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  1. Last weekend I was able to add a very nice flight suit to my collection. It is a white Lockheed patched flight suit, with a Q4-1972 date. This particular suit was used by Benjamin Higgins. As a civilian (CIA?) he flew his first solo flight on the U-2 out of Groom Lake on April 5, 1968. Unfortunately no nametag available for this mint condition suit. If anyone has more information on his career, please let me know. Cheers Ron
  2. This week I was able to add to my collection a Flight Suits Ltd. flight suit, that belonged to Frederick (Fred) Albert Madenwald III. Born in 1951 he passed away in 2012. During 2016 a lot of his personal items, related to his flight test career were on sale. A pity to see that one man’s legacy has been torn apart and spread around the globe. I hope to track his blue USMC marked flight test suit that was also for sale several years ago. In his career, Mr. Fred Madenwald was the F-35 Integrated Test Force (ITF) Site Manager & Test Director with Lockheed Martin at Edwards AFB. Throughout his career, he led Flight Test teams for different programs such as F-15E, F/A-18, V-22, & 767 Tanker, to name a few. He directed Flight Test at NAS China Lake, Eglin AFB, Edwards AFB, NAS Pax River, and St. Louis. Mr. Madenwald has served 22 years in the USMC & the USMC Reserves. He has flown the A-4, F-4 and F/A-18A. He completed a Master's degree in Aerospace Engineering, followed by more than 20 years of Marine Corps service as a fighter pilot and a test pilot. He served two tours as an instructor pilot at Patuxent River Naval Air Station Test Pilot School. After retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel, Fred worked another 20 years as an experimental test pilot and flight test director. He was honoured by being elected as Fellow in the Society of Experimental Test Pilots. In the full span of his career, he logged over 4,000 hours in more than 11 different tactical aircraft He is well known for piloting the McDonnell Douglas' F/A-18E Super Hornet abbreviated first flight from St. Louis Lambert International Airport on Nov. 29 1995. The aircraft was flown to a maximum altitude of 10,000 ft. and speed of 250 kt. An environmental control system caution light cut the planned 70-min. flight short to 26 min. Fred was also involved in flight testing the Finish Air Force F/A-18's.
  3. 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. Both images kindly taken from: http://www.wvi.com/~sr71webmaster/tail001.html
  4. Some more images (taken from the CIA files) dealing with this seat.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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. Cheers Ron
  8. Some more information out of a 1984 USAF study guide: To make things a bit more complicated, tells this manual that by adding a dual visor (Bungee) setup to the HGU-48/P it becomes HGU-55/P by designation. Cheers, Ron
  9. Another study (Final Report Project ADC/73AD/62- 29 A/P22S-3 Suit Controller) dated january 1963, was done on the combination A/P22S-3 suit and B-5 parachute. During another project, a fitting broke from the suit controller on a larger size suit by a parachute harness. The break stopped the flow of oxygen for breating and suit inflation. A fix for this issue was proposed and consisted of adjusting the B-5 harness to a higher than average index number (making it wider/larger) when wearing an A/P22S-3 suit. Furthermore, the suit controller was rotated clockwise by 60 degrees. (One mounting screw hole) Testing was done by use in the pressure chamber, suspension and jump test, a simulator flight and two flights in a F-106B. All completed satisfactory. Hard to see in this image, but it shows the controller on the front of the suit and the B-5 harness. Cheers Ron
  10. Some more on the topic of the A/P22S-3 suit, during march 1964, the USAF School of Aerospace Medicine, Aerospace Medical Division (AFSC) at Brooks AFB, studied an "Urine evacuating system for use in full-pressure suits" This was done to prepare for manned space flight, several tests were conducted and all succesfull. See this schematic for the systems way of working. Cheers Ron
  11. This one was used by the Danish Air Force by the way, also the Dutch flew with modified examples. Cheers Ron
  12. Currently on Ebay a nice example of the HGU-22 shell configured to light weight / HGU-55/P. (USAF T.O. 14P3-4-112 explains how to modify an HGU-2A to HGU-55 configuration.) See the image of the helmet. Note the holes for the drawstrings and the lack of spacer behind the bayonet receiver. Cheers Ron
  13. Found some more information on the US Navy version, see the images from an old manual. The suit called the C-1AM and the helmet is mentioned as being the SPD-21 helmet. Cheers, Ron
  14. Could indeed be a C-1a suit, but the parts of the suit that could clearify that, are obscured... Good observation on the harness!
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