Tag: Beale Air Force Base

SR-71... or RS-71? How the legendary Blackbird got her designation
On Mar. 21, 1968 in this aircraft, Maj. (later Gen.) Jerome F. O'Malley and Maj. Edward D. Payne made the first operational SR-71A sortie. Taken in March 1990 the emotional video in this post shows the arrival of the iconic SR-71A Blackbird at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force (USAF) at...
Lieutenant Colonel Ben Bowles, first SR-71 pilot to reach 900 hours, has passed away
Lieutenant Colonel Ben Bowles was awarded the Air Medal and two Distinguished Flying Crosses one of which for saving SR-71 #960. Former SR-71 pilot Lieutenant Colonel Ben Bowles has passed away on Jun. 1, 2019. He was born on Jan. 14, 1932. As one of the first five pilots to...
Impressive video shows SR-71 Blackbird J58 Engine tested at Max Afterburner Power
The J58 generated a maximum thrust of 32,500 pounds -- more than 160,000 shaft horsepower -- and was the most powerful air-breathing aircraft engine yet devised.  Taken at Beale Air Force Base (AFB) in 1986, the impressive video in this post features the test of SR-71 J58 engine at max afterburner power. This...
Former Blackbird pilot tells the story of one of only two successful SR-71 Barrier Engagements
“There were only two barrier engagements recorded at the time, and fortunately, ours was the successful one,” Colonel (Ret) James H. Shelton Jr., former SR-71 pilot. Colonel (Ret) James H. Shelton Jr. spent over nine years at Beale Air Force Base (AFB), six years flying the SR-71. He was the fifth SR-71 crewmember...
The Story of Lt. Col. Merryl Tengesdal, the First Black Female U-2 Dragon Lady Pilot
Lt. Col. Merryl Tengesdal has flown at the edge of space and witnessed a shooting star from the inside of a cockpit. She achieved what no African American woman ever had before. As a child she imagined flying amongst the stars, thousands of miles above the earth’s surface, and today Lt. Col. Merryl...
U-2 Dragon Lady Makes Rare Appearance at Nellis AFB
The U-2 traveled to Nellis to enhance the learning environment for U.S. Air Force Weapons School pilots entering their Weapons School Integration Gliding over the skies of Southern Nevada at an altitude of approximately 70,000 feet, an all-black, single jet engine aircraft dubbed the Dragon Lady made her way to Nellis Air Force...
Photos show Santa Claus marshalling an SR-71 Blackbird Mach 3 Spy Plane
This was the only time that Santa Claus marshalled in an SR-71 Taken by former SR-71 Crew Chief Tsgt. David Burns, the odd photos in this post show Santa Claus marshalling in an SR-71 Blackbird Mach 3 spy plane. Burns was a Blackbird Crew Chief at Beale Air Force Base (AFB),...
Navigational issue behind June 2017 RQ-4B crash
The RQ-4B, from the 9th Reconnaissance Wing at Beale AFB, California, was conducting a ferry flight from Edwards AFB, California, to Beale AFB at the time of incident According to an Air Combat Command Accident Investigation Board (AIB), an RQ-4B Global Hawk that crashed June 21, 2017, near Lone Pine, California, broke up mid-air after experiencing issues with one of...
That time an SR-71 had an inflight emergency while on a secret mission over the Golan Heights during the Yom Kippur War
"We had no viable emergency airfields, and I did not want to be a no-notice, no–flight plan, single-engine emergency arrival at David Ben-Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, especially since the Israeli government had not been informed in advance about the mission," Jim Wilson, SR-71 pilot Throughout its nearly 24-year career, the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird Mach 3-strategic reconnaissance aircraft remained the world’s fastest and...
This SR-71 Blackbird crew set the Absolute Speed Record that still stands today
While the SR-71 was operational, several pilots flew the Blackbird faster than the official record but not during sanctioned record attempts Throughout its nearly 24-year career, the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird Mach 3-strategic reconnaissance aircraft remained the world’s fastest and highest-flying operational aircraft. From 80,000 feet, it could survey 100,000 square miles of Earth’s surface per hour. So it comes as no surprise if,...