A-12 number 06937 had been "displayed" at the Lockheed Martin Skunk Works in Palmdale, California behind a 12' chain link fence, visible from the guard's station at the entrance but off limits to the public. In February of 2000 she was transported by WorldWide Aircraft Recovery to her new home at the Southern Museum of Flight in Birmingham, Alabama. Of the 13 A-12s originally built, only 8 remain and now 3 of them are in Alabama--only California has as many.
There were two Blackbirds designated as 06937. This A-12 (Lockheed/CIA article #131, USAF serial number 60-6937) on display in Birmingham was the first.
"....It was the first A-12 to be deployed
to Kadena AFB in Operation Black Shield. It also flew the first of 29
A-12 operational missions over North Vietnam May 22, 1967, as well as the
last operational Black Shield mission, in support of the AGER-2 USS Pueblo
May 8, 1968. It made its last flight June 21, 1968, the final [of any] A-12
flight. This aircraft flew just 345.75 hours in 177 flights, while the
entire A-12 fleet had flown only 4,804.38 hours in 2,083 flights." - William J. Simone, Lockheed Skunk Works Star, March 26, 1999 (quoted with permission)
photo by Charles W. Arrington courtesy of John Stone
60-6937 as she is now displayed at the Southern Museum of Flight
"The Other 937"
In 1971, SR-71 #17951 was loaned to NASA to complete the testing of the YF-12A program (2 of the 3 YF-12s had already been lost in accidents). 951 was temporarily redesignated as a YF-12C (there being no B-model trainer for the YF-12 series) and given NASA#937. This number was chosen for 2 reasons:
On October 27, 1978, she was returned to the Air Force and given back her old number. She logged her final flight two months later, on December 22, 1978.
- the Air Force didn't want anyone to know that
NASA had an honest-to-goodness SR-71 in their possession, and made up the "YF-12C" designation to hide the fact. Since the other 3 YF-12s bore numbers 934, 935, and 936, it made sense that the next aircraft in the series would be numbered 937.
- The entire A-12 program was classified until 1982, and since no one would have known there was another 937, there would be no confusion.
More photos are available at NASA's web site and our NASA/Dryden Mirror Page.
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