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Lost SR-71 still a mystery of sorts

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posted on Jun, 15 2005 @ 03:57 PM
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In June of 1968 a CIA A-12 was lost in the open ocean during a systems check, no wreckage was ever found and speculation stirred that the pilot, Jack Weeks, may have defected. Even the North Vietnemese claimed to have shot down a large "unpiloted" U.S. spyplane, however no proof of the wreckage was provided. At the time A-12 operations were still highly classified so the reports listed the aircraft as an SR-71. Later aviation experts obtained transcripts of the "Birdwatcher" onboard computerized systems monitoring equipment. During A-12/M-12/SR-71 operations the Birdwatcher system would alert the pilot and the home base in case the system detected a problem with the aircraft. Transmissions from the Birdwatcher did indicate an engine overheat, however there were no transmissions from the pilot and the locator beacon was never activated (automatic in that aircraft). Since no wreckage was ever found, no proof the Vietnemese brought the plane down and no proof that the pilot defected it is still uncertain exactly what happened.

www.wvi.com...

Loss #12 60-6932 (A-12) This aircraft was lost in the South China Sea on 5 June 1968. CIA pilot, Jack Weeks
was flying what was to be the last operational A-12 mission from the overseas A-12 base at Kadena AB,
Okinawa. He was to fly a Functional Check Flight (FCF) due to an engine change. He was last heard from 520 miles East of Manila, Philippines. The loss was due to an in-flight emergency and the pilot did not survive. Once again the official news release identified the lost aircraft as an SR-71 and security was maintained. A few days later the two remaining A-12's on Okinawa flew to the US and were stored with the remainder of the OXCART (CIA) family. Investigation revealed no clue as to the disappearance of the A12 and pilot Jack Weeks. It remains a mystery to this day. There was speculation by some that Jack Weeks had defected to the other side. This is not true. Jack Weeks' widow was given posthumously his "CIA Intelligence Star for Valor" medal. The U.S. government would have never done that if there were indications that a defection occurred.




www.wvi.com...

On 4 June 1968, Mr. Jack Weeks flew A-12 (#129) on a redeployment preparation and functional check flight due to replacement of the right engine. Taxi and takeoff were uneventful, as evidenced by the reception of the required Birdwatcher "Code A" transmission and the lack of any HF transmissions from the pilot. Refueling, 20 minutes after takeoff, was normal. At tanker disconnect, the A-12 had been airborne 33 minutes. The tanker crew observed the A-12 climbing on course in a normal manner. This was the last visual sighting of the aircraft. No further communications were received until 19 minutes later when a Birdwatcher transmission indicated right engine EGT was in excess of 860 degrees C. Seven seconds later, Birdwatcher indicated the right engine fuel flow was less than 7500 pounds per hour and repeated that EGT exceeded 860. Eight seconds later, Birdwatcher indicated that the A-12 was below 68,500 feet, and repeated the two previous warnings. This was the final transmission.

Several attempts were made to contact Weeks via HF-SSB, UHF, and Birdwatcher, but without success. Operation of recording and monitoring facilities at the home base continued until the time that the aircraft's fuel would have been exhausted, but no further transmissions were received. The aircraft was declared missing some 500 nautical miles east of the Philippines and 600 nautical miles south of Okinawa. The accident report declared that "No wreckage of aircraft number 129 (60-6932) was ever recovered. It is presumed totally destroyed at sea."


This is one of those rare cases where cold war secrecy and intrique have led to a family never knowing what happened to their loved one, and the loss a sectacular aircraft with no clue to it's whereabouts. Maybe someday wreckage will be found, maybe that "cold warrior" and his metal steed can return home. Maybe this mystery will be solved once and for all.




posted on Jun, 15 2005 @ 10:22 PM
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From what I've read in the Brian Schull books, the SR71 was notoriously hard to fly at times, and had problems with the engines "backfiring". It would have been very easy to get into an uncontrollable situation if this is what happened, especially if this was an FCF after an engine change. He said when the plane behaved, which was most of the time, it was a dream to fly, and was a LOT faster than they published. This is pure speculation, but going by that, and other things I've heard about the plane, he probably got into a situation where he thought he could get it under control and either suffered a catastrophic loss of control or rode it in trying to save it.



posted on Jun, 16 2005 @ 12:44 AM
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That's spookie... It really is, but it's still possible, right...?



posted on Jun, 16 2005 @ 01:57 AM
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wouldnt it be a neat thing if the Jet and the Man both turned up one day...not aged one bit

and had some wild ' i was on a UFO in hyperspace for 25years!' kinda story


lol the imagination can take this one anywere



posted on Jun, 16 2005 @ 02:20 AM
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The pacific ocean is a big and deep place, the SR-71 is a big and heavy jet. Get where I’m going with this

But the UFO theory sounds nice too.



posted on Jun, 16 2005 @ 05:00 AM
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The ocean is very deep, we may never find it, or perhpas it fell into the hands of china..............................



posted on Jun, 16 2005 @ 08:27 AM
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The odds are that the aircraft is on the bottom of the ocean out there, however the claims by N. Vietnam and the lack of wreckage also could have been cover stories for a Chinese or Russian recovery of the aircraft or the important parts (like the survielence equip.) and the pilot. It's possible that the U.S. could have known this and kept it quiet, possibly as a price for the mig 25 defection around that time. It makes for an interesting story and leaves alot of room for speculation. I guess that's why I like this story.



posted on Jun, 16 2005 @ 08:39 AM
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Wow this is actually really neat info. what are the chances of the plane hitting the water and remaining slightly intact. also is there enough info to try and track down its likely crash location or area.



posted on Jun, 16 2005 @ 11:17 AM
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I don't know how the N. Vietnamese could have shot down the SR-71, my guess it that the plane had technical problems and fell somewhere in the ocean. But did the SR-71 have an ejection seat?
I imagine trying to eject at mach 3 would rip you to shreds.



posted on Dec, 14 2007 @ 07:51 PM
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Sorry for bringing up an old post, but I'm interested in Blackbird crashes and stumbled upon this thread. Anyways, come on guys, this conspiracy stuff about the pilot defecting to China or Vietnam is ridiculous. He just crashed and when a plane hits the water at hundreds of miles per hour, it's going to explode in millions of pieces. Finding a wreckage like that in the middle of the pacific ocean is damn near impossible. It's not like this was as ship that slowly sunk and didn't break up. This Blackbird is non-existent now.



posted on Dec, 14 2007 @ 08:00 PM
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To answer a few questions:

The lack of any signal from the pilot kind of rules out a controlled landing. If the craft suffered an Unstart in one or both engines, there still would have been time for the pilot to radio a mayday.

If the craft broke up at speed, there is no way the a/c was intact when it hit the water.

If the pilot was somehow rendered unconsious or other wise incapacatated, the craft would have hit the water with alot of force as well.

Despite several pilot surviving high speed catastrofic breakups of A-12/SR-71, im going to say the plane broke up at Mach 3 and high up and the derbits were so widely scattered they were never found



posted on Dec, 14 2007 @ 08:38 PM
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Originally posted by FredT




If the pilot was somehow rendered unconsious or other wise incapacatated, the craft would have hit the water with alot of force as well.


Informed Lockheed sources speculate Weeks had a heart attack.


Despite several pilot surviving high speed catastrofic breakups of A-12/SR-71, im going to say the plane broke up at Mach 3 and high up and the derbits were so widely scattered they were never found


Unlikely. There is no reason and /or indication that Weeks airplane broke up in flight. The only inflight breakups were Park and Torick over the Pacific when the D-21 failed to separate and Weaver over New Mexico during an aft CG test. Neither of these causes would have been present during Week's last flight.



posted on Dec, 14 2007 @ 09:55 PM
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Well you brought an old one John
With the study that I've done in the mean time with crashes like swiss air flight 111 and the extreme break-up of that airframe and impact speed and angle.

The recovered standby attitude indicator and airspeed indicator showed that the aircraft struck the water at 300 knots in a 20 degrees nose down and 110 degree bank turn, or almost upside down. [29] Upon impact, in less than a second, the plane would have been crushed, killing all aboard almost instantly.

en.wikipedia.org...

image the speed at the very least of the 71's impact and since 111 shattered into approx 2 million little parts.



posted on Dec, 14 2007 @ 10:20 PM
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Originally posted by Canada_EH




Well you brought an old one John
With the study that I've done in the mean time with crashes like swiss air flight 111 and the extreme break-up of that airframe and impact speed and angle.

The recovered standby attitude indicator and airspeed indicator showed that the aircraft struck the water at 300 knots in a 20 degrees nose down and 110 degree bank turn, or almost upside down. [29] Upon impact, in less than a second, the plane would have been crushed, killing all aboard almost instantly.

en.wikipedia.org...

image the speed at the very least of the 71's impact and since 111 shattered into approx 2 million little parts.



Nice to hear from you Canada_EH. I've always had a macabre interest in Flight 111 because of the fact that the crew was back in First Class during the final minutes of the descent because of the fire in the cockpit.

I've always wondered what they did. Did they grab a last cognac? They would have had enough time.



posted on Dec, 15 2007 @ 03:07 PM
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I suppose it's possible that there was both a heart attack/medical situation and because of that the aircraft broke up (arms could have have hit various controls while struggling) or more likely lost control over the aircraft and hit the deck.



posted on Dec, 15 2007 @ 09:38 PM
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John, didn't you say that Russia received a sr-71?

Anyway, Blackbird this crash, was, AFAIK, before they put a digital computer onto the blackbird to control the inlet spikes. If the inlet spike was incorrectly positioned the shock wave would suddenly blow out the front of the inlet. The flow of air through the engine compressor would immediately stop, thrust would drop, and exhaust gas temperatures would begin to rise. Due to the tremendous thrust of the remaining engine pushing the aircraft asymmetrically an unstart would cause the aircraft to yaw violently to one side. Just so you understand how violently it was, it could often cause the pilots head to smash into the window.



Later, a digital computer was put on it which almost completely rectified the problem.

I beleive this may of been the cause of the crash, and I sure would rather base it on that rather than, 'Oh, he had a heart attack'.



Oh, and the reason I'm interesting in Swissair 111, was why an Electronic Warfare aircraft flew close to it just as the Md-11 experianced radio malfunctions. That is when most people beleive the fire started.


[edit on 15/12/2007 by C0bzz]



posted on Dec, 15 2007 @ 10:02 PM
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It wasn't an EW plane. It was a P-3. Quite a difference between the EP-3 and P-3. The plane that may have flown near 111 was an ordinary P-3.




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