“Malo periculosam, libertatem quam quietam servitutem.”
It might be a spotter vehicle for the U2s which also frequented Beale. Visibility was so limited from the Dragon Lady's cockpit that pursuit vehicles chased the plane as it prepared to touch down, and radioed wingtip position and height above the runway to the pilot. They also used SS396 and SS427 El Caminos for chase crews. I always hoped that one would pop up at the surplus vehicle sales, but never saw any there.
They got skarfed up before they ever went to market.
You might not want it after the Air Force got done using it. We had Camaros at deployed location where the U2 were operating, and those Camaros looked pretty clapped out. Interestingly they were convertibles… or had been converted into convertibles. Overall they looked pretty bad.
I stopped at Beale AFB in a USCG Helicopter in the early 80s. Got fuel, used the bathroom, ate our box lunches in the helo with armed guards sitting a few hundred feet away keeping us company.As we were leaving a U-2 came in to land, one of those El Caminos came out and was following along behind it. There was a guy standing in the back of the pickup, they went under the wing tip area and he attached a landing gear (strut?rod?) with wheel on it to the wing. They then backed off and repeated the operation to the other side, then the plane slowed down and used the attached wing wheels.
The outrigger landing gear for the U-2s were referred to as "pogos" when I was at Osan AB in the 80s.
...or a Firebird.
I was on Beale AFB in the mid-90's for reserve drill and got to watch a launch to the south like this. Effortless climbing turn to the left, and a sound you feel in your core as much as hear. Continuing turn to the north up over the Sierra mountains, disappearing from sight. Sound continues north, then swings west towards the coast, growing faint. A final faint distant boom as they go super sonic over the coast line out to sea.
A 1967 or 1968. 1969 had a sharp crease behind the front wheel opening.
There's a car in that photo?
Appropriately a Firebird.Klaus
I thought back then the Blackbird only left the hangar under the cover of night?
Doolittle Gate if I'm not mistaken. U2s are still there. Blackbirds are still missed.
I believe it's the Wheatland gate. You can't see any base housing from the Doolittle gate off of Hammonton Smartville Road. My family's ranch is just over the hill on the horizon of this photo. My wife's great grandfather purchased the first parcel of his future ranch in 1854. The ranch was eminent domained in 1942 to create Camp Beale and we were lucky to be able to buy 554 acres of the original 1034 acre ranch back in 1959 when 33,000 acres was declared surplus property. We still run cattle on the place today.
I was in a SAGE blockhouse in the late 60's and I was giving a tour to some "notables". We were up in the display area and the Captain at the display was describing what they did to the two unknown to me but important people. One of them looking at the display asked "and what is that". He was pointing to the display track dots of an unmarked flight coming down from Alaska and probably somewhere between the Canadian Border and Oregon. It didn't really stand out that well and I couldn't help wondering how he picked it out from all the other traffic on the scope. But the Captain didn't miss a beat and replied simply "that's one of those things we don't talk about. It was of course a '71 coming back from China.