59 years ago today): An F-86 Sabre Jet with flames shooting out of one of its engines was spotted in the sky above the Bowie Race Track.  The plane was carrying 24 live rockets and secret equipment.

Air Force First Lieutenant Walter T. Fay ejected from the plane.  Fay landed on a farm north of the track in Anne Arundel County.  "He suffered minor scratches and bruises," according to The Washington Post.

The fighter jet exploded on impact in an area described as the "woods off State Route 197, about 1 mile southwest of the track," creating a debris field a quarter mile wide.  Although the description of the location was not meant to be exact, Bowie's Whitehall section is located one mile southwest of the Bowie Race Track.  The Whitehall section was a mixture of woods and farmland in 1953.

An Aberdeen Proving Ground bomb disposal unit assisted in the clean-up effort.

The F-86 Sabre Jet was the most advanced fighter jet of the Korean War era.

The F-86 pictured here can be seen at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Virginia.  The picture was taken by Jason Lefkowitz, and it is shared via the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Rocket-Laden Jet Crashes Near Bowie
The Washington Post
September 16, 1953

F-86 Sabre Jet photo by Jason Lefkowitz
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0) License

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