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The SR-71 Blackbird that fell on it’s right wing during maintenance due to a Stupid Mistake

The SR-71 Blackbird that fell on it's right wing during maintenance due to a Stupid Mistake

In 1982 during maintenance procedures at Beale Air Force Base a Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird that fell on its right wing during maintenance due to a Stupid Mistake

The SR-71 #964 was going through a routine maintenance procedure at Beale Air Force Base.

Due to Technician  Improper maintenance procedures and failure to follow Technical Data resulted in several million dollars damage

During maintenance, the landing gear was retracted without the gear pins installed. As a result, the SR-71 Blackbird ‘964 fell on its right wing and sustained Significant damage

Luckily all the technical working on SR-71 #964 was unharmed

During an initial inquiry MSgt (Ret) Ben Raines was found guilty and he was later Court Marshaled but later he was finally cleared and findings overturned by then General Davis (SAC/CC).

The SR-71 Blackbird that fell on it's right wing during maintenance due to a Stupid Mistake

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In an email to sr71.com  MSgt (Ret), Ben Raines shared his experience of that day:

I recall well the heads rolling when a sled rested on its wing when a landing gear was inadvertently raised during phase maintenance.

Wow…This brings back so many great memories. I was stationed at Beale right after Tech school in 1977.

I was assigned to the 9 FMS Hydraulic shop. Work with some of the best hydraulic people in the career field like Wilkerson (Wilkie), MSgt Elliason, Frank Mosely and Bobby Skinner, just to name only a few.

My time with the SR was from 1977 to 1983 and then from 1987 until the dark day of the SR retirement from service.

The rest of my career has been with the U-2 until my retirement in 2001. What a great 24 years with the U-2 and SR-71. Some of my fondest (and worst)

Beale Air Force Base (AFB) (IATA: BAB, ICAO: KBAB, FAA LID: BAB) is a United States Air Force base located approximately 8 miles (13 km) east of Marysville, California.

have been with the program.

For those who remember, yes, I’m the one who was Court Marshaled in 1982 when ‘964 fell on it’s right wing (my worse days in the program) but to clear the air, I was finally cleared and findings overturned by then General Davis (SAC/CC).

I’m presently working for Lockheed Martin as a Tech Rep on the U-2’s. I work with some of the old SR boys (Mike Burrow (CC) Norb Budzinski (RSO)). Some days we’ll sit back and reminiscence about the “Old Days”. Talk about all the Habu love bites.

Beale Air Force Base

Beale Air Force Base is a United States Air Force base located approximately 8 miles (13 km) east of Marysville, California. The host unit at Beale is the 9th Reconnaissance Wing (9 RW) assigned to the Air Combat Command and part of Twenty-Fifth Air Force.

Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird

The Lockheed SR-71 “Blackbird” is a long-range, Mach 3+ strategic reconnaissance aircraft that was developed as a black project from the Lockheed A-12 reconnaissance aircraft in the 1960s

The SR-71 served with the U.S. Air Force from 1964 to 1998. A total of 32 aircraft were built; 12 were lost in accidents with none lost to enemy action. The SR-71 has been given several nicknames, including “Blackbird” and “Habu”.

Image Credits: U.S. Air Force

 

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One comment

  1. If they think this is the right wing it’s no wonder it got wrecked!!!

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