Today in History – May 24, 1975 – CIA pilot Ken Collins ejects from Lockheed A-12, official story says it’s an F-105.

24 May 1975 – Central Intelligence Agency pilot Ken Collins is forced to eject from Lockheed A-12, 60–6926, Article 123, during a subsonic test flight when aircraft stalls due to inaccurate data being displayed to the pilot.

The airframe impacted 14 miles (23 km) S of Wendover, Utah. In an official cover story, the plane is listed as a Republic F-105 Thunderchief.

The Cause was found to be pitot-static system failure due to icing. Up to 24 May the airframe had made 79 flights for a total time of 136:10 hours. (1)

Kenneth S. “Dutch 21” Collins was born in Leavenworth, Kansas. In 1950, he applied for the Air Force pilot’s training and in January 1951 completed Basic Flight Training at Goodfellow AFB, TX. In February of 1952, he completed Advanced Pilot’s Training at Vance AFB, OK.

Ken flew 118 combat missions while in the 15th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron (The Cottonpickers). He was then assigned to the 18th TRS at Shaw AFB, SC as an Instructor Pilot (RF-80, RF-84F). He flew the F-80, F-80C, RF-80, RF-86A, RF-84F. In 1959, Ken “returned to Shaw AFB, SC to the 20th TRS (RF-101) as a Flight Commander and Operations Officer.

In 1960, [he] “was contacted by the USAF Office of NASA requesting that I volunteer for testing for a classified space program. This evolved into the highly classified A-12 Oxcart Program. My first flight in the A-12 was on 6 February 1963. The A-12 experimental test phase lasted through the first months of 1967 followed by the operational deployment to Okinawa. I flew 6 A-12 combat missions being awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Intelligence Star from the Central Intelligence Agency. The A-12 program was cancelled [sic] and I elected an assignment to the 9th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing (SAC) at Beale AFB, CA to fly the SR-71 “Blackbird”. I became the 99th Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron Operations Officer, an Instructor Pilot, and Test Pilot in the SR-71. When promoted to Lt. Colonel in 1970, I was made the 1st SRS Commander and after promotion to Colonel, I was selected to be the 9th SR Wing Deputy Commander for Operations in 1972. Two years later I was reassigned to Headquarters, 15th Air Force, March AFB, California, and retired as Deputy Chief of Intelligence in 1980.”(1)

Source:(1) Wikiwand, (2) Roadrunners Internationale

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