The Illustrated Profile of Every Aircraft, Crew, and Breakthrough of the World's Fastest Stealth Jet
Author: Richard Graham
Publisher: Zenith Press
The ultimate SR-71 book which profiles the history, development, manufacture, modification, and active service of all 50 models in the SR-71 program. At the height of the Cold War in 1964, President Johnson announced a new aircraft dedicated to strategic reconnaissance. The Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird spy plane flew more than three-and-a-half times the speed of sound--so fast that no other aircraft could catch it. Above 80,000 feet, its pilots had to wear full-pressure flight suits similar to what was used aboard the space shuttle. Developed by the renowned Lockheed Skunk Works, the SR-71 was an awesome aircraft in every respect. It was withdrawn from use in 1998, when it was superseded by satellite technology. Twelve of the thirty-two aircraft were destroyed in accidents, but none were ever lost to enemy action. Throughout its thirty-four-year career, the SR-71 was the world's fastest and highest-flying operational manned aircraft. It set world records for altitude and speed: an absolute altitude record of 85,069 feet and an absolute speed record of 2,193.2 miles per hour. The Complete Book of the SR-71 Blackbird covers every aspect of the SR-71's development, manufacture, modification, and active service from the insider's perspective of one of its pilots and is lavishly illustrated with more than 400 photos. Former pilot and author Richard Graham also examines each of the fifty planes that came out the SR-71 program (fifteen A-12s; three YF-12s; and thirty-two SR-71s) and tells each plane's history, its unique specifications, and where each currently resides.
The Complete Illustrated History of the Blackbird, The World's Highest, Fastest Plane
Author: Richard H. Graham
Publisher: Zenith Press
At the height of the Cold War in 1964, President Johnson announced a new aircraft dedicated to strategic reconnaissance. The Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird spy plane flew more than three-and-a-half times the speed of sound, so fast that no other aircraft could catch it. Above 80,000 feet, its pilots had to wear full-pressure flight suits similar to what was used aboard the space shuttle. Developed by the renowned Lockheed Skunk Works, the SR-71 was an awesome aircraft in every respect, and it took the world by storm. The SR-71 was in service with the U.S. Air Force from 1964 to 1998, when it was withdrawn from use, superseded by satellite technology. Twelve of the thirty-two aircraft were destroyed in accidents, but none were ever lost to enemy action. Throughout its thirty-four-year career, the SR-71 was the world’s fastest and highest-flying operational manned aircraft. It set world records for altitude and speed: an absolute altitude record of 85,069 feet on July 28, 1974, and an absolute speed record of 2,193.2 miles per hour on the same day. On September 1, 1974, it set a speed and time record over a recognized course between New York and London (3,508 miles) of 1,435.587 miles per hour and an elapsed time of 1 hour, 54 minutes, 56.4 seconds. SR-71 covers every aspect of the SR-71’s development, manufacture, modification, and active service from the insider’s perspective of one its pilots and is lavishly illustrated with more than 200 photos.
For anyone who has ever wondered what its like to fly the SR-71 on a secret Mach 3 reconnaissance mission, this book has the answer. Flying the SR-71 Blackbird takes readers along on an operational mission that only a few Air Force pilots have ever experienced. The Lockheed SR-71, unofficially known as the Blackbird, was an advanced, long-range, Mach 3 strategic reconnaissance aircraft developed by Lockheed Skunk Works. The aircraft flew so fast and high that not one was ever shot down, even by a missile. SR-71 pilot and instructor Colonel Richard Graham offers a rare cockpit perspective on how regular Air Force pilots and navigators transformed themselves into SR-71 Blackbird crews, turning their unique aviation talents to account in an unprecedented way. Arguably the worlds foremost expert on piloting the Blackbird, Graham details, as no one else could, what an SR-71 mission entails, from donning a pressure suit to returning to base.
From the development of the U-2 to the Stealth fighter, the never-before-told story behind America's high-stakes quest to dominate the skies Skunk Works is the true story of America's most secret and successful aerospace operation. As recounted by Ben Rich, the operation's brilliant boss for nearly two decades, the chronicle of Lockheed's legendary Skunk Works is a drama of cold war confrontations and Gulf War air combat, of extraordinary feats of engineering and human achievement against fantastic odds. Here are up-close portraits of the maverick band of scientists and engineers who made the Skunk Works so renowned. Filled with telling personal anecdotes and high adventure, with narratives from the CIA and from Air Force pilots who flew the many classified, risky missions, this book is a riveting portrait of the most spectacular aviation triumphs of the twentieth century.
Even before the first operational flight of the U-2 spy plane, aircraft designers began work on the type's replacement. The result was the SR-71. First deployed on March 9, 1968, this tri-sonic 'hotrod' flew its first operational sortie over North Vietnam just 12 days later. Thereafter, the SR-71 roamed freely, capturing photographic, radar and electronic intelligence. This book examines the impact this aircraft had, not only on North Vietnam but during the Cold War as a whole, gathering information about the Soviet nuclear submarine fleet based in Vladivostok as well as the port's defenses, monitoring the actions of North Korea and flying four 11-hour, non-stop sorties into the Persian Gulf during the Iran-Iraq War in the late 1980s.
No aircraft ever captured the curiosity & fascination of the public like the SR-71 Blackbird. Nicknamed "The Sled" by those few who flew it, the aircraft was shrouded in secrecy from its inception. Entering the U.S. Air Force inventory in 1966, the SR-71 was the fastest, highest flying jet aircraft in the world. Now for the first time, a Blackbird pilot shares his unique experience of what it was like to fly this legend of aviation history. Through the words & photographs of retired Major Brian Shul, we enter the world of the "Sled Driver." Major Shul gives us insight on all phases of flying, including the humbling experience of simulator training, the physiological stresses of wearing a space suit for long hours, & the intensity & magic of flying 80,000 feet above the Earth's surface at 2000 miles per hour. SLED DRIVER takes the reader through riveting accounts of the rigors of initial training, the gamut of emotions experienced while flying over hostile territory, & the sheer joy of displaying the jet at some of the world's largest airshows. Illustrated with rare photographs, seen here for the first time, SLED DRIVER captures the mystique & magnificence of this most unique of all aircraft.
Lockheed's SR-71 Blackbird is one of the most iconic and famous jets ever built. Assembled in secret at Lockheed's Skunkworks, the Blackbird's vital statistics remain phenomenal decades later. It holds the airspeed record for a manned jet aircraft, operated at an altitude other aircraft could barely touch and was a marvel of technical engineering. Drawing on declassified material, leading SR-71 expert Paul Crickmore reveals the history of the most fascinating of aircraft, accompanied by a range of fantastic illustrations, photographs and facts about the world's most secret spy plane.
In 1986 Paul Crickmore's first groundbreaking book about the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird was published. At that time, the Cold War was at its height and the SR-71 was an integral element in securing crucial intelligence from all parts of the globe. The highly sensitive nature of its missions couldn't be compromised, and it wasn't until the end of the Cold War that the operational exploits of this incredible aeronautical masterpiece could be openly written about. As time passed has more and more information has come to light, with a vast number of official documents declassified and key military figures able to talk openly about the Blackbird programme. Paul Crickmore has used these updated facts to revise his previous history of one of the world's most iconic aircraft of all time, creating what will surely be considered the definitive, timeless volume about the SR-71 Blackbird.
The Illustrated History of America's Legendary Mach 3 Spy Plane
Author: James C. Goodall
Publisher: Schiffer Military History
The legendary SR-71 Blackbird spy plane was, and still is, the world's only operational Mach 3 aircraft, and was designed, built, and tested by Lockheed's famed "Skunk Works." This new book covers all fifty Blackbirds built, from the first flight in 1962, to the last in 1999. As a replacement for the venerable U-2 spyplane, Lockheed went from contract signing to first flight in only thirty-two months starting in April 1958--from the beginning of design studies to the signing of a contract from the CIA to build the initial batch of A-12s in February 1960, to first flight in 1962. From the A-1 design through the completion of the very first Radar Cross Section models of the A-12, to the testing of every major system and subsystem, this book describes and illustrates the SR-71 as never before, using images from a variety of sources, as well as the author's own superb, new photography.
The Official Pilot's Handbook Declassified and Expanded with Commentary
Author: Richard H. Graham
Publisher: Voyageur Press
This is the reprinted facsimile edition of the manual issued to crew members of the US Air Force's sleek SR-71, now available with photos and annotations by former Blackbird pilot Richard Graham. The Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird was a long-range, Mach 3 reconnaissance aircraft developed by Lockheed's top-secret Skunk Works. One of the first aircraft designed to have a low radar signature, the SR-71 could map 100,000 square miles from an altitude of 80,000 feet. Operational from 1964 to 1998, it is still the fastest jet-powered aircraft - a Blackbird once completed a Los Angeles-to-Washington, D.C. flight in 64 minutes. Naturally, reigning in all that technology and performance required some know-how on the parts of the pilots and ground crews. This massive volume, the SR-71 Flight Manual, is a facsimile reprint of the official flight manual issued to SR-71 crew members augmented with anecdotes and and descriptions of flight procedures from former SR-71 pilot Col. Richard Graham (Ret.). Divided into seven sections, the book covers in minute detail everything from the SR-71 trainer to normal and emergency operation procedures, navigation and sensor equipment, operating limitations, flight characteristics of the Blackbird, and all-weather operation. Now the official SR-71 flight manual is not only declassified, it's (at least partially) demystified as well!
75 Years of Lockheed Martin's Advanced Development Programs
Author: Steve Pace
Publisher: Zenith Press
The stories behind more than 50 secret projects undertaken by the famed Lockheed Martin Skunk Works on behalf of the US Armed Forces, DARPA, and the CIA - all illustrated with official Skunk Works photography and commissioned artworks. Hatched in June 1943 after a special request of the US Army Air Forces to develop a turbojet-powered fighter to counter growing German threats, Lockheed Martin's Skunk Works has gone on to develop remarkable aeronautical and space technologies, including stealth. Some have made it into production, while others never quite made it off drafting boards and computer screens, but proved fascinating nonetheless. This generously illustrated history tackles Skunk Works programs ranging from jet fighters and jet engines to missiles and rockets, helicopters, research aircraft, airships, unmanned aerial vehicles and recon drones, and even the seagoing stealth ship Sea Shadow - more than 50 in all. Author Steve Pace examines the historical context which led government organizations to approach the Skunk Works, as well as the technologies and projects developed there (often on a handshake and unburdened by bureaucracies), and the anecdotes and legends associated with each program. Pace includes official Skunk Works photography of the projects taken both at its headquarters and at test facilities such as Area 51. In addition, commissioned color artworks help further illustrate many of these projects featured herein. In addition to profiling legendary aircraft like the F-80, F-94, F-104, U-2, SR-71, F-117, and F-35, Pace takes on more obscure projects from the past as well as those still to come, such as the hypersonic SR-72 and High Speed Strike Weapon, and even offers a peak into what the future might hold with the proposed TR-X.
The child of an alcoholic father and an eccentric artist mother discusses her family's nomadic upbringing, during which she and her siblings fended for themselves while their parents outmaneuvered bill collectors and the authorities.
The Illustrated Guide to Manned Reconnaissance and Surveillance Aircraft from World War I to Today
Author: Norman Polmar,John Bessette
Publisher: Voyageur Press
A comprehensive history with descriptions of the world's most significant aircraft employed as "eyes in the sky." For as long as there has been sustained heavier-than-air human flight, airplanes have been used to gather information about our adversaries. Less than a decade after the Wright Brothers flew at Kitty Hawk, Italian pilots were keeping tabs on Turkish foes in Libya. Today, aircraft with specialized designs and sensory equipment still cruise the skies, spying out secrets in the never-ending quest for an upper hand. Spyplanes tackles the sprawling legacy of manned aerial reconnaissance, from hot air balloons to cloth-and-wood biplanes puttering over the Western Front, and on through every major world conflict, culminating with spyplanes cruising at supersonic speeds 85,000 feet above the Earth's surface. Authors Norman Polmar and John Bessette offer a concise yet comprehensive overview history of aerial recon, exploring considerations such as spyplanes in military doctrine, events like the Cuban Missile Crisis and the downing of Francis Gary Powers' U-2, the 1992 Open Skies Treaty, and the USAF's Big Safari program. Polmar and Bessette, along with a roster of respected aviation journalists, also profile 70 renowned fixed-wing spyplanes from World I right up to the still-conceptual hypersonic SR-72. The authors examine the design, development, and service history of each aircraft, and offer images and specification boxes that detail vital stats for each. Included are purpose-built spyplanes, as well as legendary fighters and bombers that have been retrofitted for the purpose. In addition, the authors feature preliminary chapters discussing the history of aerial surveillance and a host of sidebars that explore considerations such as spyplanes in military doctrine, events like the Cuban missile crisis and the downing of Francis Gary Powers' U-2, the 1992 Open Skies Treaty, and the USAF's current Big Safari program. From prop-driven to jet-powered aircraft, this is the ultimate history and reference to those "eyes in the skies" that have added mind-bending technologies, not to mention an element of intrigue, to military aviation for more than a century.
During the early years of the Cold War, the most effective way to gather strategic intelligence about the Soviet Union and its allies was manned overflight. Lockheed's U-2 was spectacularly successful in this role, however, much to the concern of US President Eisenhower, its shape meant that it could be tracked on Russian radars. Given the highly sensitive nature of such flights, the President insisted that every effort should be made to reduce to zero the U-2's radar cross section (RCS), thereby making the aircraft invisible. When this was proven to be impossible, the stage was set for a U-2 replacement. Following a competition between Lockheed and Convair, the former was declared the winner and the result was the A-12. Designed to incorporate 'stealth' features before the term was even coined, the A-12 has to date proven to be the fastest, highest flying jet aircraft ever built. This book will also cover a two-seat variation of the design built as an advanced interceptor ? the YF-12.
Soviet And Russian Unrealised Aircraft Projects 1925-2010
Author: Yefim Gordon,Sergey Komissarov
Publisher: Ian Allen Pub
This book surveys all the Soviet/Russian aircraft that either remained “paper projects” (the work progressed no further than the design documents or even merely a design proposal) or were abandoned at the prototype construction stage. Over many years, the authors have unearthed a mass of unpublished material on these aircraft projects including the Isayev/Shevchenko bi-monoplane fighters with retractable lower wings developed in the 1930s, early Soviet jet fighter projects of the Second World War period, and the twin-boom fighters and attack aircraft developed by Semyon M. Alekseyev in the late 1940s. Wherever possible, images of the aircraft are shown, including pictures of models, and line and cutaway drawings from the project documents, giving the readers the maximum available information on Soviet aircraft projects developed over a large time scale. The book is richly illustrated with numerous photos, drawings, and diagrams, as well as color side views of the unbuilt aircraft, which will be of interest not only to the numerous Soviet/Russian aviation enthusiasts but also to scale modelers.
Predators is a riveting introduction to the murky world of Predator and Reaper drones, the CIA's and U.S. military's most effective and controversial killing tools. Brian Glyn Williams combines policy analysis with the human drama of the spies, terrorists, insurgents, and innocent tribal peoples who have been killed in the covert operation-the CIA's largest assassination campaign since the Vietnam War era-being waged in Pakistan's tribal regions via remote control aircraft known as drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles. Having traveled extensively in the Pashtun tribal areas while working for the U.S. military and the CIA, Williams explores in detail of the new technology of airborne assassinations. From miniature Scorpion missiles designed to kill terrorists while avoiding civilian "collateral damage" to prathrais, the cigarette lighter-size homing beacons spies plant on their unsuspecting targets to direct drone missiles to them, the author describes the drone arsenal in full. Evaluating the ethics of targeted killings and drone technology, Williams covers more than a hundred drone strikes, analyzing the number of slain civilians versus the number of terrorists killed to address the claims of antidrone activists. In examining the future of drone warfare, he reveals that the U.S. military is already building more unmanned than manned aerial vehicles. Predators helps us weigh the pros and cons of the drone program so that we can decide whether it is a vital strategic asset, a "frenemy," or a little of both.