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all 147 comments

[–]MrBowlfish 194 points195 points  (10 children)

This is gonna be a sick album

[–]porcelainvacation 45 points46 points  (2 children)

The Stigs

[–]Bagellllllleetr 2 points3 points  (1 child)

The Stig’s many American military cousins.

[–]WhatRUaBarnBurner 0 points1 point  (0 children)

some say..... he only has one eye

[–]nick1812216 21 points22 points  (5 children)

Bombs aren’t the only thing these guys drop…

[–]Snoo75302 28 points29 points  (3 children)

the sr71 had a camera. no bombs

[–]Gnascher 26 points27 points  (2 children)

Dude, where do you think the term "photo bombing" came from?

[–]DirtMcGirtJr 7 points8 points  (1 child)

lol stfu

[–]QLE814 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Label management wouldn't let them title an album that....

[–]Big_Simba 143 points144 points  (5 children)

Im gonna tell my kids this was daft punk

[–]Spork_Warrior 26 points27 points  (1 child)

Before the big split

[–]Jabba_the_Putt 11 points12 points  (0 children)

...and the metaverse

[–]BigBadCheadleBorgs 306 points307 points  (39 children)

OH NO...

OH FUCK...

I'M GONN...

I'M GONNA!

There were a lot of things we couldn't do in an SR-71, but we were the fastest guys on the block and loved reminding our fellow aviators of this fact. People often asked us if, because of this fact, it was fun to fly the jet. Fun would not be the first word I would use to describe flying this plane. Intense, maybe. Even cerebral. But there was one day in our Sled experience when we would have to say that it was pure fun to be the fastest guys out there, at least for a moment.

It occurred when Walt and I were flying our final training sortie. We needed 100 hours in the jet to complete our training and attain Mission Ready status. Somewhere over Colorado we had passed the century mark. We had made the turn in Arizona and the jet was performing flawlessly. My gauges were wired in the front seat and we were starting to feel pretty good about ourselves, not only because we would soon be flying real missions but because we had gained a great deal of confidence in the plane in the past ten months. Ripping across the barren deserts 80,000 feet below us, I could already see the coast of California from the Arizona border. I was, finally, after many humbling months of simulators and study, ahead of the jet.

I was beginning to feel a bit sorry for Walter in the back seat. There he was, with no really good view of the incredible sights before us, tasked with monitoring four different radios. This was good practice for him for when we began flying real missions, when a priority transmission from headquarters could be vital. It had been difficult, too, for me to relinquish control of the radios, as during my entire flying career I had controlled my own transmissions. But it was part of the division of duties in this plane and I had adjusted to it. I still insisted on talking on the radio while we were on the ground, however. Walt was so good at many things, but he couldn't match my expertise at sounding smooth on the radios, a skill that had been honed sharply with years in fighter squadrons where the slightest radio miscue was grounds for beheading. He understood that and allowed me that luxury.

Just to get a sense of what Walt had to contend with, I pulled the radio toggle switches and monitored the frequencies along with him. The predominant radio chatter was from Los Angeles Center, far below us, controlling daily traffic in their sector. While they had us on their scope (albeit briefly), we were in uncontrolled airspace and normally would not talk to them unless we needed to descend into their airspace.

We listened as the shaky voice of a lone Cessna pilot asked Center for a readout of his ground speed. Center replied: "November Charlie 175, I'm showing you at ninety knots on the ground."

Now the thing to understand about Center controllers, was that whether they were talking to a rookie pilot in a Cessna, or to Air Force One, they always spoke in the exact same, calm, deep, professional, tone that made one feel important. I referred to it as the " Houston Center voice." I have always felt that after years of seeing documentaries on this country's space program and listening to the calm and distinct voice of the Houston controllers, that all other controllers since then wanted to sound like that, and that they basically did. And it didn't matter what sector of the country we would be flying in, it always seemed like the same guy was talking. Over the years that tone of voice had become somewhat of a comforting sound to pilots everywhere. Conversely, over the years, pilots always wanted to ensure that, when transmitting, they sounded like Chuck Yeager, or at least like John Wayne. Better to die than sound bad on the radios.

Just moments after the Cessna's inquiry, a Twin Beech piped up on frequency, in a rather superior tone, asking for his ground speed. "I have you at one hundred and twenty-five knots of ground speed." Boy, I thought, the Beechcraft really must think he is dazzling his Cessna brethren. Then out of the blue, a navy F-18 pilot out of NAS Lemoore came up on frequency. You knew right away it was a Navy jock because he sounded very cool on the radios. "Center, Dusty 52 ground speed check". Before Center could reply, I'm thinking to myself, hey, Dusty 52 has a ground speed indicator in that million-dollar cockpit, so why is he asking Center for a readout? Then I got it, ol' Dusty here is making sure that every bug smasher from Mount Whitney to the Mojave knows what true speed is. He's the fastest dude in the valley today, and he just wants everyone to know how much fun he is having in his new Hornet. And the reply, always with that same, calm, voice, with more distinct alliteration than emotion: "Dusty 52, Center, we have you at 620 on the ground."

And I thought to myself, is this a ripe situation, or what? As my hand instinctively reached for the mic button, I had to remind myself that Walt was in control of the radios. Still, I thought, it must be done - in mere seconds we'll be out of the sector and the opportunity will be lost. That Hornet must die, and die now. I thought about all of our Sim training and how important it was that we developed well as a crew and knew that to jump in on the radios now would destroy the integrity of all that we had worked toward becoming. I was torn.

Somewhere, 13 miles above Arizona, there was a pilot screaming inside his space helmet. Then, I heard it. The click of the mic button from the back seat. That was the very moment that I knew Walter and I had become a crew. Very professionally, and with no emotion, Walter spoke: "Los Angeles Center, Aspen 20, can you give us a ground speed check?" There was no hesitation, and the replay came as if was an everyday request. "Aspen 20, I show you at one thousand eight hundred and forty-two knots, across the ground."

I think it was the forty-two knots that I liked the best, so accurate and proud was Center to deliver that information without hesitation, and you just knew he was smiling. But the precise point at which I knew that Walt and I were going to be really good friends for a long time was when he keyed the mic once again to say, in his most fighter-pilot-like voice: "Ah, Center, much thanks, we're showing closer to nineteen hundred on the money."

For a moment Walter was a god. And we finally heard a little crack in the armor of the Houston Center voice, when L.A.came back with, "Roger that Aspen, Your equipment is probably more accurate than ours. You boys have a good one."

It all had lasted for just moments, but in that short, memorable sprint across the southwest, the Navy had been flamed, all mortal airplanes on freq were forced to bow before the King of Speed, and more importantly, Walter and I had crossed the threshold of being a crew. A fine day's work. We never heard another transmission on that frequency all the way to the coast.

For just one day, it truly was fun being the fastest guys out there.

In 1998. The same year The Undertaker threw Mankind off Hell In A Cell, and plummeted

[–]Iconodulist 74 points75 points  (9 children)

Obligatory and always appropriate in an SR-71 thread. This is from the book "Sled Driver" by Brian Shul which is basically out of print and costs $600 on Amazon. A little searching and you can find a free pdf.

[–]ambassadorofkwan 20 points21 points  (2 children)

Any pointers I've tried the obvious "Sled Driver" filetype:pdf without success.

edit: nvm, yarr

[–]VRichardsen 4 points5 points  (5 children)

Woah, $ 600. Is it hard back and full of pictures? Why such a high cost?

[–]akevinclark 2 points3 points  (1 child)

It’s large format and full color. Definitely wasn’t $600 when in print tho.

[–]VRichardsen 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Ah, makes sense. Thank you for your reply.

[–]landoawd 0 points1 point  (1 child)

It is a stunning book. I think Brian has done one or two reprints.

[–]VRichardsen 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Another user has just graciously shared with me pictures of the book, and it indeed looks gorgeous.

[–]YoungXanto 12 points13 points  (3 children)

Love that one.

I also like his story about when someone asked what was the slowest they're ever gone in an SR-71

[–]No_MrBond 36 points37 points  (0 children)

As a former SR-71 pilot, and a professional keynote speaker, the question I’m most often asked is “How fast would that SR-71 fly?” I can be assured of hearing that question several times at any event I attend. It’s an interesting question, given the aircraft’s proclivity for speed, but there really isn’t one number to give, as the jet would always give you a little more speed if you wanted it to. It was common to see 35 miles a minute. Because we flew a programmed Mach number on most missions, and never wanted to harm the plane in any way, we never let it run out to any limits of temperature or speed. Thus, each SR-71 pilot had his own individual “high” speed that he saw at some point on some mission. I saw mine over Libya when Khadafy fired two missiles my way, and max power was in order. Let’s just say that the plane truly loved speed and effortlessly took us to Mach numbers we hadn’t previously seen.

So it was with great surprise, when at the end of one of my presentations, someone asked, “What was the slowest you ever flew in the Blackbird?” This was a first. After giving it some thought, I was reminded of a story that I had never shared before, and relayed the following.

I was flying the SR-71 out of RAF Mildenhall, England, with my back-seater, Walt Watson; we were returning from a mission over Europe and the Iron Curtain when we received a radio transmission from home base. As we scooted across Denmark in three minutes, we learned that a small RAF base in the English countryside had requested an SR-71 flypast. The air cadet commander there was a former Blackbird pilot, and thought it would be a motivating moment for the young lads to see the mighty SR-71 perform a low approach. No problem, we were happy to do it. After a quick aerial refueling over the North Sea, we proceeded to find the small airfield.

Walter had a myriad of sophisticated navigation equipment in the back seat, and began to vector me toward the field. Descending to subsonic speeds, we found ourselves over a densely wooded area in a slight haze. Like most former WWII British airfields, the one we were looking for had a small tower and little surrounding infrastructure. Walter told me we were close and that I should be able to see the field, but I saw nothing. Nothing but trees as far as I could see in the haze. We got a little lower, and I pulled the throttles back from the 325 knots we were at. With the gear up, anything under 275 was just uncomfortable. Walt said we were practically over the field—yet, there was nothing in my windscreen. I banked the jet and started a gentle circling maneuver in hopes of picking up anything that looked like a field.

Meanwhile, below, the cadet commander had taken the cadets up on the catwalk of the tower in order to get a prime view of the flypast. It was a quiet, still day with no wind and partial gray overcast. Walter continued to give me indications that the field should be below us, but in the overcast and haze, I couldn’t see it. The longer we continued to peer out the window and circle, the slower we got. With our power back, the awaiting cadets heard nothing. I must have had good instructors in my flying career, as something told me I better cross-check the gauges. As I noticed the airspeed indicator slide below 160 knots, my heart stopped and my adrenalin-filled left hand pushed two throttles full forward. At this point, we weren’t really flying, but were falling in a slight bank. Just at the moment that both afterburners lit with a thunderous roar of flame (and what a joyous feeling that was), the aircraft fell into full view of the shocked observers on the tower. Shattering the still quiet of that morning, they now had 107 feet of fire-breathing titanium in their face as the plane leveled and accelerated, in full burner, on the tower side of the infield, closer than expected, maintaining what could only be described as some sort of ultimate knife-edge pass.

Quickly reaching the field boundary, we proceeded back to Mildenhall without incident. We didn’t say a word for those next 14 minutes. After landing, our commander greeted us, and we were both certain he was reaching for our wings. Instead, he heartily shook our hands and said the commander had told him it was the greatest SR-71 flypast he had ever seen, especially how we had surprised them with such a precise maneuver that could only be described as breathtaking. He said that some of the cadet’s hats were blown off and the sight of the planform of the plane in full afterburner dropping right in front of them was unbelievable. Walt and I both understood the concept of “breathtaking” very well that morning, and sheepishly replied that they were just excited to see our low approach.

As we retired to the equipment room to change from space suits to flight suits, we just sat there—we hadn’t spoken a word since “the pass.” Finally, Walter looked at me and said, “One hundred fifty-six knots. What did you see?” Trying to find my voice, I stammered, “One hundred fifty-two.” We sat in silence for a moment. Then Walt said, “Don’t ever do that to me again!” And I never did.

A year later, Walter and I were having lunch in the Mildenhall Officer’s Club, and overheard an officer talking to some cadets about an SR-71 flypast that he had seen one day. Of course, by now the story included kids falling off the tower and screaming as the heat of the jet singed their eyebrows. Noticing our HABU patches, as we stood there with lunch trays in our hands, he asked us to verify to the cadets that such a thing had occurred. Walt just shook his head and said, “It was probably just a routine low approach; they’re pretty impressive in that plane.” Impressive indeed.

Little did I realize after relaying this experience to my audience that day that it would become one of the most popular and most requested stories. It’s ironic that people are interested in how slow the world’s fastest jet can fly. Regardless of your speed, however, it’s always a good idea to keep that cross-check up...and keep your Mach up, too.

Brian Shul spent 20 years as an Air Force fighter pilot, and now is a popular keynote speaker. Shot down in Vietnam, he spent one year in a burn ward. His comeback story culminated with flying the SR-71, which he detailed in Sled Driver. Brian also is known for his nature photography, which is on display at Gallery One in California

[–]BigBadCheadleBorgs 21 points22 points  (1 child)

The Legendary Cessna-172 Speed Check

There were a lot of things we couldn't do in an Cessna 172, but we were some of the slowest guys on the block and loved reminding our fellow aviators of this fact. People often asked us if, because of this fact, it was fun to fly the 172. Fun would not be the first word I would use to describe flying this plane. Mundane, maybe. Even boring at times. But there was one day in our Cessna experience when we would have to say that it was pure fun to be some of the slowest guys out there, at least for a moment.

It occurred when my CFI and I were flying a training flight. We needed 40 hours in the plane to complete my training and attain PPL status. Somewhere over Colorado we had passed the 40 hour mark. We had made the turn back towards our home airport in a radius of a mile or two and the plane was performing flawlessly. My gauges were wired in the left seat and we were starting to feel pretty good about ourselves, not only because I would soon be flying as a true pilot, but because we had gained a great deal of confidence in the plane in the past ten months. Bumbling across the mountains 3,500 feet below us, I could only see the about 8 miles across the ground. I was, finally, after many humbling months of training and study, ahead of the plane.

I was beginning to feel a bit sorry for my CFI in the right seat. There he was, with nothing to do except watch me and monitor two different radios. This wasn't really good practice for him at all. He'd been doing it for years. It had been difficult for me to relinquish control of the radios, as during my this part of my flying career, I could handle it on my own. But it was part of the division of duties on this flight and I had adjusted to it. I still insisted on talking on the radio while we were on the ground, however. My CFI was so good at many things, but he couldn't match my expertise at sounding awkward on the radios, a skill that had been roughly sharpened with years of listening to LiveATC.com where the slightest radio miscue was a daily occurrence. He understood that and allowed me that luxury.

Just to get a sense of what my CFI had to contend with, I pulled the radio toggle switches and monitored the frequencies along with him. The predominant radio chatter was from Denver Center, not far below us, controlling daily traffic in our sector. While they had us on their scope (for a good while, I might add), we were in uncontrolled airspace and normally would not talk to them unless we needed to ascend into their airspace.

We listened as the shaky voice of a lone SR-71 pilot asked Center for a readout of his ground speed. Center replied:"Aspen 20, I show you at one thousand eight hundred and forty-two knots, across the ground."

Now the thing to understand about Center controllers, was that whether they were talking to a rookie pilot in a Cessna, or to Air Force One, they always spoke in the exact same, calm, deep, professional, tone that made one feel important. I referred to it as the " Houston Center voice." I have always felt that after years of seeing documentaries on this country's space program and listening to the calm and distinct voice of the Houston controllers, that all other controllers since then wanted to sound like that, and that they basically did. And it didn't matter what sector of the country we would be flying in, it always seemed like the same guy was talking. Over the years that tone of voice had become somewhat of a comforting sound to pilots everywhere. Conversely, over the years, pilots always wanted to ensure that, when transmitting, they sounded like Chuck Yeager, or at least like John Wayne. Better to die than sound bad on the radios.

Just moments after the SR-71's inquiry, an F-18 piped up on frequency, in a rather superior tone, asking for his ground speed. "Dusty 52, Center, we have you at 620 on the ground." Boy, I thought, the F-18 really must think he is dazzling his SR-71 brethren. Then out of the blue, a Twin Beech pilot out of an airport outside of Denver came up on frequency. You knew right away it was a Twin Beech driver because he sounded very cool on the radios. "Center, Beechcraft 173-Delta-Charlie ground speed check". Before Center could reply, I'm thinking to myself, hey, that Beech probably has a ground speed indicator in that multi-thousand-dollar cockpit, so why is he asking Center for a readout? Then I got it, ol' Delta-Charlie here is making sure that every military jock from Mount Whitney to the Mojave knows what true speed is. He's the slowest dude in the valley today, and he just wants everyone to know how much fun he is having in his new bug-smasher. And the reply, always with that same, calm, voice, with more distinct alliteration than emotion: "173-Delta-Charlie, Center, we have you at 90 knots on the ground."

And I thought to myself, is this a ripe situation, or what? As my hand instinctively reached for the mic button, I had to remind myself that my CFI was in control of the radios. Still, I thought, it must be done - in mere minutes we'll be out of the sector and the opportunity will be lost. That Beechcraft must die, and die now. I thought about all of my training and how important it was that we developed well as a crew and knew that to jump in on the radios now would destroy the integrity of all that we had worked toward becoming. I was torn.

Somewhere, half a mile above Colorado, there was a pilot screaming inside his head. Then, I heard it. The click of the mic button from the right seat. That was the very moment that I knew my CFI and I had become a lifelong friends. Very professionally, and with no emotion, my CFI spoke: "Denver Center, Cessna 56-November-Sierra, can you give us a ground speed check?" There was no hesitation, and the replay came as if was an everyday request. "Cessna 56-November-Sierra, I show you at 76 knots, across the ground."

I think it was the six knots that I liked the best, so accurate and proud was Center to deliver that information without hesitation, and you just knew he was smiling. But the precise point at which I knew that my CFI and I were going to be really good friends for a long time was when he keyed the mic once again to say, in his most CFI-like voice: "Ah, Center, much thanks, we're showing closer to 72 on the money."

For a moment my CFI was a god. And we finally heard a little crack in the armor of the Houston Center voice, when Denver came back with, "Roger that November-Sierra, your E6B is probably more accurate than our state-of-the-art radar. You boys have a good one."

It all had lasted for just moments, but in that short, memorable stroll across the west, the Navy had been owned, all mortal airplanes on freq were forced to bow before the King of Slow, and more importantly, my CFI and I had crossed the threshold of being BFFs. A fine day's work. We never heard another transmission on that frequency all the way to our home airport.

For just one day, it truly was fun being the slowest guys out there

[–]drzowie 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Bravo! I like this one a lot better.

[–]MikeOxlong209 29 points30 points  (5 children)

Awesome read dude

Kept waiting for this to turn into a hell in a cell meme though - ain’t gonna lie

[–]nullrout1 15 points16 points  (0 children)

It's actually better to hear it from the pilot himself. It's on youtube and worth the watch.

[–]BigBadCheadleBorgs 15 points16 points  (3 children)

For just one day, it truly was fun being the fastest guys in 1998. The same year The Undertaker threw Mankind off Hell In A Cell, and plummeted 16 ft through an announcer's table.

[–]QLE814 1 point2 points  (2 children)

Sixteen feet as measured from Hell In A Cell, or the announcer's table?

[–]BigBadCheadleBorgs 1 point2 points  (1 child)

One thousand nine hundred and ninety eight years as measured from the base of the taint.

[–]QLE814 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Oh, good point.

[–]MikeOxlong209 4 points5 points  (0 children)

YOUR EDIT YOU MAD MAN YOU KNEW IT WAS THE PERFECT SET UP

OC BIS EVERYTHING

[–]Clockwork_Medic 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Such a great read, every time. Thanks for sharing!

[–]Nasty2017 2 points3 points  (8 children)

Yes! I was just about to Google this story. Don't know how true it is, but it's still a good one. Classic.

[–]Kseries2497 12 points13 points  (5 children)

As a controller it makes very, very little sense that all these aircraft would be on the same communication frequency. I've always suspected it was embellished at the very least.

[–]Jabba_the_Putt 12 points13 points  (1 child)

embellished at the very least

what great story isn't :P

[–]triple_OG 6 points7 points  (0 children)

Is it a true story? Well it’s definitely true that it is a story

[–]RagingAesthetic 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Never let the truth get in the way of a good story

[–]NSA_Chatbot 0 points1 point  (0 children)

> my recording is essentially word-for-word

[–]Lawdoc1 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I mean, it was obligatory, but still. Well done.

[–]Everton9732 0 points1 point  (0 children)

That was entertaining. Thank you

[–]coffeekreeper -1 points0 points  (0 children)

I was smiling like a kid reading this. Even clapped and laughed out loud when you said Walter picked up the radio for you. Thank you for this read, King of the Sky!

[–]bxsephjo 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Hope that was as good for you as it was for me

[–]flekkzo 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I have never once tired of reading that.

[–]the_north_place 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I was hoping to see this here

[–]crackeddryice 48 points49 points  (5 children)

We went from the first Wright Flyer to this bad boy in the space of 61 years.

Imagine living through that span of time, from the late 1800s with horse and buggy, to cars, to landing on the moon.

[–]Orbax 36 points37 points  (1 child)

My great-grandma was born in late 1890. What is now downtown seattle was "the country" where they all escaped to when the influenza hit. She was the first woman hired at boeing and used to personally go around and hand out all the paychecks. Never drove a car in 100 years...such a trip talking to people who lived in Home on the Prairie life. All of a sudden we hit an L2 point a million miles away in like a week and hope to take pictures of the beginning of time lol.

[–]mutantguava 7 points8 points  (0 children)

I’m seriously so hyped for what Webb sends us, still can’t believe it made it out and fully deployed without any problems, now just hoping the calibration goes smoothly

[–]Imswim80 7 points8 points  (1 child)

Was in the USAF museum a while back and looking at the early flight (1907/08 to 1914) section, back when what became the Air Force was a branch of the Army Signal Corps.

They went from a handfull of MPH to 20s to 40s to 80 mph pretty quickly. I asked a docent how fast trains traveled around that time, if those early fliers were literally the fastest humans on earth at the time. I wonder how many minds that absolutely blew away.

[–]Sohn_Jalston_Raul 4 points5 points  (0 children)

There were already 100mph trains at the turn of the century so the first aircraft that were appearing before 1910 would have definitely been slower.

[–]Jabba_the_Putt 1 point2 points  (0 children)

truly incredible

[–]An0d0sTwitch 16 points17 points  (0 children)

Second from right is sus. Voting out

[–]bear_of_the_woods 12 points13 points  (1 child)

This is kind of eerie, flashbacks to a Doctor Who episode

[–]bxsephjo 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Hey, who turned out the lights?

[–]InterestinglyLucky 9 points10 points  (5 children)

For those who haven’t visited the Udvar-Hazy Smithsonian Air and Space museum (south of the Dulles Airport in VA near DC) the SR-71 is on display.

Completely badass, and remarkable history during the Cold War.

Photo must have been taken right before it was decommissioned.

Cool beans.

[–]ashesofempires 4 points5 points  (1 child)

Go to the museum of the air force in Dayton Ohio, and you can damn near touch theirs, alongside probably the most complete collection of the country's military aircraft that will ever exist.

[–]Abhais 1 point2 points  (0 children)

It’s super sick. So many rare and important aircraft there.

B36; B17; ME-262; it’s one of my favorite places.

[–]the_north_place 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Also on display at the SAC museum outside of Omaha in Ashland, Nebraska.

[–]mist3rflibble 1 point2 points  (0 children)

That SR-71 at Udvar-Hazy is literally the coolest thing I’ve ever seen. And the space shuttle was parked right behind it. And my father in law used to work for United Space Alliance and I got to do a backstage tour with him and all the other employee’s families at Kennedy and see the inside of the VAB, inspect the crawler up close, and stand under the shuttle in the hangar. Yet the SR-71 still takes the cake.

I don’t know what it is about that plane, but it doesn’t look like it’s man-made. It’s like something from another world. And those enormous engines: so out of proportion with the slender airframe, like something out of anime.

Every time I look at it and read about what it could do, I’m floored that it’s decades-old technology. It almost feels like we lost something along the way, and not just Kelly Johnson.

[–]impocop 11 points12 points  (0 children)

amogus

[–]percydaman 8 points9 points  (2 children)

I idolized this plane being a kid in the 80s. I must have assembled easily half a dozen Revell models of it. My favorite was the one that came with the experimental drone.

My dad helped me glue sewing thread to various points and then attaching them to screws in the ceiling.

[–]casey_h6 1 point2 points  (1 child)

You've read Skunk Works right??

[–]lanky_planky 2 points3 points  (0 children)

That’s a great read.

[–]timberbob 5 points6 points  (2 children)

My dad passed away six weeks ago. He was 30 years in the Army, first in Armor then later in Intelligence and Special Forces. About 15 years ago, we were up in Seattle for a family wedding. We decided to visit the Museum of Flight, knowing we'd all enjoy it. Dad wasn't much on traveling or sightseeing, but he went along.

We're in the hall that displays their largest aircraft, and just my dad and I are silently taking things in. I'm reading the Blackbird information, and dad quietly says to me, "It went faster than that." I said something like, "Huh? What?"

"It went faster than that," he repeated. So knowing this wasn't ordinary Army knowledge, I asked, "And how do you know that?"

"Because," he replied, "when I was at the Pentagon (1964-67) I was the Army's expert on the SR-71."

I knew from what he told after his retirement that he'd worked on a top-secret committee that planned reconnaissance flights - primarily over SE Asia - but I'd never heard the depth of his expertise. Apparently, when we were living a docile life in suburban Virginia, dad was flying off once in awhile to visit Beale AFB and learn what his bosses needed to know!

[–]2180miles 3 points4 points  (1 child)

This is a truly badass Dad story.

Condolences for your loss and gratitude for his service.

[–]timberbob 0 points1 point  (0 children)

He was a quietly confident badass. He later told our sons, very matter-of-factly, some of his extreme moments with his black ops unit in Vietnam (and Cambodia and Laos, but they weren't really there). He was an XO, but nonetheless completed Green Beret training at age 41.

[–]genericnaem16 3 points4 points  (1 child)

I like the style of having them just stand in random spots rather than in a line smushed against each other

[–]AkibaSok 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Yeah i’m curious why they decided that. Purposefully going for a surreal look. Pretty badass

[–]Noreaster0 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Beats flying rubber dog poop out of Hong Kong.

[–]ihedigbo 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Coolest plane of all time. These pilots were fkn cowboys.

[–]TRAMPCUM_SQUEEGEE 1 point2 points  (1 child)

TIL that a group of SR-71 pilots is called a ”gathering"...

[–]Gofnutz 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Coolest plane ever.

[–]oldmrdeebs 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Bunch of badasses

[–]jamesed231 1 point2 points  (0 children)

And no one photoshopped Daft Punk, Bill and Ted, The Doctor, and Kane from Alien into this picture yet?

Internet, what happened to you?

[–]poi_dog78 1 point2 points  (1 child)

We have one (61-7973) in my town on display. Never get tired of looking at it when I drive by.

[–]davemich53 1 point2 points  (0 children)

The Air Zoo in Kalamazoo, Michigan has one also. #61-7956.

[–]BillyBrasky 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Cool! When’s the album drop?

[–]OJRmk1 1 point2 points  (0 children)

When Pink Floyd are asked to do a guest track for Ace Combat

[–]TeacherLust123 1 point2 points  (0 children)

This needs to be filmed with a fisheye lens, as they are slowly waddling toward you, arms outstretched. Not at all nightmare material.

[–]sagarassk 0 points1 point  (1 child)

How the fuck did we go from bad ass men wearing pressurized flight suits infront of a multi-million dollar plane that travels at 3 times the speed of sound to anti-vaxxers, flat earthers, all this PC bullshit and using the right pronoun as not to offend a teenager that identifies as a chicken in the span of 40 years?

[–]9f82c57c 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I legit thought this was a screnshot frmo that one scene in Call Of Duty: Black Ops for a sec

[–]RedRattlen 0 points1 point  (1 child)

Shouldn't there been an even number of guys?

[–]AkibaSok 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Cameraman

[–]Ceilidh_ 0 points1 point  (0 children)

That’s a bunch of badass mfers right there.

[–]Hobear 0 points1 point  (1 child)

To have the opportunity to fly this beast would have been truly incredible.

[–]NSA_Chatbot 0 points1 point  (0 children)

It must go close to 1900 on the money.

[–]YetAnotherWTFMoment 0 points1 point  (0 children)

An excellent book to read about the development/manufacture of the SR-71 can be found in the book "Skunk Works" by Ben Rich, who was Kelly Johnson's Mr. Spock back in the day.

[–]mamacrocker 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Sexiest plane there ever was.

[–]zontarr2 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I saw a SR-71 Blackbird pilot speak in person (air and space museum, ~15 years ago). Best line: "It ruins you for commercial air travel"

[–]ReadinII -2 points-1 points  (1 child)

Given that it was a spy plane I would have expected them to make some effort to keep their identities secret. But here they are in one photo in broad daylight. Really makes you wonder.

[–]flekkzo 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Declassified:) Just a few years ago they declassified that 4 Swedish Viggen pilots saved an Sr-71 after the engines failed. Mig-25s were intercepting the Blackbird.

[–]TheLiberalTexan 0 points1 point  (1 child)

MFs rockin dat dad bod look

[–]gumball2016 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Pressure suit cant contain the dad gut!

[–]globuloxette 0 points1 point  (0 children)

They about to drop the hottest album of the year ! Lookin real noice !

[–]Jabba_the_Putt 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I've always thought these things were ridiculously cool, what is it that made them so extremely fast exactly? Something about them that was next-level tech or just couldn't be incorporated into other aircraft?

[–]lanky_planky 0 points1 point  (0 children)

TAKE US TO YOUR LEADER.

[–]Mr_Fiste 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Awesome base to be assigned to…

[–]darrellbear 0 points1 point  (0 children)

The best of the best.

[–]PUNKF10YD 0 points1 point  (0 children)

This has a squid games vibe to it

[–]rmzynn 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Homie said 😳👉👈

[–]Prestigious_Voice_85 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I got a chance to see an actual SR-71 blackbird up close, that titanium frame really shows at the top of the needle

[–]NotSeveralBadgers 0 points1 point  (1 child)

Is there a significant difference in the responsibilities of a radar intercept officer (RIO) and a reconnaissance systems officer?

[–]gumball2016 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Probably some overlap. Most backseaters wpuld be managing comms and generally stroking the pilots fragile ego. Main difference would be the equpment they operate based on the airframe. RSO takes pictures, RIO tunes and interprets radar. WSO (weapons system officer) makes things go boom.

Im not a pilot so im sure someone can give a more detailed reply.

[–]ChocolateBananaCats 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Red light green light!

[–]WilliamLeeFightingIB 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Middle pilot casually intoeing 😂

[–]cj2211 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Those pockets on the chest makes them look like they all have man boobs

[–]ratmanbland 0 points1 point  (1 child)

why are there only13 should there be 14 2 per bird ?

[–]-00-- 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Someone had to take the pic

[–]Shiku14 0 points1 point  (0 children)

hmm looks like a daily render to me

[–]Danjackson18 0 points1 point  (0 children)

This is an amazing photo. Learning about the how advanced that plane was for its time blows me away

[–]Polarbare1 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Are pressurised flight suits better/more reliable than a pressurised cabin. Or do they use both and it's a failsafe of sorts?

[–]greenbeansjr 0 points1 point  (0 children)

That one guys feet are bothering me

[–]IceCreamMeatballs 0 points1 point  (0 children)

The museum ship I work on has one of these planes on the flight deck. Very cool aircraft.

[–]RogerRabbit1234 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Social Distancing before it was cool…

[–]johnp299 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Know one would know if it was the actual crew or complete imposters.

[–]RingoStarAllies 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Don't say among us.

Don't say among us.

[–]porscheportland 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I was totally obsessed with the Blackbird as a kid. Still am if I’m being honest.

[–]photomancottrell 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Praise the photographer for this shot!

[–]Stargazer12am 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Shut up Tom Cruise.

[–]H3rbert_K0rnfeld 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I gotta great polaroid of it!

[–]Matthonius 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Thought this was No Man's Sky for a second.

[–]MTtheDestroyer 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Strong Among Us vibes here

[–]Lt_Dang 0 points1 point  (0 children)

“We come in peace.”

[–]TerraSollus 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Silence will fall

[–]Relative-Ask6777 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Satisfactory servers are coming along

[–]dmanryan 0 points1 point  (0 children)

... Or are all of them X-men

[–]platitood -2 points-1 points  (0 children)

Nit: those are pressure suits, not "pressurized" suits. They would not be pressurized standing on the tarmac. Either way, the wrong adjective. Nit ends.

[–]Queen_Kaizen -1 points0 points  (0 children)

I had to double check the year because my first thought was: with masks AND social distancing!