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Shootist Jeff

Sled Driver - Blackbird Stories

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This is a really cool video. Well worth listening to all the way through. The story at the very end will sound familiar to many here at GA.

 

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Thanks Jeff.... I need to get this guy for my mid year sales meeting...

 

He's pretty fucking cool as a speaker, eh?

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Most pilots have heard that "ground speed check" story somewhere.

Good to hear it from the source! Great video, thanks!

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Excellent video thanks. I live near the base in California and wish I had seen one take off. Was using Google Earth one day and was looking at the base, next day on my chat software, McCellan came on. I would guess they know somehow.

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Thanks Jeff.... I need to get this guy for my mid year sales meeting...

 

He's pretty fucking cool as a speaker, eh?

 

 

He is awesome... has a good life lesson to tell.... That 50 minutes turned my Monday around...

 

I always say "if you have a passion for what you're doing, you never work a day in your life..." This is a prime example..

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Thanks Jeff.... I need to get this guy for my mid year sales meeting...

 

He's pretty fucking cool as a speaker, eh?

 

 

He is awesome... has a good life lesson to tell.... That 50 minutes turned my Monday around...

 

I always say "if you have a passion for what you're doing, you never work a day in your life..." This is a prime example..

 

 

Yep, I didn't think I'd sit through all 50 min but it was a compelling story. Well worth the time.

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Thanks Jeff.... I need to get this guy for my mid year sales meeting...

 

He's pretty fucking cool as a speaker, eh?

 

 

He is awesome... has a good life lesson to tell.... That 50 minutes turned my Monday around...

 

I always say "if you have a passion for what you're doing, you never work a day in your life..." This is a prime example..

 

 

Yep, I didn't think I'd sit through all 50 min but it was a compelling story. Well worth the time.

 

 

 

Multi-tasking!!!

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Thanks Jeff.... I need to get this guy for my mid year sales meeting...

 

He's pretty fucking cool as a speaker, eh?

 

 

He is awesome... has a good life lesson to tell.... That 50 minutes turned my Monday around...

 

I always say "if you have a passion for what you're doing, you never work a day in your life..." This is a prime example..

 

 

Yep, I didn't think I'd sit through all 50 min but it was a compelling story. Well worth the time.

 

 

 

Multi-tasking!!!

 

 

I started off doing that too and thought I'd just have the audio in the background. But then you really have to see the pics to get the full effect of the story.

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Two things that really hit me: eighteen months to flight from upgrade of the A-16 and the fact it leaked fuel in subsonic flight. With the sled and the Avrom Arrow they really knew how to make airplane back then.

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Those design and build timelines were a mixture of less advanced technology and much less in the way of systems integration combined with the brilliant way Kelly Johnson managed Skunkworks.

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I have seen it at the Smithsonian Udvar-Hazy Center by Dulles in DC.

 

Even sitting still it looks remarkable. You can tell there is no concession in the design for anything other than speed. If someone told me it was a UFO I would be inclined to believe them.

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If you want further clarifiation of the Skunk Works and it's Projects, this is a great read.

 

'Skunk Works' A Personal Memoir of My Years at Lockheed - Ben Rich and Leo Janos.

 

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/skunk-works-ben-r-rich/1112060960?ean=9781478934783&st=PLA&sid=BNB_DRS_Core+Shopping+Books_00000000&2sid=Google_&sourceId=PLGoP650&k_clickid=3x650#

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Rich also recounts Skunk Works' failures, including experiments with liquid hydrogen as a propellant and spy-drone flights over China's remote nuclear test facilities. He has much to say about the Defense Department bureaucracy and warns, ``Everyone in the defense industry knows that bureaucratic regulations, controls, and paperwork are at critical mass... and... in danger of destroying the entire system.'' This is a significant book for those interested in aerospace research and development. Photos. (Oct.)

 

And so we have the F-35.

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As a young Marine I saw one of these on the runway of Kadena AFB in 1969. WTF !! was all I could think.

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Two things that really hit me: eighteen months to flight from upgrade of the A-16 and the fact it leaked fuel in subsonic flight. With the sled and the Avrom Arrow they really knew how to make airplane back then.

The leaking fuel was happening on the ground before take off till the air fraim heated up in flight. Its a interesting solution to the thermal dynamics of this designs time.. To think it sealed up and opened and sealed every time they slowed down for fuel then hit crusing speed again is crazy enginering.. what did he say 4/5 tankers for a flight...

 

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I heard that the leaking fuel was because the fuel tanks were single skinned where one surface was the interior of the tank and the other was the exterior of the plane. Thus the expansion gaps in the planes exterior were holes in the fuel tanks until they heated and closed.

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Two things that really hit me: eighteen months to flight from upgrade of the A-16 and the fact it leaked fuel in subsonic flight. With the sled and the Avrom Arrow they really knew how to make airplane back then.

But instead of the full potential of the arrow being reached we got beaumark missiles. Fair trade.

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i've read the book - very interesting reading.

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I could spend a day listening to him speak. Nice link Nap. Thanks.

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Yep, I didn't think I'd sit through all 50 min but it was a compelling story. Well worth the time.

 

 

Me either. What a wonderful way to start my Saturday

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Two things that really hit me: eighteen months to flight from upgrade of the A-16 and the fact it leaked fuel in subsonic flight. With the sled and the Avrom Arrow they really knew how to make airplane back then.

The leaking fuel was happening on the ground before take off till the air fraim heated up in flight. Its a interesting solution to the thermal dynamics of this designs time.. To think it sealed up and opened and sealed every time they slowed down for fuel then hit crusing speed again is crazy enginering.. what did he say 4/5 tankers for a flight...

 

 

If you se one up close, the skin is ribbed. At sped and altitude, it smoothed right out

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Love the story at 17:45 of Reagan having them Sonic Booming the N. Koreans' party

 

Did the same thing in North Viet Nam.. flew thee of them in five minute intervals right over the Hanoi Hilton...

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One of those came to the Abbotsford airshow back in the 80's. I watched it do a low speed, low altitude flyover of the city and out over English Bay.

 

Christ it was loud! Had a sort of crackling, sizzling exhaust note, not the usual whine or roar of a jet.

 

I still find it amazing that it crossed anyones mind in the late 50's that something like that was even possible. Front line fighters were barely supersonic when they started on that thing.

 

The Skunk Works and Kelly Johnson were incredible.

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One of those came to the Abbotsford airshow back in the 80's. I watched it do a low speed, low altitude flyover of the city and out over English Bay.

 

Christ it was loud! Had a sort of crackling, sizzling exhaust note, not the usual whine or roar of a jet.

 

I still find it amazing that it crossed anyones mind in the late 50's that something like that was even possible. Front line fighters were barely supersonic when they started on that thing.

 

The Skunk Works and Kelly Johnson were incredible.

The SR-71 was impressive, but the Kelly Johnson's U-2 was even more impressive to me. They had that thing designed and tested in about a year, (probably in part to the CIA breathing down their necks) and now, 2017, the U-2 variants are still in service and flying, still useful, still more economical than many or other options. Sixty years old and still useful, that's an impressive design.

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From what I understand the U2 was largely based on the F104 with those giant glider wings added. True it was a remarkable aircraft but when they did the SR71 they didn't even know how to machine titanium and the fastest operational aircraft could barely break Mach 1 in a sprint.

 

AFAIK its performance has never been surpassed - at least not by anything (X15 etc.) that could take off on its own.

 

 

 

P.S. the DC3 is over 80 Y.O. and is still useful. ;)

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From what I understand the U2 was largely based on the F104 with those giant glider wings added. True it was a remarkable aircraft but when they did the SR71 they didn't even know how to machine titanium and the fastest operational aircraft could barely break Mach 1 in a sprint.

 

AFAIK its performance has never been surpassed - at least not by anything (X15 etc.) that could take off on its own.

 

 

 

P.S. the DC3 is over 80 Y.O. and is still useful. ;)

X15 is more of a rocket, but it did achieve higher speeds. Sr71 is the fastest manned operational jet.

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One of those came to the Abbotsford airshow back in the 80's. I watched it do a low speed, low altitude flyover of the city and out over English Bay.

 

Christ it was loud! Had a sort of crackling, sizzling exhaust note, not the usual whine or roar of a jet.

 

I still find it amazing that it crossed anyones mind in the late 50's that something like that was even possible. Front line fighters were barely supersonic when they started on that thing.

 

The Skunk Works and Kelly Johnson were incredible.

 

There is not an airplane I want to see fly more than the sr71... The f14 takes a close second.

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I saw the F-14 several times at the Chicago Air and Water Show.

Loudest plane I've ever witnessed.

louder than a B1B? that fucker scared the shit out of me at my first airshow (that i remember) and i;ve never forgiven it... but i've seen it fly several times since. Been a few years now, though. Gotta get to oshkosh...

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They have had the B1 but I don't think it shoved it's ass in my face like the F-14 pilots did.

Those things made it feel like like they were trying to rip the time/space continuum.

 

Yes, go to the Fly-In. I used to sell folding bikes there when I was in college at Ripon (not far from Oshkosh).

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There is not an airplane I want to see fly more than the sr71... The f14 takes a close second.

 

 

I've seen F-14s in my gun pipper a bunch of times. ;)

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Grew up around a B-1B base. Remember the protests when they came to town, IIRC it was a fighter base before that. A lot of people didn't want the nukes. NIMBY stuff. Very cool airplane and they did a lot of random flyovers for local events and the CO and other officers gave talks as well. That base has tankers now, a very important mission, but no where near as sexy. No protests for that change.

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The F-14 I saw doing tricks at a show was downright quiet compared to a B-1B overhead on a routine climb out from Boeing field.

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There is not an airplane I want to see fly more than the sr71... The f14 takes a close second.

 

I've seen F-14s in my gun pipper a bunch of times. ;)

In the real world, you would not have made it to the merge.

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Wait wait. I just need to settle into my comfy armchair.

 

Does this fight come in 3D?

 

Ok. Go......

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There is not an airplane I want to see fly more than the sr71... The f14 takes a close second.

I've seen F-14s in my gun pipper a bunch of times. ;)

In the real world, you would not have made it to the merge.

 

 

Yeah, yeah.... Phoenix, schmenix. Great against a non-maneuvering Backfire or Badger, maybe. An aware fighter - not so much. The Tomkittys were 0 kills out of several shots using the Phoenix missile, IIRC.

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There is not an airplane I want to see fly more than the sr71... The f14 takes a close second.

I've seen F-14s in my gun pipper a bunch of times. ;)

In the real world, you would not have made it to the merge.

 

 

Yeah, yeah.... Phoenix, schmenix. Great against a non-maneuvering Backfire or Badger, maybe. An aware fighter - not so much. The Tomkittys were 0 kills out of several shots using the Phoenix missile, IIRC.

 

 

Well given the JFACC (USAF run) refused to authorize BVR shots for the Tomcat, it's not surprising that the 2 (total) ACM shots were misses. I guarantee you if you have a 1,000# missile locked on, you will be honoring the shot and not paying attention to getting to the merge.

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Theoretically, according to the Boyd criteria, the F-14 would be at a distinct disadvantage.

 

True for the F-14A in a classic 1V1 engagement. With today's sensors and weapons, getting into a knife fight engagement is suicide for both unless they are the only 2 aircraft in the sky.

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I have a friend who is a professional photographer that was shooting a newly built house here in Anacortes. The neighbor came out to see what he was doing, and my friend said that he probably had the best job in America, usually doing photo shoots for travel magazines. The neighbor said that he actually had the best job in America, and that he was a retired SR-71 pilot. They went to his study and he showed photos and told stories. Leaking fuel tanks, etc. He said that he would take off from Edwards AFB, and fly over the East coast before his refueling plane had landed back at Edwards.

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I read a book about those planes years ago. Had some interesting tidbits in it. The start carts were originally NASCAR nailhead Buicks, later changed to Chevy big blocks - hot rod engines for the start carts. :D

 

That fuel they leaked cost more than expensive Scotch and had a flash point over 1000 degrees.

 

When they first flew it to Farnborough they set the Transatlantic record (which probably still stands) but they slightly mistimed the start of their slowdown - they were over Holland before they got turned around.

 

When they were at cruising altitude and had to descend to refuel they had to drop 50,000 feet. Think about that - they had to lose more altitude than most people have ever been, just to get down to the altitude airliners fly at.

 

Well over 1/2 century after they first flew the performance and all the other info about them is still mind boggling.

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There is not an airplane I want to see fly more than the sr71... The f14 takes a close second.

I've seen F-14s in my gun pipper a bunch of times. ;)

In the real world, you would not have made it to the merge.

Yeah, yeah.... Phoenix, schmenix. Great against a non-maneuvering Backfire or Badger, maybe. An aware fighter - not so much. The Tomkittys were 0 kills out of several shots using the Phoenix missile, IIRC.

Well given the JFACC (USAF run) refused to authorize BVR shots for the Tomcat, it's not surprising that the 2 (total) ACM shots were misses. I guarantee you if you have a 1,000# missile locked on, you will be honoring the shot and not paying attention to getting to the merge.

I understand the brits have some interesting photos of US carriers....

 

 

 

But as a consolation, not many eagle pilots have interesting photos of buccaneers or tornadoes....

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There is not an airplane I want to see fly more than the sr71... The f14 takes a close second.

 

I've seen F-14s in my gun pipper a bunch of times. ;)

'Bout as many times we had you in ours😉

 

'Course, we had already killed you with a Phoenix missile at range😎

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I guarantee you if you have a 1,000# missile locked on, you will be honoring the shot and not paying attention to getting to the merge.

 

 

Very true.

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There is not an airplane I want to see fly more than the sr71... The f14 takes a close second.

I've seen F-14s in my gun pipper a bunch of times. ;)

In the real world, you would not have made it to the merge.

Yeah, yeah.... Phoenix, schmenix. Great against a non-maneuvering Backfire or Badger, maybe. An aware fighter - not so much. The Tomkittys were 0 kills out of several shots using the Phoenix missile, IIRC.

Well given the JFACC (USAF run) refused to authorize BVR shots for the Tomcat, it's not surprising that the 2 (total) ACM shots were misses. I guarantee you if you have a 1,000# missile locked on, you will be honoring the shot and not paying attention to getting to the merge.

I understand the brits have some interesting photos of US carriers....

 

 

 

But as a consolation, not many eagle pilots have interesting photos of buccaneers or tornadoes....

That's generally because Eagles weren't typically assigned to provide CAP for the carriers. If they had, they'd have plenty of pics of Bucs and Tornados, just like us Tomcat guys did. Only advantage the Bucs and Tornados had was to get down low right on the water. But almost any good lookdown radar could detect them. We certainly could in the Tomcat, and I have no doubt the Eagle could too.

 

The reality was, if detected, they were dead guys. And with an E-2 looking down and a fighter with a lookdown, they were not hard to detect...

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There is not an airplane I want to see fly more than the sr71... The f14 takes a close second.

I've seen F-14s in my gun pipper a bunch of times. ;)

In the real world, you would not have made it to the merge.

Yeah, yeah.... Phoenix, schmenix. Great against a non-maneuvering Backfire or Badger, maybe. An aware fighter - not so much. The Tomkittys were 0 kills out of several shots using the Phoenix missile, IIRC.

Well given the JFACC (USAF run) refused to authorize BVR shots for the Tomcat, it's not surprising that the 2 (total) ACM shots were misses. I guarantee you if you have a 1,000# missile locked on, you will be honoring the shot and not paying attention to getting to the merge.

I understand the brits have some interesting photos of US carriers....

 

 

 

But as a consolation, not many eagle pilots have interesting photos of buccaneers or tornadoes....

That's generally because Eagles weren't typically assigned to provide CAP for the carriers. If they had, they'd have plenty of pics of Bucs and Tornados, just like us Tomcat guys did. Only advantage the Bucs and Tornados had was to get down low right on the water. But almost any good lookdown radar could detect them. We certainly could in the Tomcat, and I have no doubt the Eagle could too.

 

The reality was, if detected, they were dead guys. And with an E-2 looking down and a fighter with a lookdown, they were not hard to detect...

Eagles came up against the poms at red flag. Good times.....

 

 

I'm sure many bucs and tornadoes didn't get close enough. Just as I'm sure enough did....

 

Though by the early 80's that 'enough' would have dried up to none.

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Ease,

Especially in the time of the Bucs, your more than probably right! It only takes one to put the CV out of action for awhile...By the time of the Tomcat and Eagle, it got harder for them to get thru, but not impossible...fog of war and all that. Hence the "if detected" part...

 

But when you did detect them, it was fun to convert on them, run them down from dead astern...take form on them for a bit...(usually step up!) and then light the blowers and accelerate away from them... :rolleyes:

Crash

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Ease,

Especially in the time of the Bucs, your more than probably right! It only takes one to put the CV out of action for awhile...By the time of the Tomcat and Eagle, it got harder for them to get thru, but not impossible...fog of war and all that. Hence the "if detected" part...

 

But when you did detect them, it was fun to convert on them, run them down from dead astern...take form on them for a bit...(usually step up!) and then light the blowers and accelerate away from them... :rolleyes:

Crash

 

Fun? I'm sure it was! Throw in the room and board plus a little bit of cash, and a multi million dollar machine, what 25 year old wouldn't be happy?

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While I was on this site, I wanted to post this photo of me sitting in the drivers seat of an SR-71 Blackbird. 

This pic was taken by the museum director who kindly offered to let me get in the cockpit. I had to sit on my leg to get high enough to see over the dashboard. However, I noticed right after I left the museum that I was walking a good ten feet in the air.

And no, I will not say where this pic was taken.

QBF sitting in SR-71.jpg

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