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Early A-12 Oxcart ejection seat


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#1 HUD69

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Posted 17 October 2016 - 12:15 AM

Hi,

 

This is my first post here and I have a question about the early A-12 Oxcart ejection seat.

There was an example on Ebay a couple of weeks ago, it looked like an altered C-2 (F-104) seat.

(missing the arm restraints, different headrest and entrance holes in the seatpan for the suit oxygen)A-12 hookup.JPG

 

Now here is the question, what nomenclature was given to this seat, the list I have so far:

 

Stanley B                                XF-104

Stanley C                                F-104A/B 

Stanley C-1                             F-104A/B/C/D

Lockheed C-2                         F-104G

Lockheed S/R-2                      F-104B/J and? (Jordan and Japanese air forces for instance)

Lockheed ?                             A-12 and early SR-71

Lockheed S/R-1 (RQ201)       U-2/TR-1/ SR-71

 

According to an former A-12 pilot, the seat was designated K-1, but it seems impossible to find prove of that.

 

Any clues?

 

Thanks,

Ron 

 

 

 



#2 northcoastaero

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Posted 17 October 2016 - 10:22 AM

I would try to find a flight manual on CD or take a look at the Aerofax book on the A-12/SR-71.  Hope this helps.



#3 HUD69

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Posted 18 October 2016 - 02:04 AM

I would try to find a flight manual on CD or take a look at the Aerofax book on the A-12/SR-71.  Hope this helps.

 

Thanks!

 

The book by Jim Tuttle gives the wrong designation by the way.

Also on the seat there are no markings (also no data plate) Only markings are Skunk Works stamps.

 

Thanks,

 

Ron



#4 HUD69

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Posted 30 March 2017 - 11:08 PM

Closer inspection of the seat shows a Feb66 date on the lap belt.

A partnumber on the backrest starting with 4AQ.... (indicating indeed A-12/ SR-71)

 

This example also shows the letters FWD (for Forward seat) on that backrest, so it was probably used in a SR-71 probably and not A-12 (as only in 2 seater exists) Besides that also number 9013 is visible, but that is not a known serial number for Blackbirds.

 

Attached image of the numbers.

 

Cheers

Ron

 

20170329_144305.jpg


Edited by HUD69, 30 March 2017 - 11:08 PM.


#5 northcoastaero

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Posted 30 March 2017 - 11:32 PM

Ron,

Interesting discovery. I will keep you in mind for A-12/YF-12/SR-71 information.

Edited by northcoastaero, 30 March 2017 - 11:33 PM.


#6 HUD69

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Posted 31 March 2017 - 07:14 AM

Ron,

Interesting discovery. I will keep you in mind for A-12/YF-12/SR-71 information.

 

Thank you very much! I also work closely with Jeannette Remak, who did some great books on this topic.

 

If someone visits Pima air museum, can he/she take some detailed images of the seat they have on display? (with the SR-71 pilot in it)

 

Thanks!

Ron

Attached Images

  • 20170329_180535.gif


#7 velo-ct

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Posted 31 March 2017 - 08:56 AM

I looked through the pics from my last visit to Pima and only have this terrible blocked partial view but it does seem to match the sheetmetal stamping shape on the front lower portions.   You can probably match up some more features if you compare to your seat from the side.   Next time I go I will get you some better shots without tourists in the way.  Sorry was not focused on the seat that visit.

 

Regards,

Frank

 

Attached Images

  • srseat.JPG


#8 HUD69

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Posted 31 March 2017 - 09:21 PM

I looked through the pics from my last visit to Pima and only have this terrible blocked partial view but it does seem to match the sheetmetal stamping shape on the front lower portions.   You can probably match up some more features if you compare to your seat from the side.   Next time I go I will get you some better shots without tourists in the way.  Sorry was not focused on the seat that visit.

 

Regards,

Frank

 

HI Frank,

 

That's indeed the same kind of seat. I noticed it still having some of the parts mine is missing (they look professionally removed upon changing this seat type for the SR-1) These parts are likely the same as on most other (older) C-2 ejection seats, like the ones used in the German Luftwaffe before switching to Martin Baker seats.

 

in the image attached you find 3 versions of the C-2 family I have. SR-2 from Jordanian F-104B, the modified C-2 from the Blackbird and in the back a C-2 from a Dutch F-104G.

 

Would be great to see images!

 

Thanks,

Ron

Attached Images

  • Seats.jpg


#9 HUD69

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Posted 16 July 2017 - 12:49 AM

Hi,

 

After reading around 1120 pages of (de)classified CIA material on the A-12 Oxcart, I have learned the following.

My seat was modified (after a crash in '67, when a pilot got stuck after ejection)

In the reports the life support units talk about: "Modified C-2 Rocket-Catapult Upward" and F-104 rocket type.

 

Seems the seat never got his own designation, the K-1 Ken Collins was talking about, seems to have been a pressure helmet type.

Also learned from the reports is that the seat kit/container was of the "MD-1 type" in my opinion a modified version then.

 

Cheers,

Ron

 

Modified C-2 seat.jpg

 

 

 

 



#10 HUD69

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Posted 16 July 2017 - 01:00 AM

And I also had some help in repairing the damage to the seat (as can be seen in one of the images above this one)

 

Now for the small bits and pieces.

 

Cheers,

Ron

 

repairs.jpg

 

 

 



#11 HUD69

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Posted 12 December 2017 - 10:14 AM

In the meantime I was able to gather more information on this type of ejection seat:

 

Because the SR Seat was being developed, the A-12 seat was installed on the first sixteen SR’s. Later the A-12 seats were replaced with the SR seats.
 
The main chute on both seats is a thirty-five foot parachute. The A-12 seat has the drogue chute mounted on top of the main chute, and two emergency oxygen bottle and face heats defogging batteries mounted inside the main chute. The later S/R-1 seat in the Blackbird, has the drogue chute mounted in the seats head rest. The emergency oxygen bottles (2) are mounted inside the survival kit and the face heat defogging battery is mounted on the life side of the ejection seat. 
 
How many were made
 
Fifty-six A-12 seats were installed (18 on A-12, 6 on YF-12 & 32 on SR-71)
Seventy SR-71 seats were installed (64 on SR-71 & 6 on YF-12). The SR seat replaced the A-12 seats in the three YF-12’s & the sixteen SR-71’s
 
I found this image on Facebook, showing a slightly modified version of my seat (later date I guess) with different headrest and two straps as man seat separator in stead of one?
 
12832509_488996587974685_5694970743801066484_n.jpg
 
Enjoy
Ron

 

 



#12 HUD69

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Posted 20 January 2018 - 04:23 AM

Hi all,

 

A small update in the listing and I try to give some more information on other modifications and versions:


 

Stanley B                               XF-104

Stanley B-1                            ?

Stanley C                               F-104A/B 

Stanley C-1                            F-104A/B/C/D

Lockheed C-2                        F-104G

Lockheed D                           Prototype with wind blast protection (see image)

Lockheed S/R-2                     F-104B/J and? (Jordan and Japanese air forces for instance)

Lockheed SR-1 (RQ201)       U-2/TR-1/ SR-71

Lockheed E                           ?? 

Lockheed F-1                         A-12 and early SR-71 (to be confirmed see image of article in Dutch language)

Lockheed ?                            Sled / capsule proposal/prototype

 

In the first literature about the modifications to S/R-2, there was talk of removing the arm nets, as this would give more stability.

This modification was however not given to the seats, but it did show up on the early A-12 and SR-71 seats. (probably even more stable at high speeds without the nets?)

 

If anyone has more info, please let me know.

 

Thanks,

Ron

 

D-1 seat

D-1.jpg

 

F-1 seat

20180113_073840.jpg

 

 



#13 Patchcollector

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Posted 20 January 2018 - 06:41 AM

Interesting item.Do you know what material the seat is made of?



#14 HUD69

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Posted 21 January 2018 - 05:44 AM

Interesting item.Do you know what material the seat is made of?

 

First, it seems that the F-1 nomenclature might have been used on the SR-71/YF-12's in service with NASA Dryden, but need confirmation.

The E series was likely not there as there was also no A version? (need also confirmation)

The material of the early example was mostly the same as the normal C-2 seats, as many parts where the same.

It is an aluminium alloy (different alloy types on different parts of the seat, stiffness and thickness are different)

 

Cheers,

Ron



#15 MWalsh

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Posted 24 March 2018 - 06:06 AM

I may have some pictures of the seat in the A12 at CIA HQ in Langley, the one they stole from the Minnesota Air Guard Museum. 

 

The MNANG used to have "open cockpit" days where you could sit in some of their aircraft and take all the pics you wanted, with the canopies open. I think I got a bunch of pics then. They are packed away but if you want them I will set them aside when they surface. 



#16 HUD69

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Posted 03 April 2018 - 10:44 PM



I may have some pictures of the seat in the A12 at CIA HQ in Langley, the one they stole from the Minnesota Air Guard Museum. 

 

The MNANG used to have "open cockpit" days where you could sit in some of their aircraft and take all the pics you wanted, with the canopies open. I think I got a bunch of pics then. They are packed away but if you want them I will set them aside when they surface. 

 

That would be great! I am very interested in these images.

 

Came across this image on Ebay, showing the same kind of seat.

 

20180402_091437.jpg

 

Cheers,

Ron


Edited by HUD69, 03 April 2018 - 10:56 PM.


#17 HUD69

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Posted 04 December 2019 - 12:17 AM

Finaly an update on the ejection seat!

 

As can be seen on the image of the backrest, a faint number ending in 013 is visible.

Further inspection and some books by Paul Crickmore, learned that the first digit was not a 9 but a 2.

This making 2013, being article #2013 / 61-7962.

 

First flight was made on 29 Apr 1966 by Lockheed Test Pilot/RSO: Bill Weaver/ Steven Belgau.

On 28 July 1976, SR-71 serial number 61-7962, piloted by then Captain Robert Helt, broke the world record: an "absolute altitude record" of 85,069 feet (25,929 m).

Several aircraft have exceeded this altitude in zoom climbs, but not in sustained flight.

On 21 January 1990 it was the last SR-71 that left Kadena AB in Japan.

 

The aiframe now resides in Duxford (UK), the seat was switched somewhere around 1968 for the SR-1 type.

 

 

17962.jpg

 

Cheers

Ron

 

 

 



#18 hink441

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Posted 04 December 2019 - 05:01 AM

Really enjoyed this thread, that seat is amazing!

I am so glad you were able to place this seat to a specific airframe!!

Chris

#19 HUD69

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Posted 05 December 2019 - 03:13 AM

Hi Chris,

 

Much appreciated! I put together a timeline for this airframe. Information taken from several sources.

 

Timeline “article 2013” / #962 / 61-7962

 

SR-71A 61-7962 - 2835.9 flight hours

 

29 Apr 1966 First flight SR-71A #962; Lockheed Test Pilot/RSO: Bill Weaver/ Steven Belgau

 

24 May 1966 SR-71A #962 Delivered to Beale AFB, CA, by USAF Crew: Douglas Nelson/ Russell Lewis, from Palmdale, CA

 

Sep 1968 Switched OL-8s Kadena Japan, SR-71s #974,#976,#978 with #962, #970, #980

 

28 Jul 1976 SR-71A #962 set an Altitude World Record of 85,068.997 ft, USAF Pilot/RSO: Bob Helt/Larry Elliott

 

6 Sep 1976 SR-71A SN 61-7962 arrived at DET 4. of the 9th SRW at Mildenhall, UK for a 12 day deployment.

 

7 sep 1976 61-7962 flew her first successful operational mission from DET 4 and performed a complete surveillance of the Barents Sea area with Pilot Richard Graham and RSO Don Emmons at the controls.

Moved on to DET 1 (Kadena, Japan)

 

1 jul 1980 from Kadena AB to Diego Garcia test facility with Pilot Bob Crowder and RSO Don Emmons at the controls.

To Beale AFB, sometime during her life at Beale AFB, she wore a unique skull & crossbones emblem and she was also seen with “Snoopy” asleep on top of his doghouse and at one point also had "Speedy Gonzales" Arriba...Arriba and Numero Uno stencilled.  

 

8 Aug 1985 SR barns at RAF Mildenhall used for the first time by SR-71A #962

 

21 Jan 1990 Last SR-71 #962 left Kadena AB(Det 1) for Beale AFB, at 0500, Tail art: A tombstone which read: "Det 1 RIP 1968-1990"

 

14 Feb 1990 Last flight of SR-71As #962 & #967, Beale AFB to Palmdale, CA, #962 was placed in flyable storage at AF Plant 2;

 

2001 After 11 years in storage at Lockheed's facility in Palmdale, California, SR-71 64-17962, acquired by the Imperial War Museum, was dismantled by a crew from Worldwide Aircraft Recovery before transport to Houston and onward sea-transit to Tilbury Docks en route for Duxford. A paperwork delay, and heavy snowstorms in the desert, have held up the move, but planned move the Mach 3 reconnaissance jet to Duxford in time for Easter 2001.

 

5 Apr 2001 arrival of #962 at Duxford IWM.

 

11 Apr 2001 #962 first time on public display at Duxford IWM.

 

27 Sep 2002, she was moved from her temporary location next to the Concorde, to the American War Museum hangar.

 

 

 

 



#20 HUD69

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Posted 05 December 2019 - 06:04 AM

To bring it back on topic, some more information on the seat:

 

The part number of the A-12 seat started with an “AQ”, and the part number of the SR-71 seat started with a “4AQ”

As can be seen on the below image, the seat is identified on that image as C-2 modified.

 

C2 mod.jpg

 

 

 

 



#21 HUD69

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Posted 05 December 2019 - 06:49 AM

Some more images (taken from the CIA files) dealing with this seat.

 

seat 1.JPG

 

hookup 2.JPG



#22 HUD69

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Posted 05 December 2019 - 08:25 AM

Regarding the tailnumber of the SR-71's see below more information.
 
As the tail numbers are of the format 17950/17984, some references have the seral numbers as 64-17950/17984 being assigned to Lockheed SR-71A. 
There is controversy about this. Numerous observers claim that these serials should actually be in FY 61 as 61-7950/61-7984.   
It seems more reasonable that the serials ought to be in FY 61, since the FY is usually the year in which the plane was ordered.  
The SR-71 was revealed in 1964.
 
 

tail017.jpg  tail017a.jpg

 

Both images kindly taken from: http://www.wvi.com/~...er/tail001.html

 




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