Step Inside the SR-71 Blackbird’s Cockpit With a Veteran Pilot

Nov 24, 2017

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

The SR-71 Blackbird is an icon of the Cold War. The supersonic spyplane was seen as an aircraft that the Soviets couldn’t match — a symbol of American prowess.

It’s also an AvGeek’s dream — the SR-71 has a huge amount of extra equipment that isn’t found on a normal passenger jet. The plane, first introduced into service in 1966, would fly at 80,000 feet and supersonic speeds to avoid detection by the enemy.

The Warzone unearthed some old videos of veteran Blackbird pilot Richard Graham giving an in-depth tour of the spy plane’s dual cockpits. Filmed by by aviation videographer Erik Johnston, Graham goes into extensive detail about the hundreds of controls, dials, gauges, switches and screens that he had access to as the pilot.

About 14 minutes into the video, Graham shifts back to where the surveillance equipment is located, which is actually a completely separate area from the forward cockpit. Interestingly enough, the two cockpits weren’t connected, so Graham and his navigator had to receive physicals before every flight to ensure they had a clean bill of health — if one of them had problems, neither would have full control of the aircraft.

Graham goes into even more detail about the massive J-58 engines built by Pratt & Whitney:

And if you really want to go deep, the pilot gives an hour-long interview reciting the aircraft’s history and some of his experiences at the helm of the legendary aircraft.

H/T: The Warzone

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,650

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
  • Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.