I have heard various accounts of John McCain being a lousy pilot and crashing planes. So, I did a little Google work, and this is what I came up with:
According to articles in Salon and the Washington Post, McCain was actually involved in three plane crashes. However, he "lost" a total of five US government planes. The following account is posted on the Vietnam Veterans Against John McCain site. This site apparently doesn't cite, as no sources are provided.
"McCain III lost jet number one in 1958 when he plunged into Corpus Christi Bay while practicing landings. He was knocked unconscious by the impact coming to as the plane settled to the bottom.
McCain's second crash occurred while he was deployed in the Mediterranean. "Flying too low over the Iberian Peninsula," Timberg wrote, "he took out some power lines [reminiscent of the 1998 incident in which a Marine Corps jet sliced through the cables of a gondola at an Italian ski resort, killing 20] which led to a spate of newspaper stories in which he was predictably identified as the son of an admiral."
McCain's third crash three occurred when he was returning from flying a Navy trainer solo to Philadelphia for an Army-Navy football game.
Timberg reported that McCain radioed, "I've got a flameout" and went through standard relight procedures three times before ejecting at one thousand feet. McCain landed on a deserted beach moments before the plane slammed into a clump of trees.
McCain's fourth aircraft loss occurred July 29, 1967, soon after he was assigned to the USS Forrestal as an A-4 Skyhawk pilot. While seated in the cockpit of his aircraft waiting his turn for takeoff, an accidently fired rocket slammed into McCain's plane. He escaped from the burning aircraft, but the explosions that followed killed 134 sailors, destroyed at least 20 aircraft, and threatened to sink the ship.
McCain's fifth loss happened during his 23rd mission over North Vietnam on Oct. 26, 1967, when McCain's A-4 Skyhawk was shot down by a surface-to-air missile. McCain ejected from the plane breaking both arms and a leg in the process and subsequently parachuted into Truc Bach Lake near Hanoi. "