Sr-71 Blackbird: Stories, Tales, And Legends

Sr-71 Blackbird: Stories, Tales, And Legends

  • Publish Date: 2002-11-16
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Author: Rich Graham
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Zenith Press
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Feel the Mach 3 power generated by Lockheed's incredibly fast SR-71 Blackbird! Former SR-71 pilot, instructor and wing commander, Richard Graham, presents the most intriguing SR-71 stories ever told. This once highly classified program is fully revealed through the words of pilots, commanders, mechanics, and instructors involved in the Blackbird's creation and flight-testing. From grueling reconnaissance missions to the Persian Gulf conflict, this insightful book tells stories of bravery and daring determination.
For a quarter-century, Lockheed's Mach 3 SR-71A Blackbird reconnaissance aircraft dominated the skies as no other. The men that flew the 55-ton "Habu" (so dubbed by Okinawans near one of its bases because of its resemblance to a local deadly black snake) at 80,000 feet and 33 miles per minute were the rarest of fraternities, and author and former 9th Recon Wing commander Richard Graham provides a score of them--as well as key ground personnel--a generous forum for their self-penned recollections here. Where Graham's first book, SR-71 Revealed: The Inside Story, dealt more with the Blackbird's remarkable hardware and history, this volume details the human dimensions of the SR-71 program, from its dangerous days of development and testing through decades of intelligence-gathering operations in the world's hot spots, to its final, bittersweet confrontation with the one foe it couldn't elude: self-serving Pentagon politics. Inspired by flying a plane that often seemed to have a mind of its own--and a sometimes malicious one at that--the anecdotes here are seasoned with a compelling mix of boyish humor, sheer terror, and enviable camaraderie. As Graham's fellow SR-71 pilot and author Brian Shul once noted, more people have stood atop Mt. Everest than have flown what remains the world's fastest, highest-flying jet. (The author is donating all royalties to the J.T. Vida Memorial Fund, set up to preserve Blackbird 972, whose 1990 transcontinental, record-setting retirement flight is recounted herein, currently housed at the Smithsonian Museum) --Jerry McCulley

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