Accident McDonnell Douglas F-4C Phantom II 63-7416,
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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 254418
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Date:Friday 22 May 1964
Type:Silhouette image of generic F4 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
McDonnell Douglas F-4C Phantom II
Owner/operator:4453rd CCTSqn /4432nd CCTWg USAF
Registration: 63-7416
MSN: 346
Fatalities:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Location:Avon Park Bombing Range, Lake Wales, Polk County, Florida -   United States of America
Phase: Manoeuvring (airshow, firefighting, ag.ops.)
Departure airport:McDill AFB, Tampa, Florida (MCF/KMCF(
Destination airport:
Confidence Rating: Information is only available from news, social media or unofficial sources
McDonnell Douglas F-4C Phantom II 63-7416/'FJ-416', of the 4453rd CCTS, 4432nd CCTW, USAF: Delivered November 20 1963 as the second of the first two F-4Cs delivered to USAF TAC (United States Air Force Tactical Air Command). 63-7416 was the 10th production F-4C

Written off (destroyed) May 22 1964 when crashed on the Avon Park Bombing Range, Lake Wales, Polk County, Florida. Aircraft failed to recover from a steep dive, and impacted the ground.

Both crew killed - Captain. Joseph J. Onate (pilot) and Captain William F. Buhrman (RIO). According to an eyewitness report (see link #4):

"I was a Jet Engine Mechanic in the U.S. Air Force from 1962-1966. On May 22, 1964, the first F-4C was lost. The aircraft was 63-7416, and it crashed at the Avon Park bombing range in central Florida. The pilot of the aircraft was able to eject, but the aircraft was inverted, and at about 50 feet off the ground, and his 'chute never had a chance to open. Rear seater rode the aircraft into the ground, and was also killed. I was a jet engine mechanic and worked on the accident investigation and know for a fact that the pilot ejected. I saw both the ejector seat and his helmet. Killed in the crash were Captain Joseph J. Onate and Captain William F. Buhrman. I assisted in the accident investigation helping to disassemble and inspect the engines from the aircraft.

In September 2001 I had a very interesting phone conversation with the son of Capt. Onate. Joe Onate Jr. was only 3 1/2 when his father was killed and was interested in all I could remember of the incident. Joe, God bless your father for giving his life for our country and thank you for your own service to our country. Recently, I also was contacted by Rhonda Haven, the daughter of Capt. William F. Buhrman and had several interesting conversations. I was able to put her in contact with Joe Onate Jr. This was the first time she had ever spoken to anyone in Capt. Onate's family."



Revision history:

30-Apr-2021 11:15 ASN archive Added
19-Jun-2022 20:45 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Operator, Location, Phase, Departure airport, Source, Narrative, Category]
19-Jun-2022 20:45 Dr. John Smith Updated [Narrative]
06-Sep-2022 17:53 Nepa Updated [Time, Operator, Location, Operator]

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