British F-4 Nearly Shoots Down an  ERA-3B


This event occurred of the coast of Puerto Rico during a NATO exercise with the Royal Navy in 1972. A Phantom from the Royal Navy's 892nd squadron fired a Sparrow missile with a dummy warhead up the tailpipe of the starboard engine on a VAQ-33 ERA-3B, BuNo 146447. It of course caused an engine failure but the plane survived as did the crew. Who were they?




It was ERA-3B BUNO 146447 side #4
The crew consisted of:



CDR LOU HETTINGER / PILOT      Retired as a Capt

LT JIM VAMBELL / NAVIGATOR        "               " 

LCDR DON GADSBY / EWO             "              LCDR

AMH1 JOHN HOUCK / THIRD CREWMAN  Retired as a Master Chief



letter from Phillip Ottinger

Engine damage photo #1

Engine damage photo #2

Engine damage photo #3