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Great Recounting - SR-71 In-Flight Disintegration from 1966

Test Pilot Bill Weaver tells about a Mach 3.18 in-flight breakup of an SR-71 Blackbird. Very entertaining reading. ( More...

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tancamper 19
While I was in the Navy we had a pilot whose brother flew the 71 and he had a cassette tape of him in contact with LA center and it went something like this, LA center this is (call sign) requesting unassigned altitude. Roger (call sign) call your 1000 climb out. Roger, LA passing 10,000 passing 15, now passing 25, now passing 35, now passing 45, good night LA. This was a long time ago.
Scott Campbell 2
best comment this week !!
Robert Benjamin 11
I was a Sgt in the Air Force stationed at Kirkland AFB in 1969 when I received a call at home in the late evening hours and told to report to the base immediately. Upon arrival I was informed that I was to be in charge of a security team assigned to an incoming aircraft. We were told nothing of the type of aircraft or its operations. Upon arriving at the flight line, we were instructed to set up security outside a large hanger and to "ignore" what we were about to see. After some time had passed I heard engine noises and, looking towards the taxiway saw what looked like a spaceship taxing toward the hanger. As it entered the tarmac adjacent to the hanger, it shut down and was immediately towed inside. All lights in the area were off. Soon thereafter, a Black C-130 arrived and parked adjacent to the hanger.I also noticed our high altitude "bus" used to ferry pilots to and from the RB58's stationed at Kirkland arriving and entering the hanger. The doors were closed and there we remained until approximately 0500 when the doors opened, the apparition was towed out, engines started and off it went toward the taxiway. Having been relieved, I drove my vehicle out to where I had a view of the runway and watched as this glorious bird came roaring down the runway and shoot strait into the sky. What a night and what a plane. God bless all the pilots who few this wonderful machine.
Neale Ferguson 12
I was traveling on a cruise ship when I entered an elevator along with an elderly gent who was wearing an SR-71 baseball cap. I live in the DC area and have visited the Smithsonian Annex a number of teams to drool over the Blackbird they have there. I asked the man if he'd had the chance to see it. He looked up and, I paraphrase, said "Seen it, I flew'em". He had his biography with him which I had a read of. Given my inability to remember people's names I've forgotten who he was, but still enjoy reliving the encounter.
C S 4
Heard this joke from a Blackbird Pilot:
Pilot: (call sign) requesting altitude change to 45,000
ATC: Uhh, (call sign) please repeat, did you say you want to go up to 45,000?
Pilot: Umm, no sir,(call sign) requesting permission to go DOWN to 45,000
ATC: .............
Andriy Tsyupka 6
Great story, those test pilots have the biggest BALLS!!!
Aaron Donnelly 6
A great aircraft retired way before it should have been.
Dave Blevins 1
Do you think it's really retired ?
Heinz Loewen 3
WOW!! Had an Angel on your shoulder that day!! Sorry about your loss of Jim Zwayer...
WhiteKnight77 3
I always enjoyed seeing the Habu fly in and out of Kadena AB on Okinawa. The hanger backed up against the main west coast highway on the island and you could always see the tails above the blast deflectors behind the hanger. I don't know how I didn't get busted, but there were times I took pics of it when I shouldn't have, even while I was sitting out in the open and could be seen taking pictures.

It was a great bird and as Aaron stated, retired before it should have.
oowmmr 2
Gee Whiz and WoW!!
Will Marchant 2
You can see some of Bill Weaver's continuing exploits at
Remarkable is all I can say
Boyd Wedding 2
I think that NASA still has a pair of these.
Ron Chambers 1
Know the HABU well. Father in Law worked the engine development w/Pratt in the Florida Swamp Works back in the day. My Marine Pi's worked with the film take at Kadena in the 70's even have photo's of my teen daughter suiting up in the G-Suit described , she was a beauty then still is, 71 jocks were all hounds. In the 80's mission planned PARPRO GIANT missions in the SE Pacific literal for this platform it was a point target getter, just like a browny, point & Shoot! There sure to be a follow on out there. Time will tell'
There is also an SR-71 at the Kalamazoo AZO air museum.
Remarkable story. What were the odds of falling where he did.
Scott Campbell 1
with a little prayer ... very good!
ken young 1
I read the "SR-71 Over France story.
Two points....The
"reservation number"..Yeah, We got your reservation number right here. pal....ONE!
"Permission denied"...How typical. as I recall this is not the only time the French govt has denied the US Military clearance to enter their air space.
David Fortner 1
Most beautiful airplane without a propeller ever built.
Derek Thomas 2
Curiosity question; Looking at pics of the 71 - I notice some have "dual cockpits" and some single. I assume that all the birds had an SRO. What was the purpose of the dual "cabbed" 71's???
James Mering 1
We had 2 trainers at Beale AFB where I was assigned as one of the flight surgeons involved with the SR71. One crashed in late '67/early '68.
Derek Thomas 1
So, depending on your source, it seems only 1, maybe 2, copies of the 71 were made as trainers, with dual cockpits. Most were built as single seaters, allowing for larger, better optics, and several as 2-seaters for an SRO, but not with dual cockpits.
James Mering 1
We had 2 trainers at Beale where I was a flight surgeon with the 9th SRW. One crashed in early 1968.
Derek Thomas 1
Roger that!
harold spetter 1
I read the story and am totally amazed that he survived the ""Breakup""
Dominic Haupt 1
Everything about this plane is amazing speed, appearance, statistics etc. Unbelievable how this guy survived such a catastrophe. That had to have been incredible g forces to tear the harness belts.
lynx318 1
Glad it was renamed SR71, "RS" would have been an obvious insult.
bjaygarber 1
wow!!! incredible!
Kevin Sanders 1
Somewhere up there is a Mach 3 "Boom" for me
Guy Medlock 1
This is a haunting story that stays with you and describes some of the unknown dangers Test Pilots - particularly in ultra high performance aircraft - face. Such detail in describing sensations, thoughts and science, is spellbinding. There has to be many nights that he wakes up and thinks - what if...? Anyway, it was a unique experience well documented and thanks for sharing it.


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