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Flying the SR-71 Blackbird: on a Secret Operational Mission: On a Secret Operational Mission Hardcover – Illustrated, 29 Aug 2008

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Zenith Press; 1 edition (29 Aug. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0760332398
  • ISBN-13: 978-0760332399
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 3.2 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 508,601 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

HAVE YOU EVER WANTED TO FLY AN SR-71? Well there are two things you need, one is this book, the other, well an operating aircraft. That I can't help you with, but I can suggest you should get this book! Rich Graham was an instructor pilot on the SR-71, and his infinite knowledge of operating the Blackbird is laid out in the step by step procedures of flying the aircraft. Each check list item is described and laid out to explain it in terms you can understand. This is Col Graham's third book, and 'Flying the Blackbird' like the others is a must for the Blackbird fan. This book is unique in that it tells you the complex cockpit procedures of this marvel of aviation. No other book or writer could give you the insight that Col. Rich Graham does. --John Freedman;This is a great book! It's exactly what the title says it is -- a pilot's inside the cockpit explanation of flying the SR-71, in expansive detail. The author is perfectly qualified for the task as a former SR-71 pilot, instructor pilot, chief stan/eval and commander of the 1st Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron. There are 80 pages of original SR-71 checklists, there are detailed cockpit pictures, and there is explanation of every switch you'd see in a complete mission. Make no mistake, this is not a pretty picture book, this is for true pilot nerds who want to do what is now impossible -- climb inside the Blackbird and take it flying at Mach 3.2 and FL 780. The foreword correctly states the book provides the missing link among the many Blackbird volumes that have been written over the past quarter century. While many nuts-and-bolts references have been written covering the aircraft's development, flight test, and operational history in minute detail, none, until now, have addressed the subject of flying the mission from the perspective of the pilot; It includes illuminating discussions about abnormal and emergency procedures, as well as some sidebars with tales of specific flights. It also includes a few pages of color pictures. The SR-71 was a stunning thrill-ride, and also a hughly complex techno-social system. Graham has written a quality tribute to the aeroplane and the thousands of people that made the system work. Buy the big picture books by Brian Shul for glossy photographs and fluid descriptions of the feel of flying the SR-71. Buy the various history books for the development story and technical details. But for the this-switch-does-that (and why) (and when) detail of actually flying faster than a bullet, you need to buy this book. --Dave English;If you are interested in knowing every minute detail about the SR-71 Blackbird, this is the book for you. I have seen the Blackbird up close, sat in the cockpit, and have spent many hours flying the SR-71 on Microsoft Flight Simulator (SR-71 sim available online). Now, with this book, I am learning all of the Blackbird's intimate secrets. The author l --John Freedman. This book is slightly different from the usual 'pilots stories' concerning the rise from student pilot to being fully operational. Although Colonel Graham served with distinction in Vietnam, it is only his involvment with this aircraft that is covered. But that is not the only diffrence, this book is a mixture of personal recollections and technical notes and this is what makes it interesting - you are flying this aeroplane. Afetr readinf it there will be little you do not know about flying the Blackbird. The description of the equipment starts with the basics, the pressure suit and just how a small problem with this can be fatal. --Pacific Flyer Magazine

A mixture of personnel recollections and technical notes ... after reading it there will be little you do not know about the Blackbird ... a remarkable book, and considering this was a secret aeroplane a few short years ago, there is more detail in it than those on many more mundane machines. This is definitely one for the aviation enthusiast who likes flying from his armchair. --Model Aircraft Monthly

For anyone who has ever wondered what it's like to fly the SR-71 on a secret Mach 3 reconnaissance mission, Flying the SR-71 Blackbird has the answer. Retired SR-71 pilot and squadron leader Graham takes readers along on an operational mission that only a few Air Force pilots have ever experienced...Graham offers a rare cockpit perspective on how regular Air Force pilots and navigators transformed themselves into SR-71 Blackbird cres, turning their unique avation talents to account in an unprecedented way. Arguably the world's 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...Flying the SR-71 Blackbird is the ultimate play-by-play journey into what is involved in an operational mission of one of aviation history's most prized, and top secret, aircraft -- --Pacific Flyer Magazine

About the Author

A veteran of fifteen years of assignments with the SR-71, Colonel Graham is uniquely qualified to tell the Blackbird's story. He was named Sr071 Squadron commander of the 1st Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron in January, 1981, and was instructor, pilot, and chief of the evaluation division. With more than 4, 600 hours flying time in the SR-71 as Command Pilot, he has a wealth of information to impart, and has been awarded the Legion of Merit.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Mr. P. J. R. LEWIS TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 31 July 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Ordering this book was not difficult because i was hoping the title would be true to its word and providing an insight into what flying at over 2200 mph felt like at over sixteen miles above the Earth's surface.

If you are expecting dozens of lovely interior and exterior shots of these magnificent planes then this book will not be for you but as soon as i started reading Robert Grahams magnificent account of life in the USAF and becoming chief test pilot and instructor of the SR 71 programme i was hooked.

He writes in a beautifully fluid style which makes an often difficult subject incredibly interesting.

As each chapter develops we are told what was involved in the training of this elite flying operation not totalling more than seventy pilots and how even after many months of flight simulator training totalling 12 separate missions each with more demanding cenarios to test a pilots ability and then finding out you didnot make the final selection.

Only the very best were chosen and a persons temprement was just as important as his ability as a pilot and strangely enough if you didnot have a MRS at home you wouldnot even get on the short list.

Unlike most other supersonic aircraft it required two pilots to fly the SR71 with each pilot having his own individual set of instruments and each pilot had to work in tandem with the other to ensure that the required instruments and switches were operated in set sequence.

Unusually a second pair of reserve pilots would check the aircraft before the main flight pilots would take control of the aircraft going through each check procedure to ensure a safe takeoff.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Peter Allison on 31 May 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you have read 'SR71 Blackbird Stories,Tales and Legends' and 'SR71 Revealed' also'.by Richard Graham don't buy this book. It's simply a rehash of the material in those books - large chunks of it verbatim copy! If you haven't then it's interesting, but I would still recommend the other two and miss this one.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Brian J. Funnell on 8 Oct. 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Stories regarding spyplanes are now able to be told as the hitherto secret missions are now off the confidential list.
This book details how the complicated SR71 should be flown and should only be read by those who are really interested in this fine aircraft. Very well written.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Lloydee on 5 Dec. 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have always been interested in military aviation and as a child of the 80s I had a poster of the SR-71 on my wall, so when I discovered this book I just had to buy it. As a commercial pilot, there are some similarities between what we do and what they had to do, ie checklists etc...but what really made this book interesting for me was the detail regarding the missions. Some of the book is too detailed, for instance how the navigation systems work etc...but there are some real gems in here regarding top secret missions including air-to-air refuelling etc...a great book!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By H. T. I. Anson on 7 Dec. 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great book, Rich Graham's books about the Blackbird provide a wonderful insight into not just what the aircraft was capable of, but also how the plane was flown, the logistics organised, the people, the politics.
Thoroughly recommendable. This book is more for the real aviation enthusiast or pilots who want an insight into the actual operation of this fabulous bird.
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