Reconnaissance Systems Officer

Here’s why R2-D2, the SR-71 Astroinertial Navigation System, was essential for Blackbird mission

Here’s why R2-D2, the SR-71 Astroinertial Navigation System, was essential for Blackbird mission

The SR-71 Blackbird Astroinertial Navigation System was affectionately called R2-D2 after the Star Wars movie came out in 1977. No… Read More

2 years ago

When an SR-71 Blackbird crew made an emergency landing in a small air base in South Korea, a letter signed by a VIP granted them extra help

‘When we went on a combat mission, we carried a sealed letter in our pocket. We were told the letters… Read More

2 years ago

SR-71 RSO tells the story of the KC-135Q Stratotanker that flew unprotected into Northern Laos to save his Blackbird after it had a Double-Engine Flameout

‘We zipped through the target area with no problems and began the start descent checklist. As Jim pulled the throttle… Read More

2 years ago

“We could have gone faster.” SR-71 Blackbird crew members recall the Inlet Unstart that prevented them to go Faster than Mach 3.2 during the Absolute Speed Record run

‘Al and I had the ACTUAL speed record. 2200 indicated in our equipment aboard 958! Theirs.... 2193....NAH!,’ Lt. Col. George… Read More

2 years ago

Once an F-101 pilot tried to race against an SR-71. He gave up when the Blackbird’s RSO asked him how fast his Voodoo could climb above 80,000 feet.

‘On takeoff roll, an F-101 came upon our wing; he was going to race us whether we wanted to or… Read More

2 years ago

SR-71 pilot tells the story of when he and his RSO were able to save their Blackbird after it had an engine explosion above 60,000 feet and Mach 2.5

Blackbird pilot Ben Bowles and RSO Butch Sheffield were presented the Air Force “Well Done” award when they saved SR-71… Read More

2 years ago

SR-71 RSO’s daughter tells the story of when her father became the first USAF officer to eject from a Blackbird Mach 3+ Spy Plane

On Apr. 13, 1967, my father, Richard ‘Butch’ Sheffield became the first Air Force officer to eject from an SR-71… Read More

2 years ago

That time an SR-71 deployed Ladies Underwear (along with the drag chute) upon landing to adjust the attitude of a new Blackbird pilot

One of the unwritten requirements to become an SR-71 Blackbird crew member/maintainer was to have an outrageous sense of humor.… Read More

2 years ago

SR-71 pilot tells the story of when he and his RSO set four speed records flying from L.A. to D.C. in less than 65 minutes during their final flight in the Blackbird

‘My excitement in flying the highest and fastest plane ever was mixed with some sadness on this day because it… Read More

3 years ago

Did you know “Habubrats” were given shots of penicillin so that their fathers would not get flu that could cause them to flunk SR-71 Blackbird preflight physical check?

‘I know from personal experience since my father used to fly the SR-71 Blackbird (Butch Sheffield) having a cold could… Read More

3 years ago

The story of the letter signed by a VIP that granted extra help to an SR-71 Blackbird crew after an emergency landing in a small air base in South Korea

“I gave an envelope to the base commander.... I was instructed to give this envelope out if we were ever… Read More

3 years ago

How to pee at Mach 3: former SR-71 driver explains how to go to the bathroom while flying the iconic Blackbird

"How about solid waste? We just had to control any urges. There was occasional incidents; no names mentioned here!" Richard H.… Read More

6 years ago

Read the story of the SR-71 crew that landed their Blackbird in zero visibility

"With no forward visibility from the back seat, my RSO was looking through his viewsight and had picked up the… Read More

6 years ago

Former SR-71 Blackbird crew members share their most interesting stories

"You haven't been lost till you've been lost at Mach 3 because for every minute that you don't know where… Read More

6 years ago

The story of Belmont 86, the SR-71 that made an emergency landing in Norway after spying over Murmansk

"My call sign was 'Belmont 86' and my transmissions to approach control were something like this: 'Bodø Approach, Belmont 86,… Read More

6 years ago