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GH85Carrera 11-10-2014 11:15 AM

SR-71 flyover of Hanoi
Amazing Tales of SR-71 Blackbird Plane

I didn’t realize it had flown over Hanoi to let our POW’s know they were not forgotten. Not one but three of them at once. The sound of freedom! :cool:

Like most of the airplane loving geeks on this board I have always thought the SR-71 is the coolest of them all. I have watched many of the interviews of SR-71 pilots and this one is short and very sweet. Very cool.

Jesset100 11-10-2014 11:53 AM


GH85Carrera 11-10-2014 11:58 AM

I talked to a POW that stayed at the Hanoi Hilton and he said during one of the bombing runs from the B-52 most of the locals ran TO the prison because they knew we would not bomb it. The same guards that liked to act tough and be total hard cases were peeing their pants in fear of the bombs.

To hear three sonic booms from three SR-71s all at once had to get their attention. No real physical damage was done but it had to terrify the entire city.

MT930 11-10-2014 12:01 PM

Great Story, Back when we liked to send messages.

Boeing History of Flight a month ago.

Hawkeye's-911T 11-10-2014 12:09 PM

I visited the Museum of Flight in Seattle about 3yrs ago. I spent a lot of time around the SR-71. One helluva an aircraft considering when & how it was built & is still awe inspiring to this day. Everything from the materials used in constructing the airframe, to the engines - the 'whole nine yards' was basically designed from scratch. Just amazing - & OBTW, the rest of the museum is very worthwhile visiting if you're ever in the area. I plan on going again soon seeing as it is (relatively speaking) in my backyard. Thanks for the vid Glen.

Edit: I just noticed the P &W J58 engine that was on display (port side) doesn't appear visible in your photo - Has it been moved elsewhere or is it just the angle of the photo hiding it?


island911 11-10-2014 12:29 PM

Paraphrasing from his book Sled Driver... SR-71 pilot Brian Shul has one cool story about returning from flying over Libya. Apparently he boomed it when Gadhafi was on stage ranting tough-guy anti-American warrior rhetoric .. Boom - Gadhafi hits the deck ... Shul got back in time to see it on the news.

JD159 11-10-2014 01:30 PM

Thread inspired me to google sr71 stories. It's got some length, but just as much substance.

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.

Mo_Gearhead 11-10-2014 01:39 PM

The ONLY thing that would have made that story better - would to have been sitting in a bar and drinking a beer while hearing it! Well done (and written) JD!

Hawkeye's-911T 11-10-2014 01:40 PM

Sub'd - inadvertently "unsubscribed"

gorthar 11-10-2014 01:59 PM


Originally Posted by MT930 (Post 8347135)
Great Story, Back when we liked to send messages.

Boeing History of Flight a month ago.

The Blackbird at the Boeing Museaum of Flight is actually an M-21 variant designed to launch the D-21 drones. It is the only survivor out of two built.

From the coolest blackbird site on the web, they have the history of every blackbird tail numbers, A-12, YF-12, M-21 and Sr-71... and lots of great pics: - 06940 - Blackbird Photo Archive

Awesome video btw!

quattrorunner 11-10-2014 02:14 PM


jyl 11-10-2014 02:15 PM

Totally cool story.

Now, we would loiter stealth drones over Hanoi and steer missiles through Ho Chi Minh's bedroom windows. Not as cool, but still pretty cool.

strupgolf 11-10-2014 02:19 PM

Now today in this PO type world, King O has stated he will not tolerate loud noises, don't make anyone upset and lets just get along.

LWJ 11-10-2014 05:30 PM

I saw the Boeing SR-71 on some flatbed trucks as they were heading to the museum. The plane was in three large parts if I recollect accurately. They stopped in Wilsonville, OR for a little amusement of the locals. It was spectacular to look at the internal construction as well as the external. Sort of a high-point for me.

sc_rufctr 11-10-2014 05:32 PM

Coolest plane ever.

I love how parts of the plane surfaces are not perfect and you can even see rivets in some places.
Apparently they leak fuel until they "warm up".

Porsche-O-Phile 11-10-2014 05:53 PM


There's some cool stuff (not just the 71) there.

That plane is amazing. I'd give my left nut for a couple of hours of flight time in one.

VillaRicaGA911 11-10-2014 06:29 PM

No leaking of fuel, a common misconception I learned this past summer from the SR.-71 display in Mobile,AL. Turns out the driver of that sled was a native of the great state of Alabama and on his death bed told his wife all the details of his work. The planes were never fully loaded with fuel while on the ground because it would have been too heavy to take off. How much gas is that you are asking? Try 2 semi truck taker fulls is the total amount too gas a SR 71 can hold.

onewhippedpuppy 11-10-2014 06:37 PM


Originally Posted by VillaRicaGA911 (Post 8347783)
No leaking of fuel, a common misconception I learned this past summer from the SR.-71 display in Mobile,AL. Turns out the driver of that sled was a native of the great state of Alabama and on his death bed told his wife all the details of his work. The planes were never fully loaded with fuel while on the ground because it would have been too heavy to take off. How much gas is that you are asking? Try 2 semi truck taker fulls is the total amount too gas a SR 71 can hold.

Any actual sources for that? Because I've read in multiple places that because of the extreme heat associated with flying at the edge of the atmosphere at Mach 3+, they were required to build them "loose" at ambient temperature to allow for adequate surface expansion.

gorthar 11-10-2014 07:04 PM

They definitely leaked fuel for the reasons explained by onewhippedpuppy above. There was a certain acceptable tolerance for these leaks literally measured in drips per hour. Anything over the tolerance would require the aircraft to pulled apart and the offending tank would be resealed. It wasn't something any maintenance personel were fond of because the process was messy and the results were limited at best.

The leaking is shown at about the 3:06 mark in this clip:

<iframe width="420" height="315" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

winders 11-10-2014 07:43 PM


Originally Posted by VillaRicaGA911 (Post 8347783)
The planes were never fully loaded with fuel while on the ground because it would have been too heavy to take off. How much gas is that you are asking? Try 2 semi truck taker fulls is the total amount too gas a SR 71 can hold.

Incorrect again:

Blackbirds Myth & Fact

The SR-71 could and did take off with full tanks. That was not normal procedure, that's all.

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