With inspiring perseverance, Brian Shul overcame near-fatal wartime injuries to fly the SR-71 Blackbird – the fastest and highest-flying aircraft the world has ever seen.
Let there be light: Pilot Brian Shul and the refusal to give up.
Faster, further and brighter against all odds. Honoring legendary pilot Major Brian Shul, Ball Watch has realized the limited-edition AeroGMT Sled Driver. With inspiring perseverance, he overcame near-fatal wartime injuries to fly the SR-71 Blackbird – the fastest and highest-flying aircraft the world has ever seen.
“We’re excited to welcome him into the BALL Explorers Club with a cockpit-ready chronometer that displays the time in three geographic zones,” Ball Watch says on its website. “Its beautifully curved sapphire bezel shines with micro gas lights for perfect 24-hour GMT reading in absolute darkness. Ultra-tough and extremely bright, the Sled Driver is built to challenge all headwinds – and charge endlessly forward.”
As the video in this post shows, from attack pilot in the US Air Force (USAF) to extraordinary aviator of the world’s fastest plane, the story of Brian Shul is awe-inspiring. While flying secret ops toward the end of the Vietnam War, Shul was shot down near the Cambodian border. Surviving the initial impact of crash landing in the jungle, Shul was trapped inside a fiery cockpit. Just as his helmet visor began to melt, he managed to free himself and crawl, severely burned, from the flaming wreckage. A Special Operations Pararescue team extracted the downed pilot by helicopter from hostile territory, and evacuated him to a military hospital where he was not expected to survive his burns. One year and 15 surgeries later, Shul astonished the military world by overcoming his traumatic injuries and passing every flight physical demanded of him in order to fly again. After flying fighter jets for 10 years, he applied to pilot the SR-71 Blackbird. With a titanium pin in his finger and nerves of steel, he became part of an elite group of pilots skilled enough to fly the famed spy plane. Brian Shul is proof that with the right attitude, all things are possible.
A wonder of the modern world, the SR-71 first took flight in 1964 and served for more than 35 years. Respectfully dubbed “The Sled” by some, its design and purpose reinvented what a supersonic spy plane could be and raised the bar for aviation technology. After months of training, a crew of two would gear up in space suits and embark on highly-confidential reconnaissance missions around the world. With powerful jet engines punctuating its fireproof titanium skin, The Sled could quickly exceed 2,000 mph while at 85,000 feet. When in danger, Shul could simply outrace and escape any threat. More than 50 years later, both Shul and The Sled are still an awe-inspiring story.
For more info on Ball Watch AeroGMT Sled Driver, click here.
Photo credit: Ball Watch and Brian Shul via Sleddriver.com