USAF photo via Peter Merlin
954 was lost on April 11, 1969. During maximum takeoff weight testing, the left main tires blew, which started a fire that swallowed the aircraft (similar to the demise of #950). Pilot Lt.Col. Bill Skliar and RSO Maj. Noel Warner escaped safely. Craig Freeman was there and describes what he saw:
I was setting in Launch truck when we sent the A/C off that morning 38 years ago (April 11, 1969). The tires blew, dropped it down on the wheel and the FOD from the wheel coming apart sent the metal up into the wing.
The Pilot cut the takeoff run and rolled out to the end of the runway. The aircraft started to burn with the Pilot and RSO still inside with canopies down.
A CH-3 Jolly Green came out of nowhere and sat off the left front part of the wing which was burning. From the rotor wash the fire was pushed off toward the back of the aircraft.
The canopies opened and Pilot and RSO jumped out of the aircraft and ran off from the Aircraft. Pilot and RSO were fine. They did not "eject."
17950 17951 17952 17953 17954 17955 17956 17957 17958 17959
17960 17961 17962 17963 17964 17965 17966 17967 17968 17969
17970 17971 17972 17973 17974 17975 17976 17977 17978 17979
Back to the Blackbird Photo Archive index
Back to the main page
Copyright © 1998 Habu.Org