60-6929 accrued 105 flights and 169.2 hours of flying time.
60-6929 was outfitted for operational use.
Tuesday, December 28, 1965
929 was lost on Tuesday, December 28, 1965. The newly-installed SAS (Stability Augmentation System) had the yaw and pitch gyros wired backwards, causing the airplane to lose complete control just seconds after takeoff from Groom Dry Lake; pilot Mele Vojvodich ejected safely at an altitude of 150 feet. DCI McCone ordered an investigation into the possibility of sabotage. Simple negligence was found to be the cause, and Lockheed instituted stringent corrective measures (all future SAS installations used polarized connectors). As with the previous crash, there was no publicity about the incident.
Amid increasing concern that the A-12 would not be ready in time for its planned mission to East Asia (Operation BLACK SHIELD), the senior CIA project officer, John Parangosky, met with Kelly Johnson on 3 August 1965 to discuss the problems. They had a frank discussion, and Johnson decided that he needed to assign more top-level supervisors to OXCART and move to the test site himself full time if the A-12’s remaining flaws were to be worked out expeditiously. He wrote in his log that:
I uncovered many items of a managerial, materiel and design nature... I had meetings with vendors to improve their operation... Changed supervision and had daily talks with them, going over in detail all problems on the aircraft... Increased the supervision in the electrical group by 500%...We tightened up inspection procedures a great deal and made inspection stick. It appears that the problems are one-third due to bum engineering...The addition of so many systems to the A-12 has greatly complicated the problems, but we did solve the overall problem.
Crashed seconds after takeoff from Groom Dry Lake, Tuesday, December 28, 1965