61-7957 was outfitted as a trainer.
Lt. Col. Al Hichew and his “student” Col. Bill Hayes 100th sortie 17 March 1967 Clyde Shoemaker and Larry Devall “solo” 9 May 1967 Gen. Bruce Holloway VIP flight 4 Oct 1967 LtGen William Martin VIP flight 20 Oct 1967
Thursday, 11 January 1968
957 was lost on Thursday, January 11, 1968. One of only 2 SR-71B trainer models built (the other being #956), she crashed just a few miles from Beale AFB after limping home almost 1000 miles from where she suffered double generator failure over Washington State. Both student pilot (SP) Capt. David Fruehauf and his instructor (IP) Lt. Col. Robert “Gray” Sowers ejected safely.
Don Person, crew chief of #969, witnessed the accident; he recalls:
".... There were two SR-71's flying that afternoon, 957 and my aircraft 969. An emergency was declared, but we did not know which aircraft had trouble. We were waiting on the taxiway looking north and saw an SR-71 approaching. About 2 miles out it took a pitch up and we then saw two chutes. Aircraft crashed in the dreager ponds where gold was mined. My heart was thumping as you can imagine, when another SR-71 came into view and it was an "A" model, 969. Boy was I glad to see it land...."
A year later, a replacement trainer was built from the aft end of YF-12 #934 and the SR-71 static model, assigned number 981 and designated as an SR-71C.
Crashed near Beale AFB, CA, 11 January 1968