Lockheed SR71 Blackbird, 1964 onwards (all Marks), Owners’ Workshop Manual

B1752

the manual is an ideal vehicle to provide a detailed insight into one of the most amazing manned aircraft ever built.

Looking at the Blackbird it seems incredible that it is now a museum exhibit and more than half a century old.

This books is highly commended and provides an unrivalled review of an outstanding aircraft.

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NAME: Lockheed SR71 Blackbird, 1964 onwards (all Marks), Owners’ Workshop Manual
CLASSIFICATION: Book Reviews
FILE: R1752
DATE: 170812
AUTHOR: Steve Davies, Paul Crickmore
PUBLISHER: Haynes Publishing
BINDING: hard back
PAGES: 156
PRICE: £21.99
GENRE: Non fiction
SUBJECT: Strategic reconnaissance, hypersonic, spy plane, technology, CIA, USAF, Customer One, Customer Two
ISBN: 978-0-85733-156-4
IMAGE: B1752.jpg
BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/d7ujjvz
LINKS: http://tinyurl.com/
DESCRIPTION: This is a tongue-in-cheek owners’ workshop manual because the dispersal of SR71 aircraft was strictly controlled and located machines in major museums. As a result, private individuals and restoration groups were denied access to aircraft as they retired. However, the manual is an ideal vehicle to provide a detailed insight into one of the most amazing manned aircraft ever built.

Looking at the Blackbird it seems incredible that it is now a museum exhibit and more than half a century old.

Its predecessor, the U2 Dragon Lady, has outlived it in service but a U2 replacement was urgently required in CIA and USAF service after the Russians managed to shoot down a U2 over-flying Soviet airspace, providing an excuse for the Soviets to make the loss into a major international incident. At the time, there was no alternative to flying manned aircraft over potentially hostile territory to gain strategic intelligence. That automatically created the potential for an aircraft to be shot down by missiles or fighter aircraft. As the U2 proved, flying at extreme altitude did not guarantee invulnerability. Lockheed solved the problem by building an astounding aircraft that still looks like advanced technology, bordering on science fiction.

On the ground, the Blackbird leaked fuel and only high-speed flight created the friction heat to expand the metal of the tanks to stop the leaks. At maximum speed, the Blackbird generated enough heat to make it glow cherry red. The advanced design and paint system reduced the radar signature to make the Blackbird difficult to identify and track. The Soviet MiG 25 fighter was intended to intercept the Blackbird but never managed to achieve its objective as the SR71 flew unimpeded over Soviet airspace.

The workshop manual provides considerable detail with lavish illustration in a style familiar to those who have read other workshop manuals from this publisher. High quality photographs and drawings ably support the text and the aircraft is examined from the viewpoint of pilots and crew chiefs. There are excellent appendices providing fine detail and the location of surviving SR71 and A12 aircraft.

Flying at the upper edge of the atmosphere, the crew required space suits and these were provided from NASA stocks. The Blackbird also operated in support of NASA research. During its working life the Blackbird operated mainly out of bases that were located away from public sight and out of buildings that were hidden, particularly during the early parts of its service. Flying from Area 51 the SR71 contributed to the ‘flying saucer’ sightings. Later, it operated more openly from locations such as RAF Mildenhall in the UK where it was eventually displayed during the very popular Mildenhall Air Shows, when the public could closely approach SR71 aircraft based there.

It was also developed as a fighter and one reason for doing this was to provide a capability to take on any similar aircraft that might be built by the Soviets. During its service, the Blackbird flew over the hot spots of the Cold War and no SR71 was ever lost to enemy action.

Today, there is still a need for aircraft to augment satellites and other intelligence gathering equipment but the current trend is to employ UAVs in this role. Smaller, even more difficult to locate with radar and infrared detection systems, the UAV does not expose a human to capture. The current remotely piloted UAVs are becoming more autonomous and will eventually be able to operate without human intervention Comprehensive though this book is, there is still much of the Blackbird program that is classified and likely to remain so for some time. One reason for that is that UAVs still operate sensor and scanning technologies that were pioneered by the SR71 and fly very similar missions.

This books is highly commended and provides an unrivalled review of an outstanding aircraft.

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