Bodo, Norway- SR-71 Recovery Operations
 

 

#964 "Bodonian Express"

Editors Note: There are two pages that comprise the Bodo Recovery operation. They are Skip Hosler's recollections and the Image Archive of SR-71 photos taken at Bodo on the page you are now viewing. The second page consists of Norway newspaper articles that appeared complete with English translations.  A Link is provided below to the news articles.

The SR-71 operated from a variety of overseas locations. Although Bodo was not a Detachment, it was an emergency recovery base for European flights. The SR-71 landed five times at Norwegian bases during the time frame 1981-1985. I emailed Clarence "Skip" Hosler , SR-71 Crew Chief, that had recovered  #964 in August, 1981 and had previously mentioned the Bodo flights. I requested further information. 

Skip Hosler's reply (with permission to repost) follows:
 

#964 Recovery

12 August, 1981

Pilot, B.C. Thomas; RSO Jay Reid

         It was a recovery base. Three days of Hell.  I was crew chief on the first trip with Greg Blas. A1C Mathis was with me and the rest of my crew. We also took Gene Cowell .  I think it was in 1981. I have the Norwegian newspapers at home. The plane went down with an engine oil problem. I went to work at 6:45 AM on Friday, loaded aircraft equipment until noon and then went home and packed. Left Beale at 5:00 PM and flew to Pease AFB, NH. Got a burger and gas. Flew over the North Pole and landed just above the Artic Circle at 7:00 AM. We worked until 11:00 PM. Open ramp, no hanger. No food for the first day. We went back to the aircraft at 4:00 AM and started one engine. The second one hung and would not get to idle. TSgt Sullivan (Engines) had trouble with it the day before but he had got it going. The pilot couldn't do it. We ran out of gas. He had only enough fuel to get off and catch a tanker that was waiting. One engine would not start with ground turbine. The tanker that was waiting landed overweight and ran off the over-run at Bodo. He proceeded to sink into the asphalt on the over-run and had to be pulled out. We did the Hot Ground Refuel from the tanker. We had to fly in a Buick start cart and even that had some problems. We had one cart from Beale and one from England that was flying around in a C-130 in case we had problems. The engine start hung the first time, I went from a motor to an engine start. That was a bad move.  The bearing carrier on the top of the start cart probe came loose and started smoking. We all just ducked down and let it run. It was a nice bright red but it got the engine started. We went from there to England. The start cart from England had been rebuilt and they wanted to check it out. When we went to do the start, AGE  had assembled part of it backwards and the probe turned in reverse. That would have been fun to explain. I think there was another recovery a few years after that. The tail art "Bodonain Express" complete with the crab under the wording was put on by AIC Mathis or a guy named Kane. I was also in Nebraska a few months back and went to the new SAC museum. They did a nice job restoring the SR-71 #964 there on display.
Skip

Bodo Norway  SR-71 Image Archive

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SR #964 lands in Bodo Norway on 14 August 1981
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Crew with Norway Newspapers 
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Maintenance at work
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Pilot and buddy crew prior to departure
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Nacelles are covered for weather protection
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Crew and the Blackbird
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Crew is strapped in by PSD Technicians
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Crew performs Preflight Checks
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Pilot receives final crew briefing
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Final PSD Checks
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Canopies readied for closure
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Blackbird ready to taxi out
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Blackbird taxis out of chocks
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#964 Taxi for takeoff
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Taxi to parallel runway
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Taxi for takeoff, C-130 loaded with maintenance equipment
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Maintenance crews watch the takeoff
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Takeoff Rotation
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Airborne, gear retraction
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Airborne
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Blackbird departs for Mildenhall, England
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KC-135Q Tanker is loaded with Maintenance personnel and equipment

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The Majestic Fjords of Norway

#964 "Bodonian Express" (at Mildenhall, UK)

(Photo: Eric Simonsen)

Editors Note: #964 departed Bodo on 16 August, 1981 and flew subsonic to Mildenhall RAF, United Kingdom. Successful operational missions were subsequently flown in the vicinity of Poland and #964 returned to Beale AFB in California on 06 November, 1981.


The Second Emergency Landing at Bodo, Norway:

05 April 1984 SR-71 #974 

(Photo courtesy Olav Aamoth, Bodo Norway, Regional Air Force Commander, 1985)

In an email from Olav Aamoth dated 7/10/2004, he recalls some of the activities during these two SR-71 visits to Bodo Norway:

As for the SR 71 landings at Bodø. I was the Wing Commander at the time of the first one and the visit certainly caused a stir and some commotion. We still remembered the U 2 affair and had no desire to have a repeat of that affair. The Wing Commander at the time was demoted for just being there! The CIA and their contacts did not cause us any joy with their cloak and dagger game! However with the SR 71 it was a genuine aircraft problem and we were able to handle it. I well remember the starting problems and the unhappy tanker when he landed overweight and ended up in the overrun. The KC 135 pilot was most appreciative when I told him there would be no Norwegian board of Inquiry! When the second visit took place, I was the Regional Air Force Commander and went down to the base to see the crew. When I came up to the cockpit I could greet an old friend, same pilot as last time, he gave me a grin and said "I didn't do it on purpose, Sir" They were very nice people and I still have a signed picture of the SR 71 in my den. I attach one of my slides from the second visit, I have many more. If you would like more information I will do my best to help. I looked at your Web sites on the A 12, SR-71, Area 51 and found them very interesting. I will certainly revisit them regularly.

Olav Aamoth

Norway Regional Air Force Commander, 1985

In an additional email dated 7/22/2004, Olav recalls the landings at Bodo:

I dug up some more slides from the two visits to Bodø,  #964 in August, 1981 and  #974 in April, 1984. Thinking about the visit in August 1981, it came as a surprise not only to us at Bodø AFB. On the morning in question I was in my office, which is overlooking the runway, when there was a call on the line from the tower. They informed me that an unidentified aircraft with some kind of emergency was on final to runway 08. I turned and looked out to the west and saw a very unusual visitor on short finals. I recognized it immediately as a Blackbird. My next actions were to direct the aircraft to our western squadron area and scramble the military police to cordon off the area, I then called the US embassy in Oslo and asked for my old friend the air attaché. When he got on the line I asked "Do you know what I am looking at?" He admitted he had no idea. I told him: "I am looking at an SR 71 taxiing past my window" I well remember his response "You are looking at what! !!!" He got on the next airplane up to Bodø and arrived later in the afternoon. I then got into my car and went down to the flight line to meet our unexpected visitors. Although this was the first landing of an SR 71 in Norway, fighters from Bodø on routine patrols had seen them in the distance when they were down at lower altitudes to refuel. I enclose a slide of such a meeting. They were friendlies operating well outside our area in international waters, we were much more interested in all the Soviet activity that operated in the areas around our Northern coast line. On the average in those years we had several hundred intercepts every year. We got to "know" some of them rather well since we saw them so often. A typical target is enclosed. Some of them were also high speed and high altitude airplanes. I enclose a slide from one intercept where one of our F-104's managed to zoom up and get a picture of a FOXBAT recce airplane. They normally came past our area at Mach 2.5 plus and at high altitude, but they had nothing like the range of the Blackbird.

I hope this may be of interest to you. I enjoy your web pages. Those fascinating years deserve to be remembered by future generations.

Sincerely
Olav 

Olav Aamoth SR-71 Photo Archive (Norway)

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#964 at Bodo 1981

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#964 at Bodo 1981

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#964 at Bodo 1981
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#964 at Bodo 1981
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#964 at Bodo 1981
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#964 Takeoff at Bodo 1981
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#974 at Bodo 1984
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#974 at Bodo 1984
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#974 Takeoff at Bodo 1984
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Refueling near Norway
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Soviet Mig 25 Foxbat
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Soviet AN12 Transport Tailgunner

 


 

On 29 April, 1985 SR-71 #979 diverted to Bodo, Norway for maintenance problems. The aircraft departed Bodo three days later on 01 May 1985. (Arthur Enck).


 

There were five total landings in Norway from 1981 to 1985. The following is an accurate accounting of the SR-71 Emergency landings in Norway. To read the data here is what it means:

Tail Number / FSR's name / Destination / Arrival Date / Departure Date / #of days / Reason for landing 

#964 Cook, Jim Bodo Norway 12 Aug 1981 16 Aug 1981 4 Recovery

#980 Troll, Ray SL-9-Andoya Norway 01 Feb 1982 04 Feb 1982 4 Recovery

#974 Chiappetta, Tony Bodo, (SC-9) Norway 08 May 1982 09 May 1982 2 Recovery

#974 Huddy, Tom Bodo Norway 05 April 1984 06 April 1984 2 Recovery 

#979 Enck, Arthur Bodo Norway 29 April 1985 01 May 1985 3 Recovery

The following information was researched and provided by Bjarte Olsen, Noway:

#964 landing on Stavanger Airport Sola with engine failure on 20 February 1987.  Sola Air Station got a rare visitor. An American photo recon aircraft, the SR-71 Blackbird had to make an emergency diversion to Sola. It rested in a hangar there for a two weeks. A C5 brought in a new engine and some mechanics to fix it up. Then a KC-135 came with some JP-7 fuel and they flew off to Mildenhall .


A complete listing of all landings at bases from 1966 to 1986 other than Beale AFB, CA is available at this URL:

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


 

Take me to the Bodo Newspaper Articles on the Arrival of #964

Return me to the Theaters of Operation Page

 

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First Created: April 15, 1996 - Last Revised: July 11, 2004
Copyright © 1996 Leland R. Haynes     Email: sr71webmaster@wvi.com
 All rights reserved. 

Data and Photos derived from the "Auburn Files" 

Photo Archive of #974 and #964 at Bodo courtesy of Olav Aamoth, Norway  Regional Air Force Commander in 1985. Thank you, Sir for your contribution

 

Page #52 of the "SR-71 Blackbirds"