Re: [MV] Columbia and escape modules... and SR71 stats the fastest conventional flight MV

From: Dave Ball (
Date: Sun Feb 02 2003 - 01:37:32 PST

SR-71 Losses Listing

64-17950 (SR-71A) The prototype SR-71 was lost on 10 January 1967 at Edwards
during an anti-skid braking system evaluation. The main undercarriage tires
blew out and the resulting fire in the magnesium wheels spread to the rest
of the aircraft as it ran off the end of the runway. Lockheed test pilot Art
Peterson survived.

64-17952 (SR-71A) This aircraft disintegrated on 25 January 1966 during a
high-speed, high-altitude test flight when it developed a severe case of
engine unstart. Lockheed test pilot Bill Weaver survived although his
ejection seat never left the plane! Reconnaissance System Officer (RSO) Jim
Zwayer died in a high-G bailout. The incident occurred near Tucumcari, New

64-17953 (SR-71A) This aircraft was lost on 18 December 1969 after an
inflight explosion and subsequent high-speed stall. Lt Col Joe Rogers and
RSO Lt Col Garry Heidelbaugh ejected safely. The precise cause of the
explosion has never be determined. The incident occurred near Shoshone,

64-17954 (SR-71A) This aircraft was demolished on 11 April 1969 under
circumstances similar to 64-17950. New aluminum wheels and stronger tires
with a beefed up compound were retrofitted to all SR-71's. Lt Col Bill
Skliar and his RSO Major Noel Warner managed to escape uninjured.

64-17957 (SR-71B) This aircraft was the second SR-71B built for the Air
Force. It crashed on approach to Beale on 11 January 1968 when instructor
pilot Lt Col Robert G. Sowers and his "student" Captain David E.Fruehauf
were forced to eject about 7 miles from Beale after all control was lost.
The plane had suffered a double generator failure followed by a double
flameout (caused by fuel cavitation) and pancaked upside down in a farmer's

64-17965 (SR-71A) This aircraft was lost on 25 October 1967 after an INS
platform failed, leading to erroneous attitude information being displayed
in the cockpit. During a night flight, the INS gyro had tumbled. There were
no warning lights to alert pilot Captain Roy L. St.Martin and RSO Captain
John F Carnochan. In total darkness, in a steep dive and no external visual
references available, the crew had little alternative. They were able to
eject safely. The incident occurred near Lovelock, Nevada.

64-17966 (SR-71A) Lost on the evening of 13 April 1967 after the aircraft
entered a subsonic, high-speed stall. Pilot Captain Earle M. Boone and RSO
Captain Richard E. Sheffield ejected safely. The incident occurred near Las
Vegas, Nevada.

64-17969 (SR-71A) Lost on 10 May 1970 during an operational mission from
Kadena, Okinawa against North Vietnam. Shortly after air-refueling, the
pilot, Major William E. Lawson initiated a normal full power
climb.Stretching before him was a solid bank of cloud containing heavy
thunderstorm activity which reached above 45,000'. Heavy with fuel, the
aircraft was unable to maintain a high rate of climb and as it entered
turbulence both engines flamed out. The RPM dropped to a level too low for
restarting the engines. Pilot and RSO, Major Gilbert Martinez ejected safely
after the aircraft stalled. The plane crashed near Korat RTAFB, Thailand.

64-17970 (SR-71A) Lost on 17 June 1970 following a post-tanking collision
with the KC-135 tanker. Lt Col "Buddy" L. Brown and his RSO Maj Mortimer
Jarvis ejected safely although both legs of the pilot were broken. The SR-71
crashed 20 miles east of El Paso, Texas, but the KC-135 limped back to Beale
AFB with a damaged fin.

64-17974 (SR-71A) This aircraft was lost on 21 April 1989 over the South
China Sea and is the last loss of any Blackbird as of December 1991. Pilot
Lt Col Dan House said the left engine blew up and shrapnel from it hit the
right-side hydraulic lines, causing a loss of flight controls. House and RSO
Blair Bozek ejected and came down safely in the ocean. They had been able to
broadcast their position before abandoning the Blackbird, and rescue forces
were immediately on the way. However the crew were rescued by native
fisherman. The local chieftain's new throne is Colonel House's ejection
seat! .

64-17977 (SR-71A) This aircraft ended its career in flames by skidding 1000
feet off the end of runway 14 at Beale on 10 October 1968. The takeoff was
aborted when a wheel assembly failed. Major James A. Kogler was ordered to
eject, but pilot Major Gabriel Kardong elected to stay with the aircraft.
Both officers survived.

64-17978 (SR-71A) Nicknamed the "Rapid Rabbit", this aircraft was written
off on 20 July 1972 during the roll out phase of its landing. The pilot,
Captain Dennis K. Bush, had practiced a rapid deploy-jettison of the braking
parachute. A go-around was initiated after the chute was jettisoned. On the
next landing attempt, the aircraft touched down slightly "hot" but had no
chute to reduce the aircraft's speed. The pilot was unable to keep the plane
on the runway. A wheel truck hit a concrete barrier. The aircraft suffered
significant damage. The pilot and the RSO, Captian James W. Fagg escaped
without injury.

A total of 20 Lockheed Blackbirds have been lost due to a variety of
accidents; however, not one was shot down by unfriendly forces!
----- Original Message -----
From: "Patrick Jankowiak" <>
To: "Military Vehicles Mailing List" <>
Sent: Sunday, February 02, 2003 2:43 AM
Subject: Re: [MV] Columbia and escape modules...

> Nonetheless, a large spherical fuel tank survived intact today.
> whether anyone riding in a similarly made but larger escape device
> would not have been roasted or smashed to pieces inside it is another
> story.
> Chris Davis wrote:
> >
> > Now that you mention it, I remember that "entire cockpit" option too...
> > I also remember a bit from the movie "Apollo 13" (I was alive for the
> > actual event, but too young to pay much attention) anyway in the movie
> > talk about the re-entry of the capsule having to occur at very precise
> > angles and speeds or the thing would burn up (despite its shielding) or
> > skip off the atmosphere like a stone skipping on a lake....
> >
> > Even with todays computer controls, I bet it would be difficult to
> > a cockpit pod and get the attitude and direction right after the
> > separation. Things have to be happening awfully fast at that speed.
> >
> > As for the funding cuts of past administrations... I agree with you.
> > should have had more, not less funding. (And should today.)
> >
> > Chris Davis
> >
> > Chris DavisAt 04:04 PM 2/1/03 -0600, J Travis wrote:
> > >As I recall, one of the proposals put forward after Challenger was
> > >analyzed was for a cockpit "module" that could be seperated and would
> > >contain the entire crew, similar in function to the F-111 and the B1-B
> > >bombers (although engineered to meet the greater loads). It was later
> > >decided that it would be too expensive to retrofit the shuttles for
> > >budget during the Clinton administration.
> > >
> > >Jay Travis
> > >
> > >Chris Davis wrote:
> > >
> > >>Hi Jay, and list...
> > >>
> > >>Sad day for all of us, but I don't think the escape module would have
> > >>helped in this instance. If I remember right, the design was based on
> > >>launch failure like Challenger's... not a "pod" that would withstand
> > >>re-entry speeds and heat.
> > >>
> > >>Chris Davis
> > >>MVPA#20000
> > >>Lake Elsinore, CA
> > >>
> > >>At 12:23 PM 2/1/03 -0600, J Travis wrote:
> > >>
> > >>>> Looks like that decision to cut costs by eliminating the crew
> > >>>>module to save on the budget might not have been such a great idea
> > >>>>all, huh? Thanks, Mr. Clinton. I'm sure all those public school
> > >>>>copies of "Billy has Two Daddies" bought with the "savings" on the
> > >>>>budget are a real comfort to the families of the astronauts...
> > >>>>
> > >>>>What we REALLY need is to go ahead and fund the development of the
> > >>>>plane, to replace the Orbiter (space shuttle) system that SHOULD
> > >>>>been done in the late eighties. But between cutting the NASA budget
> > >>>>fund politically motivated social agendas and not being willing to
> > >>>>overhaul the industry built around continuing the support of this
> > >>>>obsolete technology, we now find ourselves right back where we were
> > >>>>1986 with Challenger. My sympathies to the families of those lost
> > >>>
> > >>>
> > >>>
> > >>>Jay Travis
> > >>>
> > >>>
> > >>>Ryan Gill wrote:
> > >>>
> > >>>>At 9:48 AM -0500 2/1/03, Alan R Wise wrote:
> > >>>>
> > >>>>>Terrible day, February 1, 2003.
> > >>>>
> > >>>>
> > >>>>
> > >>>>Damn it.
> > >>>
> > >>>
> > >>>
> > >>>
> > >>>
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> > >>
> > >>
> > >>
> > >>
> > >>
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> > >
> > >
> > >
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> > >
> >
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