SR71 Blackbird, a great read [Archive] - Glock Talk

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harlenm
10-10-2012, 19:48
http://t.co/yTNNzTJR

Plus some cool pictures.

JBnTX
10-10-2012, 19:55
I remember watching them take off at Kadena AFB on Okinawa in the early 1970's.

Awesome airplane.

Powers77
10-10-2012, 19:58
The author, Major Brian Shul, spoke at one of our corporate events a year or so ago.
If you ever get a chance to hear him speak, DO IT. He has an amazing story and tells it very well.
Probably the best speaker I've ever heard and I've seen a few.
Very motivational speaker.

HollowHead
10-10-2012, 19:58
Considering Kelly Johnson designed this with a slide-rule, just imagine what we have now that's secret. HH

rick458
10-10-2012, 20:06
I wonder just how smart Kelly Johnson was.

scwine
10-10-2012, 20:10
Read those excerpts from his book a few years back. Pretty cool. I just cant seem to spend $425 for it though. Sled Driver : Flying the World's Fastest Jet: Brian Shul: 9780929823089: Amazon.com: Books@@AMEPARAM@@http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41Ip60XBEcL.@@AMEPARAM@@41Ip60XBEcL

Indianashooter
10-10-2012, 20:12
Great read! I believe that the Air Force never should have retired it. The only thing I can think of is they must have developed a usable scram jet.

JMS
10-10-2012, 20:46
Check out the new Air and Space Museum in VA, they have the Blackbird along with the Concorde, etc, etc, etc. I'm not even into planes and I felt like a kid in a candy shop.

jfost11
10-10-2012, 20:58
The SR-71 is probably the greatest leap forward in aviation history since the wright brothers. It's development spawned so many other creations. Sled Driver is the one SR-71 book I still want. I have several. I have lived a few minutes away from tail number 968 at the VA Aviation Museum for five years.
I attended an annual SR-71 forum there in 2008 when Blair Bozek was a guest speaker. Bozek was the RSO on board the last Blackbird to be lost due to mechanical failure in '89, number 974. In case you were wondering what one who has gone over 3 and a half times the speed of sound drives, the answer would be a new BMW M3.
Here's one of my favorite pilot stories.
http://wesclark.com/burbank/sr_71.html

686Owner
10-10-2012, 21:07
Not about the Sr-71 Specifically, but the book Skunkworks written by Ben Rich is a great read. Talks some about the U2, SR71 (which he designed the intakes for) as well as the F117 and even mentions the F22.

AK_Stick
10-10-2012, 21:14
Would have been a mean fighter if it had panned out.

janice6
10-10-2012, 21:36
I love reading that story. I can imagine how it felt.

As for the genius of Kelly Johnson. The difference between a good Engineer and a great engineer is how much they love what they do.

AtlantaR6
10-10-2012, 21:38
The author, Major Brian Shul, spoke at one of our corporate events a year or so ago.
If you ever get a chance to hear him speak, DO IT. He has an amazing story and tells it very well.
Probably the best speaker I've ever heard and I've seen a few.
Very motivational speaker.

Yeah, I heard him speak last month. Great speaker although too many pics.

GVFlyer
10-10-2012, 21:39
Just an observation - I went to the Amazon link, then read the reviews for Sled Driver. The first was from the author of the book, Brian Shul. In it, he describes Shiela K. O'Grady, who is listed as a co-author, as being merely a typist and asks Amazon to make that correction.

While she may have been a typist for his manuscript, Major O'Grady was also the Chief of Stan-Eval for the T-38 ACE program at Beale Air Force Base and is quite an accomplished aviator in her own right.

IvanVic
10-10-2012, 21:43
Read this a few months ago - it's awesome... that book can be bought for cheaper than $400, BTW.


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HollowHead
10-10-2012, 21:43
Does anyone know the loss rate? I heard it was in excess of 60%...:dunno: HH

GVFlyer
10-10-2012, 21:46
Does anyone know the loss rate? I heard it was in excess of 60%...:dunno: HH

http://www.sr-71.org/blackbird/losses.php

robin303
10-10-2012, 21:48
real (allegedly) funny air traffic controllers and pilots conversations


From AW (Mar 2010):
I met an SR-71 pilot a few years ago. (SR-71 was the USAAF advanced 'stealth' reconnaissance aircraft known as the Blackbird). He told me this story from his first flight with a new co-pilot: An SR-71 and crew were flying over Southern California when a bug smasher came on the airwaves in a dorky voice: Cessna 152: Ground Control, What's my airspeed? Ground Control: 100 at FL 100. A few moments later a cocky voice came on: Mooney M20: Ground Control, What's MY airspeed? Ground Control: 240 at FL 240. By this time the SR pilot was seething, but since communications were the duty of his new co-pilot, he remained silent. A few moments of radio silence passed, and in the calmest voice imaginable the co-pilot keyed in: SR-71: Ground Control, What's our airspeed? Ground Control: 1875 at FL 800. There were no more speed checks called in that afternoon, and the pilot knew that he had a cool partner in the back seat.

AK_Stick
10-10-2012, 21:48
IIRC, there were something like 12 lost from a fleet of 30 or 32 airframes.

my math is a little rusty, but thats like 37% or so if those numbers are infact true.

mikeflys1
10-10-2012, 21:56
There were a lot of things we couldn’t do in an SR-71, but we were the fastest guys on the block and loved reminding our fellow aviators of this fact. People often asked us if, because of this fact, it was fun to fly the jet. Fun would not be the first word I would use to describe flying this plane. Intense, maybe. Even cerebral. But there was one day in our Sled experience when we would have to say that it was pure fun to be the fastest guys out there, at least for a moment.

It occurred when Walt and I were flying our final training sortie. We needed 100 hours in the jet to complete our training and attain Mission Ready status. Somewhere over Colorado we had passed the century mark. We had made the turn in Arizona and the jet was performing flawlessly. My gauges were wired in the front seat and we were starting to feel pretty good about ourselves, not only because we would soon be flying real missions but because we had gained a great deal of confidence in the plane in the past ten months. Ripping across the barren deserts 80,000 feet below us, I could already see the coast of California from the Arizona border. I was, finally, after many humbling months of simulators and study, ahead of the jet.

I was beginning to feel a bit sorry for Walter in the back seat. There he was, with no really good view of the incredible sights before us, tasked with monitoring four different radios. This was good practice for him for when we began flying real missions, when a priority transmission from headquarters could be vital. It had been difficult, too, for me to relinquish control of the radios, as during my entire flying career I had controlled my own transmissions. But it was part of the division of duties in this plane and I had adjusted to it. I still insisted on talking on the radio while we were on the ground, however. Walt was so good at many things, but he couldn't match my expertise at sounding smooth on the radios, a skill that had been honed sharply with years in fighter squadrons where the slightest radio miscue was grounds for beheading. He understood that and allowed me that luxury. Just to get a sense of what Walt had to contend with, I pulled the radio toggle switches and monitored the frequencies along with him. The predominant radio chatter was from Los Angeles Center, far below us, controlling daily traffic in their sector. While they had us on their scope (albeit briefly), we were in uncontrolled airspace and normally would not talk to them unless we needed to descend into their airspace.

We listened as the shaky voice of a lone Cessna pilot asked Center for a readout of his ground speed.

Center replied: “November Charlie 175, I’m showing you at ninety knots on the ground.”

Now the thing to understand about Center controllers, was that whether they were talking to a rookie pilot in a Cessna, or to Air Force One, they always spoke in the exact same, calm, deep, professional, tone that made one feel important. I referred to it as the “HoustonCenterVoice.” I have always felt that after years of seeing documentaries on this country’s space program and listening to the calm and distinct voice of the HoustonCenterControllers, that all other controllers since then wanted to sound like that … and that they basically did. And it didn’t matter what sector of the country we would be flying in, it always seemed like the same guy was talking. Over the years that tone of voice had become somewhat of a comforting sound to pilots everywhere. Conversely, over the years, pilots always wanted to ensure that, when transmitting, they sounded like Chuck Yeager, or at least like John Wayne. Better to die than sound bad on the radios.

Just moments after the Cessna’s inquiry, a Twin Beech piped up on frequency, in a rather superior tone, asking for his ground speed.

“Ah, Twin Beach: I have you at one hundred and twenty-five knots of ground speed.”

Boy, I thought, the Beechcraft really must think he is dazzling his Cessna brethren.

Then out of the blue, a Navy F-18 pilot out of NAS Lemoore came up on frequency. You knew right away it was a Navy jock because he sounded very cool on the radios. “Center, Dusty 52 ground speed check.”

F-18 Hornet (Navy)Before Center could reply, I’m thinking to myself, hey, Dusty 52 has a ground speed indicator in that million dollar cockpit, so why is he asking Center for a readout? Then I got it —ol’ Dusty here is making sure that every bug smasher from Mount Whitney to the Mojave knows what true speed is. He’s the fastest dude in the valley today, and he just wants everyone to know how much fun he is having in his new Hornet.

And the reply, always with that same, calm, voice, with more distinct alliteration than emotion:

“Dusty 52, Center, we have you at 620 on the ground.”

And I thought to myself, is this a ripe situation, or what? As my hand instinctively reached for the mic button, I had to remind myself that Walt was in control of the radios. Still, I thought, it must be done —in mere seconds we’ll be out of the sector and the opportunity will be lost. That Hornet must die, and die now.

I thought about all of our Sim training and how important it was that we developed well as a crew and knew that to jump in on the radios now would destroy the integrity of all that we had worked toward becoming. I was torn. Somewhere, 13 miles above Arizona, there was a pilot screaming inside his space helmet.

Then, I heard it. The click of the mic button from the back seat. That was the very moment that I knew Walter and I had become a crew. Very professionally, and with no emotion, Walter spoke: “Los Angeles Center, Aspen 20, can you give us a ground speed check?”

There was no hesitation, and the reply came as if it was an everyday request: “Aspen 20, I show you at one thousand eight hundred and forty-two knots, across the ground.”

The SR-71, our fastest jet, a manned aircraft, flies at Mach 3.5. The Concorde could do up to Mach 2.I think it was the forty-two knots that I liked the best, so accurate and proud was Center to deliver that information without hesitation, and you just knew he was smiling. But the precise point at which I knew that Walt and I were going to be really good friends for a long time was when he keyed the mic once again to say, in his most fighter-pilot-like voice: “Ah, Center, much thanks. We’re showing closer to nineteen hundred on the money.”

For a moment Walter was a god. And we finally heard a little crack in the armor of the HoustonCenterVoice, when L.A. came back with, “Roger that Aspen, Your equipment is probably more accurate than ours. You boys have a good one.”

It all had lasted for just moments, but in that short, memorable sprint across the southwest, the Navy had been flamed, all mortal airplanes on freq were forced to bow before the King of Speed, and more importantly, Walter and I had crossed the threshold of being a crew. A fine day’s work.

We never heard another transmission on that frequency all the way to the coast. For just one day, it truly was fun being the fastest guys out there.

GVFlyer
10-10-2012, 22:04
...
Then, I heard it. The click of the mic button from the back seat. That was the very moment that I knew Walter and I had become a crew. Very professionally, and with no emotion, Walter spoke: “Los Angeles Center, Aspen 20, can you give us a ground speed check?”

There was no hesitation, and the reply came as if it was an everyday request: “Aspen 20, I show you at one thousand eight hundred and forty-two knots, across the ground.”

...

That's Mach 3.21, BTW - or 3 point 21 times the speed of sound.

AK_Stick
10-10-2012, 22:07
I've heard some once in a life time things on the radio, including the tower get so frustrated that he literally berated a guy for not listening.


But I think to have heard that call, would have been an absolutely EPIC day.

Altaris
10-10-2012, 22:10
Without question my favorite aircraft ever. I Love the SR71.

And just by random chance, the guy that sits next to me at work is the son of the guy that crashed the very first SR71.
http://www.wvi.com/~sr71webmaster/srloss~1.htm

Through his father I have heard many many very cool stories, and I know their are many more that he "can't" tell me.

w30olds
10-10-2012, 22:15
There is a SR-71 on Display at the Air Museum down in Warner Robins, Ga. Pretty awesome plane! Also have a B-25, B-29 and my favorite the B-1B. Also have a U2 spy plane and a A-10 Warthog. Pretty cool place to visit!

puckhead
10-10-2012, 22:20
Awesome plane. good read too!

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RWBlue
10-10-2012, 22:26
Check out the new Air and Space Museum in VA, they have the Blackbird along with the Concorde, etc, etc, etc. I'm not even into planes and I felt like a kid in a candy shop.

You mean this guy..:supergrin:

http://i301.photobucket.com/albums/nn50/rwblue01/DC/Udvar-Hazy%20Center/DSC_6442.jpg

http://i301.photobucket.com/albums/nn50/rwblue01/DC/Udvar-Hazy%20Center/DSC_6324.jpg

At
http://i301.photobucket.com/albums/nn50/rwblue01/DC/Udvar-Hazy%20Center/DSC_6300-HDR.jpg

:wavey:

JBnTX
10-10-2012, 22:29
I believe that the Air Force never should have retired it. The only thing I can think of is they must have developed a usable scram jet.

Satellite reconnaissance replaced the SR-71.
Satellites can do it cheaper and more efficiently.

NickC50310
10-10-2012, 22:38
Be sure to check out the skunk works special on military channel and great planes!

HollowHead
10-10-2012, 22:52
Be sure to check out the skunk works special on military channel and great planes!

The SR-71 could fly coast-to-coast during their commercial breaks alone. HH

Al Czervik
10-10-2012, 22:56
Would have been a mean fighter if it had panned out.

While not much could hang with it at speed and altitude, a turning radius of 100 miles would not have made for a good fighter.

scwine
10-10-2012, 22:59
While not much could hang with it at speed and altitude, a turning radius of 100 miles would not have made for a good fighter.

Depends on the objective of the "fighter".

RWBlue
10-10-2012, 23:00
Satellite reconnaissance replaced the SR-71.
Satellites can do it cheaper and more efficiently.

In theory yes, in reality.....

This is the reason the SR-71 was retired and then brought back. The satellite can do the job, but re-tasking the satellite took too long. Or so I have been told by someone who should have had the right job at that time to know.

HollowHead
10-10-2012, 23:02
While not much could hang with it at speed and altitude, a turning radius of 100 miles would not have made for a good fighter.

What would it actually be fighting up there? HH

scwine
10-10-2012, 23:08
What would it actually be fighting up there? HH

:rofl:

Exactly!

AK_Stick
10-10-2012, 23:09
While not much could hang with it at speed and altitude, a turning radius of 100 miles would not have made for a good fighter.



No, but it would have been hell on bombers with its ability to hit them, without ever being vulnerable itself.

RWBlue
10-10-2012, 23:10
What would it actually be fighting up there? HH

UFOs?

AK_Stick
10-10-2012, 23:16
easier to shoot a target below you, than a target above you.

HollowHead
10-10-2012, 23:20
No, but it would have been hell on bombers with its ability to hit them, without ever being vulnerable itself.

Would that not be an interceptor's role, much like the Mig-25 and F-104? Not designed to fight...just get a missle near bombers as fast as possible. HH

AK_Stick
10-10-2012, 23:30
Yes, I suppose I should have said interceptor.


I was just going off the YF designation when I said fighter.

faawrenchbndr
10-11-2012, 02:21
There is a SR-71 on Display at the Air Museum down in Warner Robins, Ga. Pretty awesome plane! Also have a B-25, B-29 and my favorite the B-1B. Also have a U2 spy plane and a A-10 Warthog. Pretty cool place to visit!


They also have an EC-135N,.....the aircraft Schwarzkopf used in
Desert Storm & Franks used prior to & after Sept 11th.

http://i30.photobucket.com/albums/c341/faawrenchbndr/88d51fc4cef7cf4e7f11952f8252500b.jpg

Restless28
10-11-2012, 04:44
At the Huntsville Space and Rocket Center, there is a plane very similar to a SR-71 out front. What is it?

harlenm
10-11-2012, 05:41
At the Huntsville Space and Rocket Center, there is a plane very similar to a SR-71 out front. What is it?

A-12?

en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lockheed_A-12

HexHead
10-11-2012, 06:03
Problem with the A-12 was that it could overfly it's ordinance.

HexHead
10-11-2012, 06:20
Some SR-71 pics I took at an air show at Beale AFB in the late 1980s. The SR-71 and the U2 operated out of there. You pretty much had to know someone that worked at the base to see the show, and my business partner's FIL worked at the base. I talked to the SR-71 pilot, he told me when they took off, they were going to fly a short mission, then do a Mach 3 flyover at 80,000 ft and release a fuel trail so you could see them. We were in N. CA, and he told me they'd be over AZ before they slowed down enough to turn around for the landing. Interesting guy.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v343/scat999999/SR-71/SR-71_show-2.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v343/scat999999/SR-71/SR-71_show-10001.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v343/scat999999/SR-71/SR-71_show-11.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v343/scat999999/SR-71/SR-71_show-13.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v343/scat999999/SR-71/SR-71_show-3.jpg

HexHead
10-11-2012, 06:21
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v343/scat999999/SR-71/SR-71_show-4.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v343/scat999999/SR-71/SR-71_show-5.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v343/scat999999/SR-71/SR-71_show-6.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v343/scat999999/SR-71/SR-71_show-8.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v343/scat999999/SR-71/SR-71_show-9.jpg

Watching the U2 being chased by a 5 liter Mustang down the runway while landing was prett cool too. As was the B-52 take off, low altitude fly by and landing. The Thunderbirds were boring as hell compared to the rest of the show. Best air show I've been to!

Tvov
10-11-2012, 06:25
http://t.co/yTNNzTJR

Plus some cool pictures.

That was a good read, thanks!

GVFlyer
10-11-2012, 08:16
Great read! I believe that the Air Force never should have retired it. The only thing I can think of is they must have developed a usable scram jet.

Satellites, the Key Hole-12 Advanced Crystal/Lacrosse/FIA, do a better job.

professorpinki
10-11-2012, 09:15
Satellites, the Key Hole-12 Advanced Crystal/Lacrosse/FIA, do a better job.

Dont forget UAV's.

686Owner
10-11-2012, 09:43
There is a SR-71 on Display at the Air Museum down in Warner Robins, Ga. Pretty awesome plane! Also have a B-25, B-29 and my favorite the B-1B. Also have a U2 spy plane and a A-10 Warthog. Pretty cool place to visit!

I think Dayton has all of that and more.

686Owner
10-11-2012, 09:48
Satellite reconnaissance replaced the SR-71.
Satellites can do it cheaper and more efficiently.

And more predictably. ie they know when it's coming.

Al Czervik
10-11-2012, 10:10
What would it actually be fighting up there? HH

MiG-25s to 123k, if you believe the Russkies.
We sold 104s and 4s to people with which we aren't necessarily now friends. IIRC, they went to 103k and 98k, respectively in a zoom climb.

sappy13
10-11-2012, 10:41
that was a really cool read. cant even imagine what it must feel like to be behind the stick of something with that kind of speed

RWBlue
10-11-2012, 10:41
I think Dayton has all of that and more.

I don't remember all of them being in Dayton.
http://www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/

Then again, Dayton has more than can be seen in a day so......I may have missed them or forgotten something I saw.

glockdoc21
10-11-2012, 11:13
thanks for the link! Great read.

noway
10-11-2012, 11:57
I was station at both Osan and Kadena and remember the classic in with both recon planes ( U2 and Habu ) and I remember the last flight when Kadena retired the Habu.

Great history and stories on both oh the days.


I agreed that satelites have replaced the tradition recon , a keyhole sat does it better and cheaper. It's chance of being shotdown is just about 0 also

:tongueout:

series1811
10-11-2012, 12:10
One of my favorite SR-71 stories:


Many interesting (and unconfirmed) stories have come out regarding the SR-71. In one story, an SR-71 was flying over France, returning to its base at Mildenhall, England, when an error light illuminated in the cockpit, ostensibly, an oil pressure drop to just below nominal.

It wasn't an emergency situation, but just to be safe, the pilot throttled back and reduced altitude. The RSO contacted French air traffic control for permission to descend through 60,000 feet, into controlled airspace.

The French controller denied the request unless the aircraft could provide a reservation number. Not having a "reservation number," and out of options, the SR-71 descended into French controlled airspace.

France scrambled interceptors which came up to the "low and slow" SR-71. The French pilot flew along side and demanded a reservation number to fly in controlled airspace. The SR-71 RSO told the pilot he had just given the French pilot the number out of his window (the middle-finger sign). The SR-71 pilot throttled up and the Blackbird roared away from the French fighters, leaving the French pilots astonished at the acceleration and speed of the Blackbird.



http://www.barthworks.com/aviation/sr71france.htm

ChinaCave
10-11-2012, 14:20
I have long interest in the Sled / Blackbird et al. Many books - some signed. Never saw one in flight, sadly....

One of fascinating things for me is the epic technical hurdles that had to be overcome in designing & building the plane.

I believe the following is the case & true - pls feel free to correct or amplify...

1) Much of the structure was made of titanium to withstand the frictional heating anticipated. The US does not have any, nor apparently at the time did any of our foreign pals. So "they" set up several shell corporations & proprietaries, and bought the alloy from the USSR.

2) Machining Titanium, in the late 50's and early 60s, was a B*tch. Lots of it became brittle from contamination. They discovered relatively early that cadmium-plated tools had to go. It took them much longer to figure out that parts made in the summer failed when those made in the winter did not - the cause was the chlorine in the local water supply in the summer - so the Skunkworks had to make themselves a pure water plant...

(one of my) favorite quotes - "You've never been lost until you've been lost at mach 3"

GVFlyer
10-11-2012, 17:40
Dont forget UAV's.

You have to own the airspace to use a drone or there has to be an unsophisticated A/A threat.

JMS
10-12-2012, 14:58
http://jalopnik.com/5951233/this-is-the-man-who-made-the-first-supersonic-parachute-jump-just-not-on-purpose