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

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants in the first three months of card membership.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 50,000 Bonus Miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
  • Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

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.