The Hull Truth - Boating and Fishing Forum

Go Back   The Hull Truth - Boating and Fishing Forum > BOATING FORUMS > Dockside Chat
Search

Notices

Random Quote: Will work for fuel.
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 05-03-2013, 09:42 AM
  #1    
Senior MemberCaptains Club Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Wisconsin And FL Keys
Posts: 5,728
Default SR-71 fly-by below minimum speed (story)

Years ago my family got some advance notice that an SR-71 would be taking off from Milwaukee airport, needless to say a very, vary rare occurrence. We staked out a prime spot off the approch end of the runway. They did a fly over, my kids were really young than and still remember this to this day. What an amazing aircraft. My buddy sent me this story.

(Safety tip: Cross-check is important!)

Brian Shul, Retired SR-71 Pilot:

As a former SR-71 pilot, and a professional keynote speaker, the question I'm most often asked is "How fast would that SR-71 fly?" I can be assured of hearing that question several times at any event I attend. It's an interesting question, given the aircraft's proclivity for speed, but there really isn't one number to give, as the jet would always give you a little more speed if you wanted it to. It was common to see 35 miles a minute. Because we flew a programmed Mach number on most missions, and never wanted to harm the plane in any way, we never let it run out to any limits of temperature or speed. Thus, each SR-71 pilot had his own individual “high” speed that he saw at some point on some mission. I saw mine over Libya when Khadafy fired two missiles my way, and max power was in order. Let’s just say that the plane truly loved speed and effortlessly took us to Mach numbers we hadn’t previously seen.


So it was with great surprise, when at the end of one of my presentations, someone asked, “what was the slowest you ever flew the Blackbird?” This was a first. After giving it some thought, I was reminded of a story that I had never shared before, and relayed the following.
I was flying the SR-71 out of RAF Mildenhall, England, with my back-seater, Walt Watson; we were returning from a mission over Europe and the Iron Curtain when we received a radio transmission from home base. As we scooted across Denmark in three minutes, we learned that a small RAF base in the English countryside had requested an SR-71 fly-past. The air cadet commander there was a former Blackbird pilot, and thought it would be a motivating moment for the young lads to see the mighty SR-71 perform a low approach. No problem, we were happy to do it. After a quick aerial refueling over the North Sea, we proceeded to find the small airfield.


Walter had a myriad of sophisticated navigation equipment in the back seat, and began to vector me toward the field. Descending to subsonic speeds, we found ourselves over a densely wooded area in a slight haze. Like most former WWII British airfields, the one we were looking for had a small tower and little surrounding infrastructure. Walter told me we were close and that I should be able to see the field, but I saw nothing.


Nothing but trees as far as I could see in the haze. We got a little lower, and I pulled the throttles back from 325 knots we were at. With the gear up, anything under 275 was just uncomfortable. Walt said we were practically over the field—yet; there was nothing in my windscreen. I banked the jet and started a gentle circling maneuver in hopes of picking up anything that looked like a field. Meanwhile, below, the cadet commander had taken the cadets up on the catwalk of the tower in order to get a prime view of the fly-past. It was a quiet, still day with no wind and partial gray overcast.


Walter continued to give me indications that the field should be below us but in the overcast and haze, I couldn't see it. The longer we continued to peer out the window and circle, the slower we got. With our power back, the awaiting cadets heard nothing. I must have had good instructors in my flying career, as something told me I better cross-check the gauges. As I noticed the airspeed indicator slide below 160 knots, my heart stopped and my adrenalin-filled left hand pushed two throttles full forward. At this point we weren't really flying, but were falling in a slight bank. Just at the moment that both afterburners lit with a thunderous roar of flame (and what a joyous feeling that was) the aircraft fell into full view of the shocked observers on the tower. Shattering the still quiet of that morning, they now had 107 feet of fire-breathing titanium in their face as the plane leveled and accelerated, in full burner, on the tower side of the infield, closer than expected, maintaining what could only be described as some sort of ultimate knife-edge pass.
Quickly reaching the field boundary, we proceeded back to Mildenhall without incident. We didn't say a word for those next 14 minutes.
After landing, our commander greeted us, and we were both certain he was reaching for our wings. Instead, he heartily shook our hands and said the commander had told him it was the greatest SR-71 fly-past he had ever seen, especially how we had surprised them with such a precise maneuver that could only be described as breathtaking. He said that some of the cadet’s hats were blown off and the sight of the plan form of the plane in full afterburner dropping right in front of them was unbelievable. Walt and I both understood the concept of “breathtaking” very well that morning, and sheepishly replied that they were just excited to see our low approach.
As we retired to the equipment room to change from space suits to flight suits, we just sat there-we hadn't spoken a word since “the pass.” Finally, Walter looked at me and said, “One hundred fifty-six knots.
What did you see?” Trying to find my voice, I stammered, “One hundred fifty-two.” We sat in silence for a moment. Then Walt said, “Don’t ever do that to me again!” And I never did.


A year later, Walter and I were having lunch in the Mildenhall Officer’s club, and overheard an officer talking to some cadets about an SR-71 fly-past that he had seen one day. Of course, by now the story included kids falling off the tower and screaming as the heat of the jet singed their eyebrows. Noticing our HABU patches, as we stood there with lunch trays in our hands, he asked us to verify to the cadets that such a thing had occurred. Walt just shook his head and said, “It was probably just a routine low approach; they're pretty impressive in that plane.” Impressive indeed.


Little did I realize after relaying this experience to my audience that day that it would become one of the most popular and most requested stories. It’s ironic that people are interested in how slow the world’s fastest jet can fly. Regardless of your speed, however, it’s always a good idea to keep that cross-check up…and keep your Mach up, too.
mikeloew is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-03-2013, 09:57 AM
  #2    
Admirals Club
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: New Hampshire
Posts: 3,918
Default

Great story.
Qb1rdman is offline   Reply With Quote
 
Old 05-03-2013, 10:02 AM
  #3    
Admirals Club
THT sponsor
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Annapolis, MD
Posts: 15,441
Default

Must have been a sight to see!
__________________
yachtjim is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-03-2013, 10:05 AM
  #4    
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: WI
Posts: 331
Default

Great story. We had a Blackbird come in for emergency repairs when I was in the Air Force. And yes, EVERYONE wanted to know the top speed of that bird. At that time, the Air Force published Mach x.xx plus (don't ask me what the speed was cause I can't remember). And the ONLY reason that speed was known was because it was clocked in an open trial.
toby10 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-03-2013, 10:17 AM
  #5    
Senior MemberCaptains Club Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: St. Augustine, Fl
Posts: 17,491
Default

Truly brave men with bigger balls than mine....My hat is off to anyone that can do that for a living...
__________________
Since 1988. Proudly serving my community and state.



Everything happens for a reason. Sometimes that reason is because you're stupid and you make bad decisions.
Cracker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-03-2013, 10:30 AM
  #6    
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 624
Default

When I was a kid my dad took me to an air show where we got a great, close up demonstration from a marine Harrier VSTOL. Hovering, going backwards, sideways, then pivoting and slowly hovering away and then taking off. They told us to hold our ears... NO WAY was I holding my ears.. it was awesome.
bottom knocker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-03-2013, 10:51 AM
  #7    
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 882
Default

I moved from engineering cars to engineering military jet engines at Pratt Whitney. PW opened a campus in the late 50's in West Palm Beach in the middle of nowhere so they could test without prying eyes and noise complaints. The J-58 engines, like everything else on the platform, tested technology and material limits. This picture is one of them on the test stand - the big difference now is that current engines do not glow red like this. It was explained to me that the material properties go to hell when they get hot, but still does have some strength.
Attached Images
 
louiefl is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-03-2013, 10:58 AM
  #8    
Senior MemberCaptains Club Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Wisconsin And FL Keys
Posts: 5,728
Default

It was explained to me years ago that the Blackbird should not be left sitting on the ramp for very long with fuel in the wings. It would leak out and leave a outline on the ramp. It would only become fuel tight at speed, as the aircraft expanded so much. What an engineering feat that was in those days.
mikeloew is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-03-2013, 11:20 AM
  #9    
Admirals Club
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: New Hampshire
Posts: 3,918
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by bottom knocker View Post
When I was a kid my dad took me to an air show where we got a great, close up demonstration from a marine Harrier VSTOL. Hovering, going backwards, sideways, then pivoting and slowly hovering away and then taking off. They told us to hold our ears... NO WAY was I holding my ears.. it was awesome.
can you hear me now?
Qb1rdman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-03-2013, 11:41 AM
  #10    
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: West of my Right mind...
Posts: 4,242
Default

The SR-71 had two of these puppies....
General comments on sr-71 propulsion system • the sr-71 was the finest air breathing jet aircraft ever developed, built, and flown. Designed to fly at mach 3.2, wind tunnel tested to mach 3.5, and flew missions at mach 3.3+, at altitudes of 86,000+ feet. • the p&w j-58 (jt11d-20) was the finest air breathing jet engine ever developed, built, and flown. It had the power of the Queen Mary; started life with 30,000 pounds of thrust, and ended with 34,000#. • the “propulsion system” consisted of the air inlet and air flow control system, the j-58 engine, and the exhaust nozzle assembly (part of the airframe). • at mach 3.2, 54% of the thrust was provided by the inlet (differential pressure between external and internal surfaces of the inlet spike), 17% by the engine, and 29% by the ejector. Engine acted as a gas generator. • engine operates from 4,000 rpm (idle) to 7,400 rpm (max).

http://www.enginehistory.org/Convent...ropulsion1.pdf
Uncas is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-03-2013, 06:11 PM
  #11    
Senior MemberCaptains Club Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Destin Fl USA
Posts: 883
Default

Saw one land and takeoff at Patrick AFB. Rumor control said he flamed out over Central America and glided to Patrick. When he took off it climbed like no other aircraft I have ever seen. Bad ass plane.
Ed
__________________
USCG Retired
100 Ton Master
28 Topaz
Edstillfishing is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-03-2013, 06:51 PM
  #12    
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 905
Default

I live a few miles from the P & W test stands and when they run the RL10's and the new engine for the F35 (I think that's what it is) it's pretty damn impressive. And some friends who retired from Pratt worked on the J58 so they're always telling me great stories about the Blackbird. But this story.....156 knots at more or less no altitude.......this is by far the BEST one I've heard! Talk about the classic situation of running out of airspeed, altitude and ideas all at the same time, this pretty much covers it.
Fiberglass1 Inc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-03-2013, 07:05 PM
  #13    
Admirals Club
 
atcfris's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 9,440
Default

Awesome story!!!!
__________________
atcfris is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-03-2013, 07:16 PM
  #14    
Admirals Club
THT sponsor
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Annapolis, MD
Posts: 15,441
Default

If we are reading about this stuff now, imagine the "black" projects that they are doing right now that we'll be reading about in 40 years. Must be some crazy stuff out there.
__________________
yachtjim is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-03-2013, 09:48 PM
  #15    
Senior MemberCaptains Club Member
PLEDGER
 
Bruce W's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: VA
Posts: 13,821
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by toby10 View Post
Great story. We had a Blackbird come in for emergency repairs when I was in the Air Force. And yes, EVERYONE wanted to know the top speed of that bird. At that time, the Air Force published Mach x.xx plus (don't ask me what the speed was cause I can't remember). And the ONLY reason that speed was known was because it was clocked in an open trial.
I use to hear educated guesses of around 2,500mph?

I just posted some pics in a related thread ... http://www.thehulltruth.com/dockside...area-51-a.html

Regards,
__________________
Bruce
Boatless as of 5/14/10
Bruce W is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-04-2013, 04:08 AM
  #16    
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 382
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Edstillfishing View Post
Saw one land and takeoff at Patrick AFB. Rumor control said he flamed out over Central America and glided to Patrick. When he took off it climbed like no other aircraft I have ever seen. Bad ass plane.
Ed

You can make a dead stick landing on one?
mitchk is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 05-04-2013, 04:30 AM
  #17    
Admirals Club
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: New Bern, NC
Posts: 572
Default

[QUOTE=Bruce W;5612757]I use to hear educated guesses of around 2,500mph?

I just posted some pics in a related thread ... http://www.thehulltruth.com/dockside...area-51-a.html

Regards,[/quote]

The one the Smithsonian has on display at the Udvar-Hazy center at Dulles set four records getting there from CA. LA to DC in 1:04:19.89, averaging 2144.83 mph.

http://www.wvi.com/~sr71webmaster/972record1.htm
STIPulation is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-04-2013, 06:12 AM
  #18    
Senior MemberCaptains Club Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Newport, RI & Key West, FL
Posts: 2,903
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by yachtjim View Post
If we are reading about this stuff now, imagine the "black" projects that they are doing right now that we'll be reading about in 40 years. Must be some crazy stuff out there.

Not quite as impressive as the SR-71

Funding is a bit different now than it was then.
__________________
Conch 27 with Twin Yamaha F300's
Lake and Bay Boca Grande Yamaha F250 SHO
Trayder is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-04-2013, 06:14 AM
  #19    
Senior MemberCaptains Club Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Norfolk, Va
Posts: 9,072
Default

All these words and no pictures??





__________________
"Your freedom to be you includes my freedom to be free from you." - Andrew Wilkow
CaptKennyW is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-04-2013, 07:15 AM
  #20    
Admirals Club
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Greenville/MHC, NC
Posts: 1,854
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by mitchk View Post
You can make a dead stick landing on one?
You can dead stick land any fixed wing aircraft, if you have enough altitude.

They dead stick the space suttle from over the Pacific all the way to FL.
__________________

1991 228 Grady White
aFORDable is offline   Reply With Quote
 
 
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

 



©2009 TheHullTruth.com

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.7.6
Copyright ©2000 - 2015, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Search Engine Friendly URLs by vBSEO 3.2.0