FALLBROOK – Frank Hainey of the Fallbrook Vintage Car Club recently organized a tour of the March Air Force Base museum. He arranged the tour through retired Lt. Col. Rod Dyckman, a local resident who at one time was the commander of the last SR71 squadron to experience duty before ending this spy program. Invited were members of the Fallbrook Vintage Car Club, the Shafters Car Club as well as a few friends and relatives of the two clubs. A total of 45 people were able to make the trip.
Dyckman conducted the tour which began with viewing many of the war planes staged outside the museum building including the F4 used during Vietnam and the workhorse B-52, both of which he personally flew during his long career. The group then proceeded into the museum where Dyckman gave a slide presentation on the famous SR71 Blackbird spy plane.
The Blackbird was designed as a high speed (2,300 mph) and high elevation flying photo reconnaissance spy plane. It still holds the title of the world’s fastest airship. Dyckman flew the plane on missions all over the world during the cold war. Relating his first hand experience and intimate knowledge of flying the SR71 provided a special treat for the group.
After the slide presentation, he answered questions asked by the group and then took them into the main hanger of the museum where the SR71 was on display. The group learned from Dyckman some of the many features of the SR71 that made the airship so unique and provided it with the ability to fly so fast.
During the last segment of the tour, members were allowed to climb a special stairway (two at a time) to look into the cockpit of the SR71 and listen to Dyckman describe its many interior features and control instruments. At its conclusion, the group showered Dyckman with much applause and compliments for conducting such an outstanding tour.