091 – Flying the SR-71 Blackbird

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In this episode we discuss the world’s fastest and highest flying jet-powered aircraft ever built, the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird. Our guest is Col. (Ret) Richard Graham, a former SR-71 pilot. Our conversation is loosely based on his book Flying the SR-71, and we discuss the challenge of flying the SR-71. As a consequence of its unique capabilities and its engine and inlet design, the aircraft posed a number of very specific challenges on the pilot.

31 Responses to 091 – Flying the SR-71 Blackbird

  1. Jochen says:

    Hallo Markus, wieder mal ein sehr schönes Interview. Danke dafür und natürlich auch für die vielen Vorläufer.
    Ein Hinweis, der SR71 Engine Sketch 1 Link ist leider stillgelegt. Schöne Grüsse von der Alp, Jochen

  2. MaNo says:

    Danke :)

    Den Link lösch ich gleich raus!


  3. Matthias says:

    Danke für diese sehr gute Folge!
    Im FF entsprechend verlinkt.

  4. MaNo says:

    super, danke!

  5. Rick Pontefract says:

    Thank you for an other excellent podcast. I really enjoyed this one – it was fascinating.

  6. MaNo says:

    glad you liked it :-)

  7. Joseph says:

    I’m not the type of person on the edge of his seat during action movies, but after hearing about unstarts I would love to see a video of one if someone can get their hands on one. Great episode.

  8. MaNo says:

    please post it if you find one :-)


  9. David Stevenson says:

    Hi Markus, another GREAT show, thank you very much.


  10. Boyd Adamson says:

    Another terrific episode, but every time I come to the site I’m reminded of how much I’m missing out on by not keep up with my German studies :)

  11. MaNo says:

    Thanks David!

  12. MaNo says:

    See, your teacher was right when he said that one day you’ll regret not studying more :-)


  13. Liam says:

    Another great episode … I always though too (probably from some Discovery Channel misinformation) that the SR-71 leaked fuel like a sieve until it got up to operating temperature :-)

  14. MaNo says:

    It does leak fuel as you say, but it’s not so much that this is the reason to refuel directly after take-off. I think that was Rich’s point.


  15. Chris says:

    What an interview. Fascinating. the book ‘Skunk Works’ is very interesting on the SR71 too.

  16. mgb says:

    Aviation, tech with an enthusiastic and experienced speaker – one of the best podcasts. If you want more detail on the equally heroic task of building the plane see Ben Rich’s “Skunk Works”

  17. MaNo says:

    yes, a really good book!


  18. Scott Williams says:

    here’s a good story reflecting the high rate of aircraft losses. “”

  19. MaNo says:


  20. marytee says:

    Thank you for interviewing Col. Richard Graham who cleared up the myth of the refueling after take-off. I had always thought it was due to leaky tanks. I had a chance to watch on radar, an SR-71 descend into controlled airspace. It took half the US state of Michigan (lower peninsula) to make its descending turn. That’s how thin the air was at 60K feet. Very cool aircraft!

  21. Martin says:

    Such an incredible aircraft. Thanks so much for this great podcast that dug into the details.

  22. Bryan says:

    This episode is by far in the top 3. Keep them coming! Don’t forget about U2!!

  23. MaNo says:

    The U-2 guy already agreed. So it will be coming :-)


  24. Pingback: omega tau » 109 – Flying the U-2 Dragon Lady

  25. Pingback: Flying the U-2 | omega tau podcast

  26. Pingback: Flying The SR-71 Blackbird: “In this episode we discuss the world’s fastest and highest flying jet-powered aircraft ever built, the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird. Our guest is Col. (Ret) Richard Graham, a former SR-71 pilot.” | On Reddit

  27. Yurgon says:

    Wow, what an impressive podcast. I just learned more about the Blackbird than I’d ever known.

    That reminds me of the story of a Blackbird that actually flew /slowly/: :)

    Hmm, I think I’ll progress to the issue on Jet engines you mentioned and see if I’ll learn as much, though the U-2 issue and quite a few others sound interesting as well. :)

    Weiter so!

  28. MaNo says:

    Viel Spass beim Hören :-)


  29. MaNo says:

    Just read your linked story. Impressive!!

  30. stefan says:

    Super Show, klasse gemacht!
    Zeitweise war es echt schwer, dem Geschehen zu folgen, weil Richard Graham da extrem ins Detail gegangen ist, ein paar Mal bin ich da gedanklich ausgestiegen, weils einfach zu viel war..
    Super Fragen, super Überblick, super anspruchsvoll, super Moderation

  31. MaNo says:

    Danke, super Feedback :-)

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