SR-71: The Complete Illustrated History of the Blackbird, The World's Highest, Fastest Plane

Overview

At the height of the Cold War in 1964, President Johnson announced a new aircraft dedicated to strategic reconnaissance. The Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird spy plane flew more than three-and-a-half times the speed of sound, so fast that no other aircraft could catch it. Above 80,000 feet, its pilots had to wear full-pressure flight suits similar to what was used aboard the space shuttle. Developed by the renowned Lockheed Skunk Works, the SR-71 was an awesome aircraft in every ...

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SR-71: The Complete Illustrated History of the Blackbird, The World's Highest, Fastest Plane

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Overview

At the height of the Cold War in 1964, President Johnson announced a new aircraft dedicated to strategic reconnaissance. The Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird spy plane flew more than three-and-a-half times the speed of sound, so fast that no other aircraft could catch it. Above 80,000 feet, its pilots had to wear full-pressure flight suits similar to what was used aboard the space shuttle. Developed by the renowned Lockheed Skunk Works, the SR-71 was an awesome aircraft in every respect, and it took the world by storm.

The SR-71 was in service with the U.S. Air Force from 1964 to 1998, when it was withdrawn from use, superseded by satellite technology. Twelve of the thirty-two aircraft were destroyed in accidents, but none were ever lost to enemy action.

Throughout its thirty-four-year career, the SR-71 was the world’s fastest and highest-flying operational manned aircraft. It set world records for altitude and speed: an absolute altitude record of 85,069 feet on July 28, 1974, and an absolute speed record of 2,193.2 miles per hour on the same day. On September 1, 1974, it set a speed and time record over a recognized course between New York and London (3,508 miles) of 1,435.587 miles per hour and an elapsed time of 1 hour, 54 minutes, 56.4 seconds.

SR-71 covers every aspect of the SR-71’s development, manufacture, modification, and active service from the insider’s perspective of one its pilots and is lavishly illustrated with more than 200 photos.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Although the book is only 192 pages - much of them taken up with images, drawings and illustrations - it is filled to the brim with information and revelation. The book is as enjoyable to read as it is to see since the illustrations and background textures of the pages make for a rich experience. Once read, the reader will have not only an acute awareness of flying an SR-71 but an overview of the organization as well as logistics which were required to keep the SR-71 flying." - Travel for Aircraft (Seattle Post Intelligencer Blog)

"The book is a credit to Graham's skills as a writer and his in-depth, hands-on knowledge of the subject matter. It would be a solid addition to one's library." - Air Power History

"SR-71: The Complete Illustrated History of the Blackbird, The World's Highest, Fastest Plane by Col. Richard H. Graham is absolutely the best presented and most accurately detailed book ever published about the Blackbird family of planes. Rich Graham includes recently declassified information about the CIA and Air Force Blackbird programs to make his book the most informative source on the subject. Being a veteran of the CIA's A-12 Oxcart program, I can vouch to the accuracy of what Colonel Graham published in this great book about a world of aviation so selective and compartmentalized that even participants in the various Blackbird programs will learn from this book. Colonel Graham has published the "go to" book for our nation's reconnaissance programs involving the Blackbird family of planes." - Thornton D. "TD" Barnes (Former Area 51 Special Projects. Project OXCART)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780760343272
  • Publisher: Zenith Press
  • Publication date: 5/12/2013
  • Edition description: First
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 358,995
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 10.70 (h) x 1.00 (d)

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 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.

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Table of Contents


Foreword
Acknowledgments
Introduction
Chapter 1 Beginning of the A-12
Chapter 2 A-12 Construction and Testing
Chapter 3 YF-12 Interceptor
Chapter 4 D-21 Drone Project
Chapter 5 Enter the SR-71
Chapter 6 Home for the SR-71 Blackbird: Beale AFB, California
Chapter 7 Selection Process
Chapter 8 Training Program
Chapter 9 Physiological Support Division and the Pressure Suit
Chapter 10 Command and Control
Chapter 11 Preparing to Fly the Mission
Chapter 12 Flying the Mission
Chapter 13 Refueling
Chapter 14 Acceleration and Climb to Mach 3+ and 71,000 Feet
Chapter 15 Cruising at Mach 3+
Chapter 16 Inlet Unstarts and Restarts
Chapter 17 Entering the Sensitive Area
Chapter 18 Descent and “Hot” Tanker Air Rendezvous
Chapter 19 The Recovery
Chapter 20 Post-Flight Activity
Chapter 21 The Final Years
Chapter 22 Rising from the Ashes
Appendices List of Acronyms, 1997 Letter from Senators Levin and
Byrd to Secretary of Defense, Kelly Johnson’s Fourteen
Rules of Management, Bibliography
Index
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