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  1. #1
    Forum Member FWDbuff's Avatar
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    Default The SR-71 Blackbird!

    Quote Originally Posted by islandfire03 View Post
    Buff:

    When I was stationed at Kadena Okinowa in the early 70's the sr71's were still flying active missions on a daily basis. There is nothing like the sound of a blackbird or Habu warming up for it's evening flight . Everything about them and their missions was top secret codeword & no one was allowed near them. Of course being an aircraft fuel truck driver I had the inside line for access to the hanger and flight line.

    There are many good books written about the skunkworks where they were built and their untouched flight performance. Nothing could fly faster or higher. Even today they hold many flight records that will likely never be beat. Do a ggogle on kelly johnson and the skunkworks of lockheed martin for more info.
    Rather than continue to hijack the hiring thread, I figured why not start another one. That's awesome Islandfire. The book I mentioned previously, is Flying the SR-71 Blackbird, by Col. Richard H. Graham, USAF (ret.) He is a former HABU, with 15 years involvement in the blackbird community, including a stint as the old man of the 1st Strategic Recon Squadron, and the 9th Strategic Recon Wing Commander..... The book takes you step-by-step through a flight, from initial mission prep, to crew prep, aircraft prep, flight checklist (yes there is a declassified copy of the checklist in the book....) all the way to the landing and debriefing. Beale, Kadena, and Mildenhall are all mentioned quite prominantly in the book as the three main operating posts for the HABU's.

    There are also several other code-word (SENIOR CROWN) declassified documents in the book.

    I would LOVE to hear some insight on the Blackbird from a Crash Crew (or even fueling crew) standpoint......
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."


  2. #2
    Forum Member DeputyChiefGonzo's Avatar
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    There was a story about a Blackbird crew flying into Cali...

    The ATC ( air traffic control center) was doing their thing, routing flights in and out if various airports. They got a request for an aircraft that wasn't squaking a airliner code on the transponder to go to 60,000 feet. The air traffic controller called for his supervisor.

    The supervisor was angry.. who dare flies into his airspace and requests to go th 60,00 feet? Most commercial airliners fly at 31,000 to 39,000, depending on which direction they are flying in ( Odd altitudes are approaches from the north and the east, even altitudes are from the south and west).

    The ATC supervisor got on the radio and angrily asked "who wants to go to 60,000 and they better have a damn good reason...."

    The Blackbird crew responded.. "sir. we are flying an SR-71 and we are requesting permission to descend to flight level 60..."

    ATC responded "ummm yeah, go ahead!"
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  3. #3
    Forum Member FWDbuff's Avatar
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    Gonz- This scenerio is mentioned in the book.

    The flight planners were actually pretty good about avoiding civilian airspace when possible. Additionally, civvy ATC's that did indeed come in (unavoidable) contact with the Blackbirds, were briefed on how to handle them. In the unlikely (but possible) chance that the ATC working that airspace was not briefed or familiar with the SR-71's needs, all the SR-71 crew had to do was make the contact, and the ATC's supervisor's phone would be ringing a few seconds later......hint hint hint
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

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    Forum Member FWDbuff's Avatar
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    Some interesting facts from the book Flying the SR-71 Blackbird, by Col. Richard H. Graham (ret.)

    Total operational sorties: 3551

    Total hours: 11008 operational, 53490 total

    Mach 3(+) time: 2752 hours operational, 11675 total

    Total sorties: 17,300

    Total persons to Mach 3: 389 (284 crew members and 105 VIP's)

    Crew members over 300 hours: 163
    600 hours: 69
    900 hours: 18
    1000 hours: 8

    Total number of SR-71 Pilots: 93
    SR-71 RSO's: 89

    Most SR-71 Flight time: Lt Col. Joseph "JT" Vida, 1,492.7 hours

    New York to London: 1 hour, 54 mins, 56.4 seconds (take THAT, Concorde!)

    Los Angeles to Washington DC: 1 hour, 4 mins, 20 seconds

    World speed record, 100KM course: 2092 MPH

    World altitude record: 85068.997 feet

    World record straight, 15 and 25 KM course: 2193MPH
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

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    Forum Member spearsm's Avatar
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    On the ground, it seemed like the absolute worst example of maintenance upkeep if you didn't know what was going on. Can you imagine servicing a bird that could'nt keep it's fluids where they were designed to be? And what about fueling? Best I can remember is that it was leaking as bad as the hydraulics-they didn't fill it until it was "on wing". just enough to get it off the ground.

    The U-2. That's another fine plane. Gonzo, how would you feel landing a plane that you intentionally had a wing hit the ground when you slowed down enough?
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    You know what is a great plane? The Beaver, yup that's right the beaver a land based creature native to our Canadian Environment, often eats wood.... The beaver!


    MAN I WISH WE HAD A FRACTION OF THE AMERICAN MILITARY'S BUDGET!

  7. #7
    Forum Member islandfire03's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spearsm View Post
    On the ground, it seemed like the absolute worst example of maintenance upkeep if you didn't know what was going on. Can you imagine servicing a bird that could'nt keep it's fluids where they were designed to be? And what about fueling? Best I can remember is that it was leaking as bad as the hydraulics-they didn't fill it until it was "on wing". just enough to get it off the ground.

    The U-2. That's another fine plane. Gonzo, how would you feel landing a plane that you intentionally had a wing hit the ground when you slowed down enough?
    Thats one of the things I was alluding to in my earlier post. Until they reached altitude and speed that allowed the airframe to come up to temp and expand , they oozed just about every bodily fluid they contained. Warm up was started an hour + early to allow them to warm & even out the stresses on the metal. when they were ready to go airborne we would give them enough fuel to launch and climb to meet the tanker to top off before they continued the mission. when they launched and had the gear stowed they would stand it on it's tail and essentially climb straight up vertical until they were out of sight. It sure was loud and impressive to watch as launch time was just about dusk. The blackbird will certainly go down in the history books of aviation engineering. Even the folks off duty would come outside to watch the evening show. It was a sight to remember even all these years later.

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    Quote Originally Posted by spearsm View Post
    On the ground, it seemed like the absolute worst example of maintenance upkeep if you didn't know what was going on. Can you imagine servicing a bird that could'nt keep it's fluids where they were designed to be? And what about fueling? Best I can remember is that it was leaking as bad as the hydraulics-they didn't fill it until it was "on wing". just enough to get it off the ground.

    The U-2. That's another fine plane. Gonzo, how would you feel landing a plane that you intentionally had a wing hit the ground when you slowed down enough?
    We have U2's at my base. When they land, a chaser follows the plane and a working crew will place prods with wheels under each wing. This prevents them from scraping the ground. When the U2 takes off, these prods detach and drop from the plane. I believe the U2 has been extended until 2015. It is way cool watching them take off because they get lift so quickly.

    Stay safe,

    Kev

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    MembersZone Subscriber ullrichk's Avatar
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    So who is the lucky bastard whose job description reads:

    Take this Corvette, catch up with the ultracool spy plane . . .



    I was really amazed at how small the SR-71 was when I first saw one up close. The cockpit looks more like something you wear than something you climb into.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ullrichk View Post
    So who is the lucky bastard whose job description reads:

    Take this Corvette, catch up with the ultracool spy plane . . .



    I was really amazed at how small the SR-71 was when I first saw one up close. The cockpit looks more like something you wear than something you climb into.
    I have no idea whos job it is, but it would be pretty cool. He gets to hall ***** down the runway. There is also another vehicle (looks like an icecream truck) with a group of guys. As soon as the U2 stops, they chock the wheels, set the pins, and make sure everything is safe. They are all totally dialed and super fast. Always cool to see.

    Stay safe,

    Kevin

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