61-7957

957 was lost on Thursday, January 11, 1968.  One of only 2 SR-71B trainer models built (the other being #956), she crashed just a few miles from Beale AFB after limping home almost 1000 miles from where she suffered double generator failure over Washington State.  Both student pilot (SP) Capt. David Fruehauf and his instructor (IP) Lt. Col. Robert "Gray" Sowers ejected safely.

file photo (Jan 1968) by George Irizary courtesy of the Appeal-Democrat newspaper

Don Person, crew chief of #969, witnessed the accident; he recalls:

".... There were two SR-71's flying that afternoon, 957 and my aircraft 969.  An emergency was declared, but we did not know which aircraft had trouble.  We were waiting on the taxiway looking north and saw an SR-71 approaching.  About 2 miles out it took a pitch up and we then saw two chutes.  Aircraft crashed in the dreager ponds where gold was mined.  My heart was thumping as you can imagine, when another SR-71 came into view and it was an "A" model, 969.  Boy was I glad to see it land...."

A year later, a replacement trainer was built from the aft end of YF-12 #934 and the SR-71 static model, assigned number 981 and designated as an SR-71C.



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