Book Review and Giveaway: SR-71 Flight Manual and Official Declassified POH3:57 PM
Congratulations to Carl. C of Oregon, winner of this book. Stay tuned right here on Airplanista for more book reviews and giveaways!
By Dan Pimentel,
Airplanista Blog Editor
All of my recent book reviews and giveaways have been of interest to most of the people who read Airplanista, those fine #avgeeks who eat, sleep and breathe aviation. But for those few in this family of aviators who cannot get enough of the "inside baseball" data of military aircraft, wow have I got a book for you.
"As a physical environment, space begins at about 125 miles above the earth. As a physiological environment, it begins at abut 63,000 feet, where the atmospheric pressure becomes so low that bodily fluids begin to boil at a normal body temperature of 98.6°F. Nitrogen evolves in bodily fluids and begins to bubble out. A pressure suit was therefore necessary to sustain life at the extreme altitudes, temperatures and speeds the SR-71 flew."
Really, really fast. Graham writes:
"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."
The POH part of this book is filled to overflowing with the very kind of specific data that you'd find in the POH of your Cessna 172 if it was soaked in JP-7 and ignited:
"The maximum altitude limit is 85,000 feet, unless higher altitude is specifically authorized. Do not exceed 80,000 feet with an inlet in manual operation. Do not exceed 75,000 feet with either fuel derichment system inoperative."
Graham graciously provided Airplanista with this first-hand account of what a typical SR-71 mission was like:
"On one of our SR-71 missions flying out of the island of Okinawa, Japan, Don Emmons (my SR-71 RSO) and I were flying up to image the Soviet Union’s nuclear submarine pens at the southern end of the Kamchatka Peninsula, outside the city of Petropavlovsk (“Petro” for short). We refueled off the northeast coast of Japan and began our climb and acceleration. It was a perfect day with clear skies beneath and tremendous visibility. The mission was planned to image Petropavlovsk off the left side of the SR-71, then do and 90 degree turn to the right, followed immediately by a 270 degree turn to the left and image it again, off the right side on our way back to Okinawa. This was at Mach 3.0 and around 75,000 feet.