Flying the SR-71 Blackbird: Secret Operational Mission [NOOK Book]

Overview

For anyone who has ever wondered what its like to fly the SR-71 on a secret Mach 3 reconnaissance mission, this book has the answer. Flying the SR-71 Blackbird takes readers along on an operational mission that only a few Air Force pilots have ever experienced.

The Lockheed SR-71, unofficially known as the Blackbird, was an advanced, long-range, Mach 3 strategic reconnaissance aircraft developed by Lockheed Skunk Works. The aircraft flew so ...
See more details below
Flying the SR-71 Blackbird: Secret Operational Mission

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$15.49
BN.com price
(Save 44%)$28.00 List Price

Overview

For anyone who has ever wondered what its like to fly the SR-71 on a secret Mach 3 reconnaissance mission, this book has the answer. Flying the SR-71 Blackbird takes readers along on an operational mission that only a few Air Force pilots have ever experienced.

The Lockheed SR-71, unofficially known as the Blackbird, was an advanced, long-range, Mach 3 strategic reconnaissance aircraft developed by Lockheed Skunk Works. The aircraft flew so fast and high that not one was ever shot down, even by a missile. SR-71 pilot and instructor Colonel Richard Graham offers a rare cockpit perspective on how regular Air Force pilots and navigators transformed themselves into SR-71 Blackbird crews, turning their unique aviation talents to account in an unprecedented way.

Arguably the worlds foremost expert on piloting the Blackbird, Graham details, as no one else could, what an SR-71 mission entails, from donning a pressure suit to returning to base.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Pacific Flyer, August 2008
"For anyone who has ever wondered what it's like to fly the SR-71 on a secret Mach 3 reconnaissance mission, Flying the SR-71 Blackbird has the answer. Retired SR-71 pilot and squadron leader Graham takes readers along on an operational mission that only a few Air Force pilots have ever experienced...Graham offers a rare cockpit perspective on how regular Air Force pilots and navigators transformed themselves into SR-71 Blackbird cres, turning their unique avation talents to account in an unprecedented way. Arguably the world's foremost expert on piloting the Blackbird, Graham details, as no one else could, what an SR-71 mission entails, from donning a pressure suit to returning to base...Flying the SR-71 Blackbird is the ultimate play-by-play journey into what is involved in an operational mission of one of aviation history's most prized, and top secret, aircraft."
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781610600705
  • Publisher: MBI Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 7/15/2008
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 389,978
  • File size: 84 MB
  • Note: This product may take a few minutes to download.

Meet the Author

A veteran of fifteen years of assignments within the SR-71 community, Colonel Richard H. Graham is uniquely qualified to tell the Blackbird’s story. Crew member, instructor pilot, chief of the standardization/evaluation division, Colonel Graham was named SR-71 Squadron Commander, 1st Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron, in January 1981. A command pilot with more than 4,600 military flying hours, he has earned military decorations and awards including the Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross with three oak leaf clusters, Air Medal with eighteen oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with “V” device and one oak leaf cluster, Air Force Organizational Excellence Award, Combat Readiness Medal with one oak leaf cluster, National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Vietnam Service Medal with four service stars, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with palm, and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal. Colonel Graham’s other books on the SR-71 include SR-71 Revealed: The Inside Story and SR-71 Blackbird: Stories, Tales and Legends. He lives in Plano, Texas.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Contents
Foreword
Preface
Acknowledgments
Introduction
Chapter 1 The Making of a Habu
Chapter 2 Mission Planning
Chapter 3 Preflight Activities
Chapter 4 Aircraft Preflight
Chapter 5 Cockpit Left Console Preflight
Chapter 6 Instrument Panel Preflight
Chapter 7 Cockpit Right Console Preflight
Chapter 8 Starting Engines
Chapter 9 Before Taxiing
Chapter 10 Taxiing and Before Takeoff
Chapter 11 Takeoff and Climb
Chapter 12 KC-135Q and "Cold" Tanker Air Rendezvous
Chapter 13 Acceleration to Mach 3+
Chapter 14 Cruising at Mach 3+: The "Hot" Leg
Chapter 15 Decel and "Hot" Tanker Air Rendezvous
Chapter 16 Recovery
Chapter 17 Debriefings
Chapter 18 The Blackbird's Retirement
Epilogue
Appendices
A. Black Shield Memorandum
B. Yom Kippur Memorandum
C. Cuba Overflight Memorandum
D. SR-71 Pilot's Checklist
E. Pilot's Computer Flight Plan of "Becky"
F. Training Sortie Map of "Becky"
G. List of Acronyms
Read More Show Less

Introduction

Introduction

Have you ever wondered what it was like to fly the SR-71 on a secret Mach 3+ reconnaissance mission? I will bring you up close and personal to a Blackbird operational mission that only a few Air Force pilots ever experienced. The process of gathering worldwide intelligence with the SR-71 Blackbird was both an art and science, refined over many years through searing Mach 3+ flight operations. My goal in writing this book is to give the reader a deep appreciation of just how detailed and complex every SR-71 operational sortie was . . . from start to finish. While flying the mission, you'll learn some of the unique jargon, phrases, and acronyms SR-71 crews used routinely to communicate with each other.

By way of background, the opening chapters set the stage so you'll have a framework to better understand how regular Air Force pilots and navigators transformed themselves into SR-71 Blackbird crews, each hand-picked for their unique aviation talents. Beale AFB in California is where it all begins. Located about thirty miles north of Sacramento, California, and just outside of the twin cities of Marysville and Yuba City, Beale was home for the Blackbird planes, crews, maintainers, and their families. The unit at Beale AFB was the 9th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing (SRW). Under the wing's command was the entire fleet of SR-71 and U-2 aircraft, thirty-five KC-135Q tanker aircraft, and fourteen T-38s.

All SR-71 reconnaissance missions flown for the purpose of gathering intelligence on foreign countries were called "operational" sorties. Although a small number of operational sorties were flown out of Beale (primarily over Cuba), the vast majority were flownfrom two locations: Kadena Air Base on the small island of Okinawa, Japan, and RAF Mildenhall in England. From these two locations, no country in the Northern Hemisphere was immune from an unexpected visit by the SR-71 Blackbird.

The details of the mission we are about to fly were once classified Secret NOFORN (meaning no foreign dissemination) and required everyone involved to have a special access required (SAR) security clearance called Senior Crown-the codename given to the SR-71 Blackbird reconnaissance program. We'll begin with the detailed mission planning the day prior to the flight. Upon waking, the crews will eat their required preflight meal and undergo a physical examination before every flight. Step by step, you'll follow them as they don their pressure suits and head to the waiting Blackbird.

Methodically, you will be strapped in and firmly secured to your aircraft's ejection seat. You follow each step of the checklist precisely. After engine start, you and your reconnaissance systems officer (RSO) go through extensive checks of the Blackbird's many unique systems. Soon, you will taxi out to the runway to complete the last-chance inspection and engine runs.

Cleared for takeoff, you accelerate rapidly down the runway at breakneck speeds before lifting off the ground at 230 knots (265 miles per hour!). After a quick climb to 25,000 feet, you'll begin the radio-silent rendezvous with a KC-135Q tanker, already waiting in the refueling track for the thirsty SR-71. Filling up to full tanks, you fly the Blackbird clear of the tanker's flight path and begin acceleration and climb (abbreviated by crews to "accel" and pronounced "ax-cell") to seventy-two thousand feet. An unusual maneuver called the "dipsy doodle" accelerates the SR-71 through Mach 1 quickly and efficiently. The aircraft passes through Mach 2 and reaches Mach 3 several minutes later. Throughout the accel, you watch critical engine and aircraft performance instruments like a hawk. It's necessary to accomplish many steps before the Blackbird finally reaches its cruising speed of Mach 3.

Approaching the area of intelligence interest, you and your RSO prepare the aircraft and ensure all systems are working 100 percent. Both cockpits become very quiet as the crew members focus on the main objective of gathering intelligence on a foreign, and quite possibly hostile, country. As the Blackbird cruises at Mach 3+ through the sensitive area, all eyes and ears remain vigilant for any signs of trouble inside and outside the cockpit. The "sensitive" area is considered that airspace where anything and everything might occur that has significant political consequences if not handled properly. You, as the pilot, monitor the aircraft's systems; the RSO, watching the navigation and sensor actions, concentrates on gathering intelligence.

Exiting the sensitive area, you relax slightly, and communication between cockpits becomes more routine. Preparation for the descent from seventy-eight thousand feet begins early. You bring both throttles out of afterburner for the first time since you started the accel, well over an hour ago. The SR-71's descent and deceleration (abbreviated by crews to "decel") is a critical maneuver. It requires specific throttle settings at various points throughout the descent. As the Blackbird slows down, it's imperative to fly the engines and inlets at the correct parameters. If the airspeed drops too low, or if the pilot misses changing one of the power settings, an engine flameout can easily occur.

Leveling off at two thousand feet below the planned refueling altitude and forty miles behind the tanker, you're mindful that a successful rendezvous is part science and part experience, with 90 percent of the responsibility resting on the lead tanker navigator's shoulders. As you close in rapidly on the tanker, the boom operator maneuvers the air refueling nozzle directly into the SR-71's waiting receptacle. The toggles lock the nozzle firmly in place. With a full load of JP-7, the Blackbird is on its way again to another part of the world, gathering more intelligence.

Returning to land, the final descent is fast. Soon, you're on final approach and cleared to land. After a smooth touchdown, drag chute deployed, and gently braking to slow the aircraft down, you taxi to the hangar, cautiously maneuver the SR-71 inside, complete postflight system checks, and shut down both engines. Greeting you at the top of the ladder are the physiological support division (PSD) technicians who strapped you into the aircraft hours earlier.

You and the RSO exit the cockpits and quickly debrief at the foot of the ladder with the detachment commander, maintenance officer, and crew chief. After a short drive in the PSD van, it's time to get the pressure suit off, take a quick shower, and get back into your flight suit. The first debriefing is with operations and intelligence personnel, then on to the maintenance facility for the maintenance debriefing. Finally, you return to operations to store all of your secret mission materials in their classified safes.

Loose ends of the operation need attention before you grab a beer out of the refrigerator and head back to your room in the bachelor officer quarters (BOQ). The other crews are anxious to hear how the plane flew and of the mission's success. Debriefing over a few vodka and tonics in the BOQ room will become standard procedure. Finally, it's time to relax and unwind. It's been a long but very productive day!
Read More Show Less

Foreword

Foreword

It is with great pleasure that I write this foreword to my close friend Richard Graham's latest book, Flying the SR-71 Blackbird: In the Cockpit on a Secret Operational Mission. Describing his personal insights into piloting the SR-71, he provides the missing link among the many Blackbird volumes that have been written over the past quarter century. While many nuts-and-bolts references have been written covering the aircraft's development, flight test, and operational history in minute detail, none, until now, have addressed the subject of flying the mission from the perspective of the pilot.

The Lockheed SR-71-and its A-12, F-12, and M-21 predecessors-is arguably the most significant aircraft of our time. Born under the auspices of Cold War secrecy and operated in clandestine fashion for nearly three decades, the "Blackbird family" (as these aircraft became known to the aerospace press) would somewhat reluctantly become an international symbol for all that is good and progressive and vital in the free world. Though produced in relatively tiny numbers and used sparingly, the impact the Blackbirds had on the international community-and in turn, the latter's impact on global politics-looms large in world history.

As these words are written, no known piloted aircraft has yet to supersede the SR-71's extraordinary speed and altitude capabilities. Accordingly, it is very possible that this near-monumental performance legacy will remain on the record books, unchallenged, forever. And yes, I'm well aware that forever is a very long time.

Fortunately, no one is more suitable to write this book than Richard Graham. Both a true gentleman and a legitimatescholar, Rich-as he prefers to be called-is well known for his earlier, and I might add, exceptional works describing piloting the SR-71 and its use in operational U.S. Air Force service. This latest volume continues this legacy, taking the reader through virtually every aspect of an operational SR-71 flight, from mission assignment and preflight through J58 spool-down following landing. It is a terrifically exciting journey, written by someone who has literally been there and done that.

For those of us who will never have the opportunity to sit in the cockpit of the world's most alluring aircraft, this book represents the next best thing. If you have a pilot's soul, a need to read, and you've never been able to get enough SR-71 to satiate your hunger, you hold in your hands the remedy you've been waiting for. My hat is off to Rich for creating another fine and very authoritative read for those of us who can only dream of cruising at Mach 3.2 and eighty thousand feet!

-Jay Miller, aviation historian
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 83 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(70)

4 Star

(7)

3 Star

(3)

2 Star

(2)

1 Star

(1)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 83 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 28, 2012

    From a napkin to the dark blue sky way up high at warp factor one

    We built it now you guys tell us how to fly it, and they did with great vigor

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 22, 2014

    GLOSSPAW IS LOCKED OUT

    Move camp!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 21, 2014

    Golden eyes

    They watch carefully, curiously.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 21, 2014

    Glosspaw

    He pads up to Jayblaze. "Why are you sad...?" He mews curiously.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 26, 2014

    Howzabout

    We stop finding new results and just use one we already have like "ghs"

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 21, 2014

    Dovestorm

    "Fox attack." Dovestorm winced, turning to the eyes. "Who's there?"

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2014

    Med cat?

    Did you still need a med cat? I'd love to be a med cat here.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2014

    SilientWind and NightGaze

    Silientwind and Nightgaze padded in. SilientWind dipped his head "i was wondering if i can join as med cat and my brother as a warrior." He asked

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 21, 2014

    Molten

    The jet black tom stood in front of the cats and scanned the area around him, making sure the fox was gone. Sure enough, the large brute saw a flash of reddish fur, dissapearing into the forest.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2014

    Red eyes

    Growl in the woods.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 21, 2014

    To this clan

    Can you please refrain from telling everybody you are the oldest clan. Because youre not. Youre not even close. You were started AT MOST the end of 2012. No earlier(i would know. I joined at the very beginning of rp). There is still a good few clans older than you, and you wouod do well to respect that. this is the second time youve lied about your age, an being the oldest cat in one of the two clans ACTUALLY tied for oldest, im getting really pissed off at you people lying an saying youre years older that you arent, and stealing rpers that may have come to us instead(because we're proba ly more desperate for warriors than you, but most of our rpers cant advertize). So please, do yourself a favor and dont make me write this again. Its long and im currently a great deal more pissed than i show. And yes, i know how to lock people out. So dont test me. Farewell~~[(Blank)] (btw, the reason i mention neither my name or clan in this is becaus im not tryin to advertize. Only show faults in rp that i dont want to lead to conflict)

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 27, 2014

    Wavepaw

    I approve but i'm not moving my bio

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 18, 2014

    Silverstar

    "Hello, I am Silverstar of Silverclan, once known as Silverstorm. Tomorrow, I would like Jayclan's Leader and Deputy to meet me at under dogs res one at like 5:00 et for something urgent."

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 25, 2014

    Jayblaze

    She jumps up into a tree and sings "The Call" (I don't know who it's by, but it is the credits music of Prince Caspian.)

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 18, 2014

    TundraFall 図

    "Thank you." TundraFall meowed, politely dipping his head. <p> Thanks!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 20, 2014

    Cloudy with a chance of meatballs 2 rp

    At food res1( ignore the magazine). We need brent, earl, manny, cal, thinkquanauts, sentioles of saftey, chester v, barb, steve,mr. Lockwood, and lots of foodimals. Flint

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 4, 2014

    To silverstar

    Join a group of clans at catl res 1 post a clan discription for more info see my post at tornado res 1 titled TO___STAR

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2014

    Bluesong

    [[May I make a character to join?]]

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 26, 2014

    Maplebelly

    /•\ The Heavily pregnant Tabby watched the Kitting through reluctant blue orbitals, her Tortoiseshell pelt on end. Due anyday herself, Maplebelly rested her cranium on her frontpaws, her banner curled tightly around her pudgruding stomach. /•\ &#8499aplebelly

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 24, 2014

    Whitepaw to moonfflight

    Can u post our cerimony

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 83 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)