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SR-71's at RAF Akrotiri

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Drinkmat
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SR-71's at RAF Akrotiri

Post by Drinkmat » Sat Nov 14, 2020 12:07 pm

Just being curious here, but on the Mercedes-Benz Club forum, a member has made a claim to have seen SR-71 aircraft operating from Akrotiri when he was based there. He wrote that they landed in darkness, took off around mid-day and went near vertical on t/o, lighting the afterburners.

I don't contribute to the M-B forum, so can't ask him for any more detail, but my initial thoughts are that he's writing either rubbish or relying on false memories or. I'm familiar with the U2/TR-1 operating from Akrotiri, and that they tend to climb steeply on t/o, but have never heard or read of an SR-71 flying in or out of the base.

Does anyone know if the jet ever used Akrotiri?

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Cole
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Re: SR-71's at RAF Akrotiri

Post by Cole » Sat Nov 14, 2020 12:13 pm

Not sure why you would need to base a SR71 any closer to a target.. its not like anything is a long commute doing mach 3 :P
Dudley, West Midlands

CHINOOKER
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Re: SR-71's at RAF Akrotiri

Post by CHINOOKER » Sat Nov 14, 2020 12:21 pm

Having spent many a time watching SR-71s at Mildenhall,I cannot recall one ever taking off and going "near vertical". More often than not it was a reasonable climb rate at speed. Assume that the M-B forum member is confusing it with the U-2

Dave Smith
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Re: SR-71's at RAF Akrotiri

Post by Dave Smith » Sat Nov 14, 2020 2:19 pm

Never seen any mention of Ops from Cyprus - arse and elbow recognition problem.

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Velvet Glove
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Re: SR-71's at RAF Akrotiri

Post by Velvet Glove » Sat Nov 14, 2020 2:34 pm

.

Don't think it had the "thrust to weight" ratio. I can understand such distorted recollections though depending on one's viewing angle and distance.

Image

Superb iconic aircraft. I really miss seeing it over East Anglia

You might get a vertical climb out of THIS SR-71 though ...
https://youtu.be/DzLv4hPgvHA

And for a bit of nostalgia (Mildenhall, 1984) I was there somewhere ...
https://youtu.be/2-gMjITxphE

.

raptor9
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Re: SR-71's at RAF Akrotiri

Post by raptor9 » Sat Nov 14, 2020 4:51 pm

No mention of this in Col. Graham's books. Have spoken to him on several occasions, and it seems that following T/O, the first requirement was to team up with the K.C.135Q before starting the mission. No need to go vertical for that, and agree with previous poster that it almost certainly would not go vertical immediately after take-off, even if it could. I, however, would suggest that every SR.71 take-off was with afterburner, otherwise acceleration would probably a curvature of the earth event!!!. :)

page_verify
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Re: SR-71's at RAF Akrotiri

Post by page_verify » Sat Nov 14, 2020 7:33 pm

Why would an SR-71 need to depart vertically? Why would it need to throw the useful laws of aerodynamics in the bin and go it's own jet-powered way? Sorry chap, that person was just surprised at seeing a U-2 launch and even that doesn't even take off vertically, not even anywhere close to vertical, even less so since one was lost to fuel starvation on departure caused by the nose being too high.

quid21
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Re: SR-71's at RAF Akrotiri

Post by quid21 » Sun Nov 15, 2020 4:21 pm

May have been a divert base, but don't recall reading about any diversions there. Diverts from Det 4 seem to mostly have gone into Bodo, Norway a couple of times, Andoya, Norway once and Germany (Ramstein) once - I'd say the story is probably not true, whatever he saw, was unlikely to be an SR.

Diversions:

http://www.wvi.com/~sr71webmaster/triplog66_86.htm

There was a mission type from Kadena that was not refuelled and was referred to as a "Rocket Ride" with a single loop over the DMZ. Total mission length about an hour take-off to landing.

Apparently crews would try to beat the climb to high mach high altitude times with about 15 minutes from take off to Mach 3.

red leader
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Re: SR-71's at RAF Akrotiri

Post by red leader » Sun Nov 15, 2020 5:18 pm

My next door neighbor was stationed in Cyprus in the army and he told me he saw an SR 71 there too. He made no reference to a near vertical take off but said it was very loud and memorable. I'd rate him as a credible eye witness.

luxto
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Re: SR-71's at RAF Akrotiri

Post by luxto » Sun Nov 15, 2020 7:10 pm

Thanks for that Diversion's link quid21. Adding to the 1974 Farnborough reference, the SR repositioned to Mildenhall and returned to Beale from there.

As for one being seen at Akrotiri I'm very sceptical, unless a date or serial is offered which can be checked. I remember one time a London Mil controller talking about a "Blackbird" having just gone into Upper Heyford. His "Blackbird" turned out to be a U-2 so even the "professionals " can get it wrong sometimes.

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Re: SR-71's at RAF Akrotiri

Post by mushbuster » Sun Nov 15, 2020 8:27 pm

Does 979s visit to IAT in 85 (and 967s in 89) count as a diversion as suggested in the linked text, it was there for at least 4 days and included a maintenance team plus a whole bunch of support equipment? If so its missing data.
However, looks like a case of the "SR71" Dragon Lady at Akrotiri to me, the OPs quoted comment suggests the source saw it more than once.

luxto
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Re: SR-71's at RAF Akrotiri

Post by luxto » Sun Nov 15, 2020 9:01 pm

mushbuster wrote:
Sun Nov 15, 2020 8:27 pm
Does 979s visit to IAT in 85 (and 967s in 89) count as a diversion as suggested in the linked text, it was there for at least 4 days and included a maintenance team plus a whole bunch of support equipment? If so its missing data.
However, looks like a case of the "SR71" Dragon Lady at Akrotiri to me, the OPs quoted comment suggests the source saw it more than once.
They also left out 980's IAT visit to Greenham Common 22 - 26 July'83.

red leader
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Re: SR-71's at RAF Akrotiri

Post by red leader » Sun Nov 15, 2020 9:25 pm

The problem is that an sr71 looks nothing like s U2 apart from being both black. Mistaken isn't a given.

Sheikhy
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Re: SR-71's at RAF Akrotiri

Post by Sheikhy » Sun Nov 15, 2020 11:07 pm

red leader wrote:
Sun Nov 15, 2020 9:25 pm
The problem is that an sr71 looks nothing like s U2 apart from being both black. Mistaken isn't a given.
I don't think it is a case of confusing the two different planes; it's more likely a case of confusing the two different NAMES.

As in "I saw a noisy black spy plane with long straight wings - it was probably one of those SR-71 Blackbird thingies"
Perhaps it was a U-2?
"Nah, don't be daft - that's the name of a rock group....."

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Morseman
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Re: SR-71's at RAF Akrotiri

Post by Morseman » Mon Nov 16, 2020 9:25 am

Having served two tours in Cyprus, never seen or heard of the SR71 on base. Used to watch the U2 take off and land on a regular basis and yes it did go near vertical infact more spiral. This ceased after it unfortunately crashed during takeoff. That morning it was a late takeoff and I was off night shift and sleeping. Woken by the initial engine run followed by the blast, very sad. No one talked about the aircraft until it was on the BBC News that lunchtime. My number two was a U2 pilot in the Kart Club and we couldn't even get a photo taken. We had an Angling/Subaqua club party once and Men in Black appeared and confiscated film from some cameras.

quid21
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Re: SR-71's at RAF Akrotiri

Post by quid21 » Wed Nov 18, 2020 10:09 am

mushbuster wrote:
Sun Nov 15, 2020 8:27 pm
Does 979s visit to IAT in 85 (and 967s in 89) count as a diversion as suggested in the linked text, it was there for at least 4 days and included a maintenance team plus a whole bunch of support equipment? If so its missing data.
However, looks like a case of the "SR71" Dragon Lady at Akrotiri to me, the OPs quoted comment suggests the source saw it more than once.
Data from 1987 to 1990 wasn't available when it was transcribed. As to missing data, well, I don't have the answers, but could it have been relocated due to planned runway work or something else? It wouldn't be classed as a diversion then - but who knows!! Not me!

Sadly the guy who compiled the list, Leland Haynes who was a Crew Chief on the SR and ran that website passed away a few years back.

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effects
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Re: SR-71's at RAF Akrotiri

Post by effects » Wed Nov 18, 2020 10:42 pm

Too much kokinelli me thinks.

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Viper28
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Re: SR-71's at RAF Akrotiri

Post by Viper28 » Wed Nov 25, 2020 6:17 pm

Its no secret that the USAF operated SR71's over Israel / Egypt during and after the Yom Kippur War in 1973. They operated directly from CONUS so would not have come under Det-4 out of Mildenhall. It is therefore possible that if one had an issue or there was an issue with its KC135Q that Akrotiri would be a logical diversion field at that end of the Med.

atech
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Re: SR-71's at RAF Akrotiri

Post by atech » Thu Nov 26, 2020 8:27 am

The machine that had a problem after its run over the Yom Kippur in 1973 diverted into Upper Heyford. I dont remember the serial number as my log books are long gone, first SR71 I ever saw.

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Re: SR-71's at RAF Akrotiri

Post by ColintheCaterpillar » Thu Nov 26, 2020 8:58 am

Simply by the fact he said the take off was “near vertical” (layman’s language for “quite steep”), he’s obviously talking about the U-2. :D

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