The Complete Book Of The SR-71 Blackbird

Title:                      The Complete Book Of The SR-71 Blackbird

Author:                  Richard H. Graham

Graham, Richard H. (2015). The Complete Book Of The SR-71 Blackbird : The Illustrated Profile Of Every Aircraft, Crew, And Breakthrough Of The World’s Fastest Stealth Jet / Col. Richard H. Graham, USAF (Ret.) ; foreword by Col. Frank Stampf, USAF (Ret.). Minneapolis, MN: Zenith Press

LCCN:    2015024755

UG1242.R4 G724 2015


  • Where it all began, Project “Oxcart”: the A-12 — Born from a need, Project “Kedlock”: the YF-12 — Development of the M-21/D-21 drone: Projects “Tagboard” and “Senior Bowl” — Dawn of the SR-71 Blackbird: Project “Senior Crown” — SR-71 crew selection, training, and the pressure suit — Specifications, capabilities, and features of the SR-71 — KC-135Q tankers and SR-71 maintenance — Operational flight of the SR-71 — SR-71 operations at Det 1, Kadena AB, Okinawa, Japan — SR-71 operations at Det 4, RAF Mildenhall, England — Retirement of the SR-71 and NASA’s gain — The Habu returns!


Date Posted:      January 25, 2017

Reviewed in The Intelligencer[1]

The Complete Book of the SR-71 Blackbird covers every aspect of the SR-71’s development, manufacture, modification, and active service from the insider’s perspective of one of its pilots and is lavishly illustrated with more than 400 photos. Author and former pilot Richard Graham also examines each of the fifty planes that came out the SR-71 program (fifteen A-12s; three YE-12s; and thirty-two SR-71s) and tells each plane’s history, its unique specifications, and where each currently resides.

At the height of the Cold War in 1964, 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. It was withdrawn from use in 1998, when it was superseded by satellite technology.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 and an absolute speed record of 2,193.2 miles per hour.

[1] The Intelligencer: Journal of U.S. Intelligence Studies (21, 3, Fall/Winter 2015, p. 134).

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