Thanks Thanks:  0
Likes Likes:  0
Results 1 to 18 of 18

Thread: great sr71 story

  1. #1

    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    WA
    Posts
    308
    Post Thanks / Like

    great sr71 story

    this really made me chuckle:

    Written by Brian Schul - former sled driver

    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 plan 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 thatŠ 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 groundspeed. in Beach.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.


    (freestone adds: and maybe the only thing to add to that day, would be if I was out in a J3 and doing 50mph ground speed, and asked for my check AFTER the sr71!)

  2. #2

    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Idaho
    Posts
    222
    Post Thanks / Like

    sr71

    The other day I heard Oakland Center clear "Pinion 1 Flight" above FL600. 71's or 22's??...

  3. #3
    tgarrison's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Johnson City, TN
    Posts
    67
    Post Thanks / Like
    "Pinion" is a U-2/TR-1 callsign.

    Thomas

  4. #4

    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Idaho
    Posts
    222
    Post Thanks / Like

    sr71

    Thanks! I meant U-2, duh. 71's aren't flying now, right?

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    344
    Post Thanks / Like
    A couple years ago I flew a J-3 out to Colorado from Minnesota. The ground speed at one point was 31 miles per hour. At that point I commenced flight level of 20 feet. Fun trip! Guess I’m just at the other side of the spectrum…

    Lippy

  6. #6
    Grant's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    At Work.....
    Posts
    1,799
    Post Thanks / Like
    Navy buddy of mine went through the interview process for the company flying the TR-1. He got all the way through and decided not to do it. lots of days away, like 330 days a year. He had some interesting comments about true vs. indicated airspeed at altitude and ground speed. He also made some interesting observations about landing the aircraft. Apparently you got to throw the yoke to the stops when your slow to get it to budge. But at speed it flys nice. He also said departure deck angle is like 45 degrees.

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Omaha NE
    Posts
    816
    Post Thanks / Like
    The other day enroute northbound over Oklahoma I heard a military call sign check in "above FL600" to the center.

    A few minutes later, center called him back saying, "Mil XYZ, are you planning a left turn ahead, NOT THAT IT MAKES ANY DIFFERENCE"

    Must be nice to have all the airspace to oneself.

    I'll still take 60' agl any day, though.

    .

  8. #8
    Bill Ingerson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Snohomish Washington
    Posts
    1,433
    Post Thanks / Like

    SR-71

    Freestone, Thanks for that story thats my favorite plane, it would be fun to hear more about it. Thanks again.

    Bill

  9. #9

    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    WA
    Posts
    308
    Post Thanks / Like
    That story got emailed to me, and I just thought it was great.

    Bill, since you are near Seattle, I assume you have been to the flight museum at Boeing Field. For others not familiar, if you come to seattle it is a great museum.

    They also have Kennedy's Air Force One, concorde, a whole building full of WWII warbirds, jets, etc. Really a great flight museum. And a couple of full motion real flight simulators - the expensive ones, that can definately get you loopy.

    And the original Boeing barn where the first planes were made when Boeing bought the yacht company making his boat when they went bankrupt and later started making seaplanes there.

    Cool place.

  10. #10
    Bill Ingerson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Snohomish Washington
    Posts
    1,433
    Post Thanks / Like

    Flight

    Freestone, your right about the Seattle Boeing aircraft museum. They have a sr-71 there that you can sit in. Wish the line was not so long maybe next time I can sit in it.

  11. #11

    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    5
    Post Thanks / Like
    I'll definitely second the notion that the Boeing Museum in Seattle is awesome. I was lucky enough to have almost the whole place to myself on a recent visit to Seattle. The DaVinci exhibit was interesting as well !

    Sitting down in the SR-71 cockpit was pretty surreal, even with all the plexiglass over the gauges and controls.

    The first photo I took in the museum was of a J-3 hanging from the ceiling !

    And it was pretty cool to see the 2 safes on board Air Force One where they kept the nuclear launch codes...

    Hasta ~

  12. #12
    slowmover's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Little Rock, AR
    Posts
    336
    Post Thanks / Like
    There's another good SR-71 story that I heard about an SR-71 overflying France without a diplomatic clearance and a couple of fighters pulled up to visually ID the SR-71. One of the crewmembers gave them the finger and said something like "here's all the dip clearance we need" as they left the fighters in the dust.

    Anybody else seen that one?

  13. #13
    supilot's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    49WA
    Posts
    474
    Post Thanks / Like
    would have been fun to fly

  14. #14
    Bill Ingerson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Snohomish Washington
    Posts
    1,433
    Post Thanks / Like

    flight

    What amazes me is that the Black Bird was built about 1964 and can go faster than a 30-06 bullet. Holey Donuts Batman ! Who thunk that one up?

    Bill

  15. #15
    kase's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Posts
    1,575
    Post Thanks / Like
    I have you at one hundred and twenty-five knots of ground speed
    show you at one thousand eight hundred and forty-two knots
    Center radar only reads gs in 10kt increments.

  16. #16
    supilot's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    49WA
    Posts
    474
    Post Thanks / Like
    cool plane

  17. #17
    Widebody's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    ND/AZ
    Posts
    747
    Post Thanks / Like
    27/28 July 1976: SR-71A sets speed and altitude records (Altitude in Horizontal Flight: 85,068.997 ft. and Speed Over a Straight Course: 2,193.167 mph).

    Though I walk thru the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil "FOR I AM AT 80,000 FT. AND CLIMBING"

    Saw a picture of this saying on a sign that hung above the BlackBird pilots lounge. It's on the net but can't find it now.

  18. #18
    supilot's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    49WA
    Posts
    474
    Post Thanks / Like
    i remember hearing somewhere that it used to leak fuel like crazy while parked on the ground, but while in the air the tank skins warmed up from the air friction causing expansion so no fuel leaked out. i also think it had to refuel in the air after each takeoff. crazy stuff

Similar Threads

  1. A great story of Overcoming!
    By PA12driver in forum Sportsman's Den
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 02-27-2006, 09:43 AM

Bookmarks

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •