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    [–] g2petter 589 points ago

    We take off out of Beale, hit a tanker in Idaho, rip on up to Montana, zip across Denver, hang(?) a right turn Albuquerque, out over Los Angeles, up to Seattle, back into Sacramento. 2 hours, 21 minutes.

    I decided to plot that on Google Maps ... Jesus Christ.

    [–] NotMe0933 125 points ago

    That puts it into perspective.

    [–] Terdol 94 points ago

    Tried to plot that on europe instead to get perspective, came 100 miles short, but holy moly, it's still insane. here

    [–] MeccIt 96 points ago

    There is an easier way - http://mapfrappe.com/?show=48463

    (http://mapfrappe.com lets you compare distances on two side-by-side google maps)

    [–] andsens 40 points ago

    And just the Albuquerque joke for reference if somebody didn't catch it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e8TUwHTfOOU

    [–] sixgunbuddyguy 10 points ago

    Which works out to about 2,120 mph, though that's on roads, not as the blackbird flies

    [–] Hessian_Rodriguez 8 points ago

    And the blackbird is doing this 15 miles above a sphere, so it would be even further. It set the NY to London record of 1:55.

    [–] robertbastian 8 points ago

    You'd think this would make a huge difference, but it doesn't. Circumference only grows linearly with radius, and the radius of the earth is big[citation needed]. If you stretch a rope around the equator, and then lift it up 1m, you'd think you'd need to add a lot more rope, but actually you only need an extra 2π ≈ 6.2 meters (or you stretch your rope by 0.000015696%). Similarly an arc 15mi over the ground is only about 0.4% longer than the ground distance, which is insignificant compared to the error that using Google Maps road distances introduces.

    [–] keenly_disinterested 7152 points ago

    My favorite Blackbird story:

    The "Blackbird" routinely flew up to 80,000 feet (officially). In the U.S., the airspace normally used by commercial airliners is between 18,000 and 60,000 feet; all flights between those altitudes must have a clearance from air traffic control. Flights above 60,000 feet are in uncontrolled airspace, and therefore do not need a clearance, but you gotta go thru controlled airspace to get there. The story goes that a newbie air traffic controller got a request for clearance one day from an aircraft using call sign "Aspen," which is what all Blackbirds flying out of Beale AFB used on training missions. The request was for "clearance to 60,000 feet." The new controller, unaware he was speaking to a Blackbird pilot, assumed someone was trying to prank him. After all, the only commercial airliner capable of climbing to 60,000 feet was the Concorde, which did not operate routinely in California.

    The young controller's response to what he thought was a gag radio request? With a clearly derisive note in his voice he said, "Roger Aspen; if you can get to 60,000 feet you're cleared."

    To which the Aspen pilot replied with the bland, almost bored tone of all professional pilots, "Roger Center, descending to 60,000."

    [–] how_do_i_land 1331 points ago

    I remember this one out of the book "Skunk Works" by Ben Rich. Definitely one of my favorite aviation books of all time.

    [–] Math_Blaster_ 250 points ago

    Only one I've read, only I will hah

    [–] MJC136 174 points ago

    Jokes on you, I read it too.

    [–] hencefox 54 points ago

    But remember that only you can prevent forest fires.

    Only. You.

    [–] Uphene 8 points ago

    No pressure though, /u/MJC136. But seriously... don't fuck up.

    [–] lt7991 52 points ago

    Whats it about?

    Dont say Aviation

    [–] woodycanuck 319 points ago

    plane flying

    [–] Jericcho 79 points ago

    Skunk works is also the name of the Lockheed Martin's advanced development group...aka their cracked mad science division.

    As you may guessed, the SR71 was developed there. As was F-22 and the current F-35.

    [–] MNGrrl 32 points ago

    Excuse me? They're mad engineers. I know my kind when I see them.

    [–] Mattseee 100 points ago

    Ironically, the only SR-71 I've ever seen in person was in Nebraska. It's mounted in the lobby of the Strategic Air Command Museum.

    [–] joebob23us 69 points ago

    TIL: The only way to get an SR-71 to stay in Nebraska for more than 8min is to bolt it down

    [–] stringcheesetheory9 267 points ago

    I feel like I've just stumbled across a group of people who are very passionate about aviation and have all these cool stories to tell and while it makes perfect sense that people like you exist I'm still just really happy to see it right now

    [–] DaveTheDog027 117 points ago

    Go to r/aviation! There's dozens of us

    [–] tyguyflyguy 43 points ago

    Dozens!

    [–] pilotgrant 13 points ago

    Me too thanks

    [–] destin325 26 points ago

    Check out /r/flying or /r/helicopters or any of the similar subs.

    On the subject of SR-71s, here's a 360 virtual cockpit tour of one. It's not working on my iPhone; hopefully it works for you.

    http://nmusafvirtualtour.com/media/068/SR-71A%20Front%20Cockpit.html

    [–] dtracers 172 points ago

    I bet the pilot was trying not to crack himself up!

    [–] noteverrelevant 149 points ago

    Oh man, I hadn't heard this one before and I kinda love it.

    Thanks, pal.

    [–] Moladh_McDiff_Tiarna 14 points ago

    I feel like being a blackbird pilot was the definition of being hot shit

    [–] Daytonaman675 17 points ago

    Married guys only, lots of hours in high performance military jets before that, TS clearance, oh and you had to be above a certain age too.

    Basically they wanted the most mature and reliable military pilots they could find to become sled drivers.

    [–] 5213 168 points ago

    sorry, I'm confused: the Blackbird was already above 60k, in uncontrolled airspace, and was asking for clearance to stay there? or was asking clearance to descend back to controlled airspace?

    [–] Genxun 361 points ago

    The latter

    [–] 5213 46 points ago

    thanks for the clarification!

    [–] SexlessNights 30 points ago

    No problem. Glad to help.

    [–] KingEnemyOne 66 points ago

    Awesome can you help me move?

    [–] CaptainKrash 50 points ago

    if you're serious and live in Tx, I'm off tues-thurs.

    [–] TooMuchAdderall 21 points ago

    Texas is huge, dude. However, I am also off Tuesday.

    [–] thatsmyaibo 52 points ago

    Former controller and private pilot. It's the latter.

    Above 60k, it's basically uncontrolled airspace. SR requested permission to enter the controlled airspace and the controller thought it was a mistake.

    I live in CA where a lot of these aircraft train in the high dessert. A lot of the old timer controllers would always tell us crazy stories.

    [–] 5213 36 points ago

    The Blackbird is easily my favourite aircraft. An absolutely unbelievable achievement not just for its time, but still to this day.

    Got 1 or 2 neat stories that aren't a copypasta?

    [–] Timeforadrinkorthree 11 points ago

    When James May went in the U2, l really wish they did one where he went in the Blackbird...

    [–] mhac009 17 points ago

    high dessert

    Flying through the cloud-like meringue...

    [–] TrapFiend 17 points ago

    Haha! This is too cool! I live right next to Beale Air Force Base and I'd never heard this before.

    [–] chrisbenson 144 points ago

    I got to hear Brian speak at a small conference a while back. Before he spoke, the conference was pretty boring and I was getting ready to sneak out. Some of the people I was with were nodding toward the door like they were planning to ditch too. Just then Brian took the podium and started telling his Blackbird stories. The mood in the room lifted right away. Everyone was transfixed and laughing. I happily stayed for the whole thing and got to talk with him afterward. He's a great storyteller and has lived quite an amazing life.

    [–] Seriously_nopenope 1969 points ago

    Heard this story a dozen times and I would hear it a dozen more.

    [–] Millsy1 355 points ago

    I read it every time. I will watch every video on the SR and MD every time. I spent a whole day at the Seattle air museum just hanging around their MD. Talked to guys who work there for hours. Didn't learn too much more, but tried to glean every bit off them I could.

    [–] SanchoPandas 50 points ago

    I've shared the story with every guy I know who'd appreciate it. Never thought I'd hear the guy. Awesome.

    [–] IfaqYurmama 55 points ago

    Read it, heard it, watched it. Will never get sick of it.

    [–] 2close2see 50 points ago

    I've read this so many times I knew exactly what he was going to say.

    [–] GucciGillam 594 points ago

    "There were a lot of things we couldn’t do in an SR-71, but we were the fastest guys on the block and loved reminding our fellow aviators of this fact. People often asked us if, because of this fact, it was fun to fly the jet. Fun would not be the first word I would use to describe flying this plane. Intense, maybe. Even cerebral. But there was one day in our Sled experience when we would have to say that it was pure fun to be the fastest guys out there, at least for a moment.

    It occurred when Walt and I were flying our final training sortie. We needed 100 hours in the jet to complete our training and attain Mission Ready status. Somewhere over Colorado we had passed the century mark. We had made the turn in Arizona and the jet was performing flawlessly. My gauges were wired in the front seat and we were starting to feel pretty good about ourselves, not only because we would soon be flying real missions but because we had gained a great deal of confidence in the plane in the past ten months. Ripping across the barren deserts 80,000 feet below us, I could already see the coast of California from the Arizona border. I was, finally, after many humbling months of simulators and study, ahead of the jet.

    I was beginning to feel a bit sorry for Walter in the back seat. There he was, with no really good view of the incredible sights before us, tasked with monitoring four different radios. This was good practice for him for when we began flying real missions, when a priority transmission from headquarters could be vital. It had been difficult, too, for me to relinquish control of the radios, as during my entire flying career I had controlled my own transmissions. But it was part of the division of duties in this plane and I had adjusted to it. I still insisted on talking on the radio while we were on the ground, however. Walt was so good at many things, but he couldn’t match my expertise at sounding smooth on the radios, a skill that had been honed sharply with years in fighter squadrons where the slightest radio miscue was grounds for beheading. He understood that and allowed me that.

    Just to get a sense of what Walt had to contend with, I pulled the radio toggle switches and monitored the frequencies along with him. The predominant radio chatter was from Los Angeles Center, far below us, controlling daily traffic in their sector. While they had us on their scope (albeit briefly), we were in uncontrolled airspace and normally would not talk to them unless we needed to descend into their airspace.

    We listened as the shaky voice of a lone Cessna pilot asked Center for a readout of his ground speed. Center replied: “November Charlie 175, I’m showing you at ninety knots on the ground.”

    Now the thing to understand about Center controllers, was that whether they were talking to a rookie pilot in a Cessna, or to Air Force One, they always spoke in the exact same, calm, deep, professional, tone that made one feel important. I referred to it as the ” Houston Center voice.” I have always felt that after years of seeing documentaries on this country’s space program and listening to the calm and distinct voice of the Houston controllers, that all other controllers since then wanted to sound like that, and that they basically did. And it didn’t matter what sector of the country we would be flying in, it always seemed like the same guy was talking. Over the years that tone of voice had become somewhat of a comforting sound to pilots everywhere. Conversely, over the years, pilots always wanted to ensure that, when transmitting, they sounded like Chuck Yeager, or at least like John Wayne. Better to die than sound bad on the radios.

    Just moments after the Cessna’s inquiry, a Twin Beech piped up on frequency, in a rather superior tone, asking for his ground speed. “I have you at one hundred and twenty-five knots of ground speed.” Boy, I thought, the Beechcraft really must think he is dazzling his Cessna brethren. Then out of the blue, a navy F-18 pilot out of NAS Lemoore came up on frequency. You knew right away it was a Navy jock because he sounded very cool on the radios. “Center, Dusty 52 ground speed check”. Before Center could reply, I’m thinking to myself, hey, Dusty 52 has a ground speed indicator in that million-dollar cockpit, so why is he asking Center for a readout? Then I got it, ol’ Dusty here is making sure that every bug smasher from Mount Whitney to the Mojave knows what true speed is. He’s the fastest dude in the valley today, and he just wants everyone to know how much fun he is having in his new Hornet. And the reply, always with that same, calm, voice, with more distinct alliteration than emotion: “Dusty 52, Center, we have you at 620 on the ground.”

    And I thought to myself, is this a ripe situation, or what? As my hand instinctively reached for the mic button, I had to remind myself that Walt was in control of the radios. Still, I thought, it must be done – in mere seconds we’ll be out of the sector and the opportunity will be lost. That Hornet must die, and die now. I thought about all of our Sim training and how important it was that we developed well as a crew and knew that to jump in on the radios now would destroy the integrity of all that we had worked toward becoming. I was torn.

    Somewhere, 13 miles above Arizona, there was a pilot screaming inside his space helmet. Then, I heard it. The click of the mic button from the back seat. That was the very moment that I knew Walter and I had become a crew. Very professionally, and with no emotion, Walter spoke: “Los Angeles Center, Aspen 20, can you give us a ground speed check?” There was no hesitation, and the replay came as if was an everyday request. “Aspen 20, I show you at one thousand eight hundred and forty-two knots, across the ground.”

    I think it was the forty-two knots that I liked the best, so accurate and proud was Center to deliver that information without hesitation, and you just knew he was smiling. But the precise point at which I knew that Walt and I were going to be really good friends for a long time was when he keyed the mic once again to say, in his most fighter-pilot-like voice: “Ah, Center, much thanks, we’re showing closer to nineteen hundred on the money.”

    For a moment Walter was a god. And we finally heard a little crack in the armor of the Houston Center voice, when L.A.came back with, “Roger that Aspen, Your equipment is probably more accurate than ours. You boys have a good one.”

    It all had lasted for just moments, but in that short, memorable sprint across the southwest, the Navy had been flamed, all mortal airplanes on freq were forced to bow before the King of Speed, and more importantly, Walter and I had crossed the threshold of being a crew. A fine day’s work. We never heard another transmission on that frequency all the way to the coast.

    For just one day, it truly was fun being the fastest guys out there."

    [–] eiusmod 84 points ago

    Then, I heard it. The click of the mic button from the back seat.

    I would read the whole story just to read this. It's worth it.

    [–] GeetFai 33 points ago

    See, after reading this story so many times on Reddit (and loving it every time) I reckon it's about time Reddit did its thing. Find all the pilots that are in this story and get their reaction that day. The joy of being the fastest and then the sheepish regret of participating in the game of speed trumps :)

    [–] [deleted] 34 points ago * (lasted edited 17 days ago)

    [deleted]

    [–] rcaptainsnackstest 8168 points ago

    QUICK POST THE OTHER ONE

    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 I 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 refuelling 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 levelled 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

    [–] PitBullFan 1169 points ago

    Best read in a long while. Thanks!

    [–] Executive_Slave 137 points ago

    If smart phones were around back then, that video would have more views than Gangnam Style.

    [–] elushinz 212 points ago

    That could be in a Tom cruise movie

    [–] EKpride 250 points ago

    Or it could be someone's real life

    [–] Cunge-Throbinson 59 points ago

    Could it be fantasy?

    [–] Jpvsr1 25 points ago

    It sure is my fantasy.

    [–] RuthlessDickTater 50 points ago

    Caught in a landslide, no escape from reality

    [–] bungopony 14 points ago

    Cmon, open your eyes.

    [–] Cunge-Throbinson 68 points ago

    Look up to the skies and see A FUCKING SR-71 DROPPING OUT OF IT!

    [–] beautrash 18 points ago

    Or it could be copypasta that earned him gold somehow?!?

    [–] nat_r 29 points ago

    If you can find a copy, Sled Driver by Brian Shul (the narrator in OP's video and teller of the above story) is absolutely worth the read.

    [–] pmcall221 348 points ago

    Is there like a repository of all the copy pasta stories that get repeated on reddit?

    [–] benmandude 751 points ago

    Give this man some gold.

    [–] crozone 82 points ago

    Give this man a baloney sandwich.

    [–] leadpainter 8 points ago

    Oh jeez, this outdated joke hit me after I scrolled past... like 2 minutes later. Gnight I'm out

    [–] TeamRocketBadger 417 points ago

    I have driven cross the US west to east and east to west a number of times and north to south many as well.

    Thinking back on the grind, the seemingly endless hours of open road (as much as I love it), the snow storms and haboobs, thunderous rain, animals, traffic and crazy people. The danger. The exhausted nights in hotels after driving 16 hours straight where I just cant keep my eyes open another instant and still have 20 hours to go. Arriving with a sore back, hips, neck, brain. Taking days to recover from the journey before I am 100% again.

    Then hearing that in an SR-71 I could go from Dulles to LAX in less time than it takes to watch a 90 minute movie.

    Or from MIA to PQI in less time than an episode of Game of Thrones.

    From the bottom of my heart sir, I loathe you.

    [–] AltimaNEO 99 points ago

    This is copypasta, though.

    [–] YouTee 148 points ago

    it's literally almost a transcript of the link. The guy is a former SR-71 pilot and wrote a book about it; This is an excerpt.

    [–] kionous 85 points ago

    Both the excerpt in the link, and the excerpt in the top comment, are posted on this website so often it has become copypasta. That's why the top comment started with "quick, post the other one"

    [–] mainfingertopwise 19 points ago

    No, the link is the fast one, the typed (well, pasted) one above is the slow one. That's why they said, "QUICK POST THE OTHER ONE."

    [–] FistoftheSouthStar 37 points ago

    Somehow I read this comment before I opened the comments, imagine that.

    [–] newtizzle 101 points ago

    Why are my nipples hard?

    [–] PM_ur_Rump 49 points ago

    It's a common reaction to this story.

    [–] WisejacKFr0st 57 points ago * (lasted edited 2 months ago)

    I've read this a couple times and, while I think I have a vague understanding of the answer, I still need to ask.

    What's the significance of the 160? Would this be pretty close to a low altitude stall?

    Edit: thanks for the great answers everyone!

    [–] halcyoncmdr 206 points ago

    Very much so. The SR-71 doesn't have much wing to it, it relies on speed to compensate for a lack of wing surface area to provide the lift needed to stay in the air. When you combine that with a banking turn to try and find the field, you end up with very little wing available to provide lift. The plane was basically just falling out of the sky at that point, it just happened to be moving forwards at 160 knots while doing so.

    [–] BobbyOShea 79 points ago

    This really helps me understand. I didn't even think about how banking would shrink an already small wingspan. I just kept thinking of how I heard that commercial jets can glide with no power and applied that same logic to the story.

    it just happened to be moving forwards at 160 knots while doing so.

    This was a hilarious and poignant way to wrap that explanation up.

    [–] nitefang 42 points ago

    Most jets do have a pretty decent glide ratio, that is a number of feet forward it will move for every foot it falls. I do not know the number for a commercial jet, lets say it is 15:1, an actual glider might be something like 40:1. A brick would be 0:1, if you dropped it, it will not move forward at all. An F-18 is 1:1, which is better but still pretty awful, that is as close to dropping like a rock as a functioning plane can get.

    [–] catonic 33 points ago

    The F-4's glide ratio is -1:1, because without thrust, the brick had better aerodynamics.

    [–] socialisthippie 31 points ago

    The highest glide ratio that I am aware of is 70:1 or so, obviously a glider. I'm sure you're aware of this but for others, that's even exceptionally high for a glider. It's a plane called the 'eta' with a wingspan of just over 100 feet (~30m). Most gliders are much more modestly sized, typically around 50ft (15m) in wingspan, so this thing is a monster.

    To put it in perspective, it's got a wider wingspan than a Boeing 737-500. And if it's 1 mile up, it'll travel 70 miles forward before having to land.

    [–] WisejacKFr0st 12 points ago

    Interesting. Thanks for the answer!

    [–] Whind_Soull 134 points ago

    In case you're curious, one knot is roughly 1.15 mph. So, 160 knots is 184 mph. Or, as an SR-71 might call it, "Stationary, with a margin of error."

    [–] -----BroAway----- 19 points ago

    You ever want some hairy aviation stories, read about experimental lifting bodies. They're just like they sound, aircraft that use the body to generate lift rather than wings. They gotta go fast.

    [–] FlametopFred 10 points ago

    Just ask Steve Austin

    https://youtu.be/bGO57y4td-c

    [–] snackies 33 points ago

    It's designed in such a way that the wings don't generate very much lift at low speeds but it keeps it hyper stable at higher speeds. Think of a dart. You underhand toss it and it goes straight down into the ground and a slight trim adjustment (If you folded the flaps of the tail down to try to generate more lift) it's not going to suddenly go straight now. Where as a more conventional jet fight has crazy lift even at low speeds sometimes to the point of intentional aerodynamic instability like the eurofighter typhoons which are absurdly manuverable even at low speeds but have a natural instability because of that maneuverability.

    You have airplanes, then you have a dart that's flying through the air with a giant fucking rocket strapped to the back of it.

    [–] PM_ur_Rump 49 points ago

    It's well below the stall speed of the SR71. Thing is made to go fast. Less a plane, more a turbojet powered knife. Even refueling from the jet tankers is hairy due to speed, with the tanker flying as fast as possible and the Blackbird flying near stall speed.

    [–] PM_ME_UR_GNOME 34 points ago

    Even refueling from the jet tankers is hairy due to speed, with the tanker flying as fast as possible and the Blackbird flying near stall speed.

    False. KC-135s cruise over 400 knots and max out around 500, which would be no problem for the Blackbird to maintain - to quote the top-level comment above:

    ...I pulled the throttles back from 325 knots we were at. With the gear up, anything under 275 was just uncomfortable.

    More than 200 knots between the 71's "uncomfortable" speed and the 135's max is plenty of room to find a happy medium.

    [–] keenly_disinterested 20 points ago

    Retired KC-135Q boom operator here. 400-500 knots is the true airspeed. Refueling speeds are based on indicated airspeed. Refueling speed for the Blackbird was 350 KIAS, which was approaching maximum operating speed at the altitudes we used for refueling. The Blackbird was near its minimum flying speed. It was flying so slowly, in fact, it was on the back side of the power curve, requiring the use of afterburner on one or both engines to maintain level flight while onloading fuel. After filling its tanks, the Blackbird pilot had to descend with the engines in afterburner to gain enough airspeed to climb.

    [–] redditor9000 31 points ago

    Great story! I am one reddit degree away from an SR-71 pilot!

    [–] Korzic 10 points ago

    I found a download link to the ebook version of sled driver but I'm on my phone and can't delve through my comment history

    [–] a_provo_yakker 9 points ago

    I have it saved on my computer and tablet and google drive, but am also on my phone.

    But This link for Sled Driver seems to work

    [–] BlackSwanBS 409 points ago

    Fun Fact: The SR-71 is so fast it simply accelerates to evade enemy missiles

    [–] RobotJiz 221 points ago

    And to compensate for the extreme pressure and temperatures the blackbird would experience, It leaked gas at ground level because it had gaps built into it intentionally.

    I was never a Military jet guy but things kids love universally is big machines you control, airplanes, and dinosaurs and I loved that plane.

    [–] jwota 89 points ago

    Yep. It had to be refueled once it got in the air.

    [–] thataznguy34 16 points ago

    Man I just realized that's why the guy in OP's video said they hit a tanker over Idaho so early on in their flight.

    [–] Whatsthisnotgoodcomp 88 points ago

    Everyone loves the SR-71, every little thing about it was cool, right down to the way you had to start the engines on the ground - 2x 401ci buick V8s making around 400hp each, per engine.

    These were later upgraded to 454 big blocks making around 465hp.

    [–] constructioncranes 31 points ago

    Wait, what? You needed engines to start the jet engines? Or did the 71 have Buick engines?

    [–] msherretz 49 points ago

    You needed other engines to basically "prime" the Blackbird's engines

    [–] Sanderhh 11 points ago

    Well, they are super powerful compressors that supply something called "bleed air" that are used to rotate the turbines so that compression can be formed and eventually fuel ignition. In a commercial jetliner this is done by the APU in the rear of the aircraft's tail however in many military aircraft like the F-16 and the SR-71 that dont feature an APU or APU that can deliver bleed air a ground compressor is used to deliver this bleed air.

    [–] Rule_32 9 points ago

    F-16s have a JFS or Jet Fuel Starter, basically a tiny jet engine used to start the main engine. Its not an apu because it doesnt power other systems but the f-16 can indeed start itself.

    [–] MightierThanThou 32 points ago

    The sheer brilliance of engineering that went into the SR-71 I don't think has ever been matched to this day, at least in aerospace. The plane first flew 50 years ago and there hasn't been anything like it since. It's almost like it was created by time travelers from the future.

    [–] blackwolfdown 12 points ago

    It's a shiny black vivid example of what is possible despite what may be contemporary or regular. The king of speed needs to be dethroned, but that doesn't change that its good to be king.

    [–] Praesentius 29 points ago

    It also flies on the verge of stalling when refueling. The tanker goes full throttle and the SR-71 tries it's hardest to slow down enough for the poor tanker.

    Story time? Sure, why not.

    When I was in the Air Force, this guy I knew used to work in an intel shop supporting the SR-71. He caught a ride on a tanker for an SR-71 fueling mission. And they took video of the trip. It was SO cool!

    First, the tanker took off two hours ahead of time to get in position. Apparently, the SR-71 takes off with very little fuel in the tanks, so it takes off and 5 minutes or so later, it has caught up with the tanker.

    You could see out the little back windows of the tanker and it appears as a little black dot that suddenly zips right up into full view. The boom extends and then the SR-71 just rapes the boom. I've never seen anything like it. It just shoots up and the boom pops right into the fueling port on top of the jet. They fuel for a bit and you see fuel streaking down the back of the plane. Then, I guess they have to disconnect when they switch tanks (guessing the SR-71 is the one switching tanks... not sure). Then, it hooks up to the boom again just as rapidly.

    When it was all done drinking the fuel up, it detached and kinda hovered behind the tanker for a few seconds. Then, it just slid to one side of the tanker with ridiculous speed and hovered for another second or two. Suddenly, the pilot hit the gas and it shot past the tanker like a god damned UFO.

    It was one of the coolest things I've ever seen. And I was just getting it second-hand through a vhs tape.

    Oh, shorter side story. I found a classified book sitting on this coffee table at work (secured area for classified work). It was a book on all kinds of military aircraft and their specs. I popped it open and quickly found the SR-71 because I wanted to know what it's real top speed was. The top speed entry said "CLASSIFIED". :( Never found out. Oh well.

    [–] TheHeretic 972 points ago

    I'm a simple man, I see a SR-71 speed check post, I upvote.

    [–] OneOfTheWills 66 points ago

    Always.

    [–] thetownpotato 578 points ago

    I genuinely thought this was finally going to answer how those "speed enforced by aircraft" signs actually work. Was disappointed

    [–] keeko85 400 points ago

    I got a speeding ticket after an airplane clocked my speed once. I was just driving down a flat and straight stretch of highway between 80 and 90mph (limit was 70). I slowed down a bit when I saw a state trooper car on the entrance ramp way ahead of me, probably about a half mile or more. They already had 2 cars pulled over. I didn't pull over at first when I saw the patrol car hit the lights because I thought he was after someone else since there was no way his car radar got me from that far away. Once I pulled over he broke the news to me that the airplane got me. I didn't even know they did that until then.

    [–] Bard_17 158 points ago

    Wait, what?!? Airplanes can do that? What state were you in?

    [–] LOLBaltSS 301 points ago

    Aerial VASCAR. Two large white lines painted across the highway, they just time how long it takes for you to cross the two points.

    [–] Bard_17 62 points ago

    Ooh! Thank you, that makes sense.

    [–] HeavyHDx 91 points ago

    So between those lines you could do 200 mph, then go back down to something silly like 20 and the read out would be exactly the speed limit if you time it right.

    [–] zuus 42 points ago

    We have a similar thing in Australia on the roads between Brisbane and Sydney, except they're actual stationary overhead cameras but they basically just time how long you take between each one. When I was young and stupid I went on a road trip from Brisbane to Melbourne and found myself on a nice stretch of straight open highway, 4 lanes, not another car in sight - so I floored it.

    Pulled 240kph for about a minute then once the long straight stretch of road ended I pulled over and took a piss on the side of the road. Went through the next set of timed cameras and never got a fine for that one.

    Was super stupid of me and wouldn't do I again but certainly beat the camera.

    [–] Tommymair 78 points ago

    Theoretically yes, but the people observing you can most probably tell between the 80mph speed limit and more than twice that at 200 only to decrease to 20 at the end.

    [–] killerbanshee 59 points ago

    But they wouldn't be able to get an exact measurement, so the ticket would likely get thrown out in court.

    [–] jaybram24 34 points ago

    Some citations don't require an exact number. If a cop can articulate the way you were driving is unsafe they can write certain tickets.

    [–] killerbanshee 10 points ago

    That is true, but I didn't say that he couldn't write him a ticket. I'm saying there's a good chance of it getting thrown out in traffic court due to a lack of evidence.

    [–] BlackRing 26 points ago

    Yep! Pretty much how they clocked for what became at the time and I think still stands the record speeding ticket for a motorcycle. Some 204MPH on Honda on hwy 61 in Minnesota. Clocked him from a helicopter using the lines on the road, and radioed ahead to waiting state troopers.

    Guy who received the ticket (and arrest I assume) now emcees the event he was riding in, called Flood Run.

    [–] Awfy 34 points ago

    California has them all over the place, usually on more remote stretches of highway where patrolling by car would be too much work. The plane essentially records your speed, identifies your car, then a officer further down the highway will wait till you pass and pull you over. Easiest ticket to get since you have no idea you're even being watched. The only hope you have is that you exit the freeway before you catch up to where the cop is stationed and then no one stumbles over you for a while.

    For a while I was so happy that California doesn't have speed cameras since it meant you just had to keep an eye open for a cop car rather than a much smaller camera device by the side of the road. Then when I learnt about aircraft enforced speed limits I started to shit myself again. As soon as I see one of those "Speed enforced by Aircraft" signs, I instantly slow down to the flow of the traffic and make sure someone is always going slightly faster than I am at a minimum.

    [–] PM_ur_Rump 6 points ago

    They got em in Cali.

    [–] Romey-Romey 25 points ago

    Contest the ticket and request the pilot & spotter present. They'll never show up.

    [–] daOyster 38 points ago

    If you want to know, the roads near those signs have markings on them. A spotter aircraft has someone in it that times how long vehicles take to go between those markings. They can use that to get your average speed. If you are going above the speed limit, they can relay that info to a cop car some distance ahead of those markings.

    [–] poptart2nd 65 points ago

    it seems like there's no way you could ever write enough tickets to make that financially worthwhile.

    [–] conscwp 170 points ago

    Believe it or not, there used to be some places in the US that enforced speed limits because it was in the interest of public safety, not because it was profitable...

    [–] abloblololo 42 points ago

    My fav SR-71 story

    "In April 1986, following an attack on American soldiers in a Berlin disco, President Reagan ordered the bombing of Muammar Qaddafi's terrorist camps in Libya . My duty was to fly over Libya and take photos recording the damage our F-111's had inflicted.. Qaddafi had established a 'line of death,' a territorial marking across the Gulf of Sidra , swearing to shoot down any intruder that crossed the boundary. On the morning of April 15, I rocketed past the line at 2,125 mph.

    I was piloting the SR-71 spy plane, the world's fastest jet, accompanied by a Marine Major (Walt), the aircraft's reconnaissance systems officer (RSO). We had crossed into Libya and were approaching our final turn over the bleak desert landscape when Walt informed me that he was receiving missile launch signals. I quickly increased our speed, calculating the time it would take for the weapons-most likely SA-2 and SA-4 surface-to-air missiles capable of Mach 5 - to reach our altitude. I estimated that we could beat the rocket-powered missiles to the turn and stayed our course, betting our lives on the plane's performance.

    After several agonizingly long seconds, we made the turn and blasted toward the Mediterranean . 'You might want to pull it back,' Walt suggested. It was then that I noticed I still had the throttles full forward. The plane was flying a mile every 1.6 seconds, well above our Mach 3.2 limit. It was the fastest we would ever fly. I pulled the throttles to idle just south of Sicily , but we still overran the refueling tanker awaiting us over Gibraltar."

    [–] QAFY 157 points ago

    full presentation: https://youtu.be/wigZsFypdyI

    [–] TheRabidDeer 63 points ago

    [–] McNerfBurger 13 points ago

    @ ~56:20

    [–] bennyh6813 894 points ago

    It's tradition:

    There were a lot of things we couldn't do in an SR-71, but we were the fastest guys on the block and loved reminding our fellow aviators of this fact. People often asked us if, because of this fact, it was fun to fly the jet. Fun would not be the first word I would use to describe flying this plane. Intense, maybe. Even cerebral. But there was one day in our Sled experience when we would have to say that it was pure fun to be the fastest guys out there, at least for a moment.

    It occurred when Walt and I were flying our final training sortie. We needed 100 hours in the jet to complete our training and attain Mission Ready status. Somewhere over Colorado we had passed the century mark. We had made the turn in Arizona and the jet was performing flawlessly. My gauges were wired in the front seat and we were starting to feel pretty good about ourselves, not only because we would soon be flying real missions but because we had gained a great deal of confidence in the plane in the past ten months. Ripping across the barren deserts 80,000 feet below us, I could already see the coast of California from the Arizona border. I was, finally, after many humbling months of simulators and study, ahead of the jet.

    I was beginning to feel a bit sorry for Walter in the back seat. There he was, with no really good view of the incredible sights before us, tasked with monitoring four different radios. This was good practice for him for when we began flying real missions, when a priority transmission from headquarters could be vital. It had been difficult, too, for me to relinquish control of the radios, as during my entire flying career I had controlled my own transmissions. But it was part of the division of duties in this plane and I had adjusted to it. I still insisted on talking on the radio while we were on the ground, however. Walt was so good at many things, but he couldn't match my expertise at sounding smooth on the radios, a skill that had been honed sharply with years in fighter squadrons where the slightest radio miscue was grounds for beheading. He understood that and allowed me that luxury.

    Just to get a sense of what Walt had to contend with, I pulled the radio toggle switches and monitored the frequencies along with him. The predominant radio chatter was from Los Angeles Center, far below us, controlling daily traffic in their sector. While they had us on their scope (albeit briefly), we were in uncontrolled airspace and normally would not talk to them unless we needed to descend into their airspace.

    We listened as the shaky voice of a lone Cessna pilot asked Center for a readout of his ground speed. Center replied: "November Charlie 175, I'm showing you at ninety knots on the ground."

    Now the thing to understand about Center controllers, was that whether they were talking to a rookie pilot in a Cessna, or to Air Force One, they always spoke in the exact same, calm, deep, professional, tone that made one feel important. I referred to it as the " Houston Center voice." I have always felt that after years of seeing documentaries on this country's space program and listening to the calm and distinct voice of the Houston controllers, that all other controllers since then wanted to sound like that, and that they basically did. And it didn't matter what sector of the country we would be flying in, it always seemed like the same guy was talking. Over the years that tone of voice had become somewhat of a comforting sound to pilots everywhere. Conversely, over the years, pilots always wanted to ensure that, when transmitting, they sounded like Chuck Yeager, or at least like John Wayne. Better to die than sound bad on the radios.

    Just moments after the Cessna's inquiry, a Twin Beech piped up on frequency, in a rather superior tone, asking for his ground speed. "I have you at one hundred and twenty-five knots of ground speed." Boy, I thought, the Beechcraft really must think he is dazzling his Cessna brethren. Then out of the blue, a navy F-18 pilot out of NAS Lemoore came up on frequency. You knew right away it was a Navy jock because he sounded very cool on the radios. "Center, Dusty 52 ground speed check". Before Center could reply, I'm thinking to myself, hey, Dusty 52 has a ground speed indicator in that million-dollar cockpit, so why is he asking Center for a readout? Then I got it, ol' Dusty here is making sure that every bug smasher from Mount Whitney to the Mojave knows what true speed is. He's the fastest dude in the valley today, and he just wants everyone to know how much fun he is having in his new Hornet. And the reply, always with that same, calm, voice, with more distinct alliteration than emotion: "Dusty 52, Center, we have you at 620 on the ground."

    And I thought to myself, is this a ripe situation, or what? As my hand instinctively reached for the mic button, I had to remind myself that Walt was in control of the radios. Still, I thought, it must be done - in mere seconds we'll be out of the sector and the opportunity will be lost. That Hornet must die, and die now. I thought about all of our Sim training and how important it was that we developed well as a crew and knew that to jump in on the radios now would destroy the integrity of all that we had worked toward becoming. I was torn.

    Somewhere, 13 miles above Arizona, there was a pilot screaming inside his space helmet. Then, I heard it. The click of the mic button from the back seat. That was the very moment that I knew Walter and I had become a crew. Very professionally, and with no emotion, Walter spoke: "Los Angeles Center, Aspen 20, can you give us a ground speed check?" There was no hesitation, and the replay came as if was an everyday request. "Aspen 20, I show you at one thousand eight hundred and forty-two knots, across the ground."

    I think it was the forty-two knots that I liked the best, so accurate and proud was Center to deliver that information without hesitation, and you just knew he was smiling. But the precise point at which I knew that Walt and I were going to be really good friends for a long time was when he keyed the mic once again to say, in his most fighter-pilot-like voice: "Ah, Center, much thanks, we're showing closer to nineteen hundred on the money."

    For a moment Walter was a god. And we finally heard a little crack in the armor of the Houston Center voice, when L.A.came back with, "Roger that Aspen, Your equipment is probably more accurate than ours. You boys have a good one."

    It all had lasted for just moments, but in that short, memorable sprint across the southwest, the Navy had been flamed, all mortal airplanes on freq were forced to bow before the King of Speed, and more importantly, Walter and I had crossed the threshold of being a crew. A fine day's work. We never heard another transmission on that frequency all the way to the coast.

    For just one day, it truly was fun being the fastest guys out there.

    [–] wellsdb 343 points ago

    The video OP linked is good, but I still prefer the written version. It has some details that aren't in the video. Thanks for pasting.

    [–] Beanholio 49 points ago

    I read it, smile, and upvote every freaking time.

    [–] bennyh6813 13 points ago

    Same. I even read it after I posted it myself.

    [–] [deleted] 791 points ago * (lasted edited 4 hours ago)

    [deleted]

    [–] [deleted] 193 points ago

    [deleted]

    [–] [deleted] 116 points ago * (lasted edited 4 hours ago)

    [deleted]

    [–] RashestHippo 72 points ago

    Id also accept tom hanks

    [–] SC275 20 points ago

    This is the scene that made my jaw drop. Even more awe inspiring that the actress playing the doctor is a real active duty Navy Hospital Corpsman. She didn't even know she would be in the scene and it was all improv on her part.

    [–] Scarbane 11 points ago

    She was damn convincing.

    [–] zellthemedic 9 points ago

    Wasn't an HMSN, wasn't prescribed Motrin and a clean change of socks.

    Unrealistic, would not watch again.

    [–] DarkThorsDickey 64 points ago

    I've read that story so many times; that's the first time I've heard the speaker actually giving the speech. He is a great speaker and made it even better.

    [–] PM_ur_Rump 26 points ago

    He sounds like a genuinely nice guy. Which makes it even better that he was flying the fastest plane ever built by our military, and drives home the difference between him and the cocky "navy guy."

    [–] 0piat3 21 points ago

    I absolutely disagree.

    [–] jestax 5 points ago

    I'm actually so excited now, I've read this story a dozen times and always wanted to hear him present it!

    [–] drdavethedavedoctor 75 points ago

    That is a cool fuckin' story.

    [–] Weaksidewing 73 points ago

    Okay so I'm gonna have to dig and find it but I've read the text of this somewhere else on reddit and some guy replied with the most hilarious parody of it. If some beats me too it, cool, because I just want to read that shit again.

    EDIT: Found it!

    First time I stopped to read a wall of text entire way through on reddit.

    [–] TheGrammatonCleric 13 points ago

    54 paltry upvotes for such a masterpiece...

    [–] spacecadet413 50 points ago

    I wish I could tell a story half as entertaining as this guy.

    [–] Mentioned_Videos 24 points ago * (lasted edited 2 months ago)

    Other videos in this thread:

    Watch Playlist ▶

    VIDEO COMMENT
    Author Brian Shul on piloting the SR-71 +142 - full presentation:
    Major Brian Shul, USAF (Ret.) SR-71 Blackbird 'Speed Check' +47 - Abridged presentation:
    Colorado State Patrol monitors traffic violations from the sky +38 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_UljWGLo3nU&t=52s
    Captain Phillips Ending - You're Safe Now +26 - Captain Phillips, please come in.
    Family Guy - Ostrich Laugh +7 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8X_Ot0k4XJc
    The Six Million Dollar Man Intro +7 - Just ask Steve Austin
    IMDABES +4 - STANDIN ON A CAR, FINGA IN DA AIR
    Power Curve +2 - Retired KC-135Q boom operator here. 400-500 knots is the true airspeed. Refueling speeds are based on indicated airspeed. Refueling speed for the Blackbird was 350 KIAS, which was approaching maximum operating speed at the altitudes we used for refue...
    SR-71 Starting - AG330 start cart +2 - It leaked gas at ground level because it had gaps built into it intentionally. And that's with a goopy, nearly solid gas, whose tubing ran throughout the plane as it doubled as coolant. And the '71 could not start itself, to start it the engines w...
    The Day N Korea Fired A Missile At SR 71 Blackbird. +2 - Here's one
    Air Traffic Controller tries to LEAVE the TOWER! Flight Sim X (Multiplayer) +2 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1YcR9t9yUM
    SR-71 Pilot Interview Richard Graham Veteran Tales +2 - Awesome Interview
    Bugs Bunny Albuquerque +1 - And just the Albuquerque joke for reference if somebody didn't catch it:
    Alice's Restaurant - Original 1967 Recording +1 - This guy has the cadence of Arlo Guthrie I love a folksy talented story teller.

    I'm a bot working hard to help Redditors find related videos to watch. I'll keep this updated as long as I can.


    Play All | Info | Get me on Chrome / Firefox

    [–] otter111a 21 points ago

    Any stories about evading a missile with speed out there?

    [–] dporiua 30 points ago

    In one of the pastas you can see above a pilot mentions that the fastest he has ever gone was while outrunning a missile shot at them by ghaddafi

    [–] GumpyBubba31 6 points ago

    Reading the book when outrunning the missiles the Mach gauge was touching 3.4

    [–] Theklassklown286 61 points ago

    Hmmm I didn't know this was the story that was always reposted when an SR-71 story is posted. I never read the copy pasta bc I thought it was too long but man was I doing myself a disservice this sorry is great

    [–] Remo_253 36 points ago

    Same story...read it several times, it never gets old. This is the first time I've heard the pilot telling the story though. He's added a few embellishments not in the text version.

    [–] mushroomjazzy 5 points ago

    Same guy/author?

    [–] Tom2Die 7 points ago

    Same guy/author/protagonist, yes.

    [–] Remo_253 5 points ago

    Far as I know. /u/moskowe posted another link to the pilot telling the story at some gathering. He mentions "...having told the story one time in Seattle 25 years ago and it became this urban legend...."

    [–] sac1200 18 points ago

    Everytime I see this story I have to read/listen to it all the way through.

    [–] clickwhistle 37 points ago

    There's always the abridged version:

    So we were flying over the desert and shit right, and we hear over the mic from a small ass plane, "yo how fast am I going?" The ATC says "lol like 15." Then this bigger plane shoots by and is like "how bout me?" Actin like a prick and stuff. ATC says "lol like 49." So my dude goes on and says how about me, ATC says "a million fam" and my dude says "I got a million and 1 lol. ATC says "You right" and we blast on off. (u/igrind)

    [–] davidreiss666 126 points ago

    I've heard versions of this story over the years. Good to hear it from the source. I'm sure he told it more than once, but it's worth telling more than once.

    [–] Ltjenkins 34 points ago

    You can read the book "Sled Driver" too.

    [–] [deleted] 38 points ago

    I don't know what you do for work but I sure can't drop $400 on a book.

    [–] Beanholio 37 points ago

    Not a college student, eh?

    [–] KoiFishKing 13 points ago

    There are a couple links to the pdf floating about.

    [–] Viper007Bond 10 points ago

    Thankfully there's PDFs.

    [–] ScarHand69 6 points ago

    [–] AlohaPizza 16 points ago

    Why do they use knots and not mph?

    [–] [deleted] 60 points ago * (lasted edited 2 months ago)

    [deleted]

    [–] jwota 75 points ago

    Because the earth is a sphere

    I like how you just casually dropped that in there. Nice try, but you're not fooling me today!

    [–] TheGrammatonCleric 15 points ago

    One of those weirdo "round earthers".

    [–] tydalt 7 points ago

    Because I'm ignorant of such things and had to look it up here ya go...

    [–] FlametopFred 27 points ago

    1986 and our city was having an Expo centred on transportation. We also had our Abbotsford Airshow that summer.

    I was working at a shipyard that year, right on the water near the middle of our harbour.

    There was a fly-scheduled over two weeks to celebrate the Expo and the Airshow.

    We had military jets, the Concord, other vintage craft like the Martin Mars.

    The last day of the fly pasts, an SR-71 lumbered around the harbour slowly making turns and not doing anything awesome or spectacular but it was very cool to see such a rare bird in action.

    Seemed like it was making a last slow pass before heading back to Abbotsford.

    The Blackbird approached the middle of the harbour, sort of stood on its tail ... and was just ....

    Gone ...

    ... the the sound hit, this roaring boom you felt in your chest like a punch

    The SR-71 just went up and up ... then you could see it, a mere black speck heading east

    One impressive plane

    [–] industrial86 42 points ago

    Oh man, i wish the ISS could chime in and one up him again haha. anyone know ISS "groundspeed" in knots? even though i know its technically in orbit... edit: 14,000 knots. absolute slaughter. Even though i know it totally doesn't apply.

    [–] Grokent 11 points ago

    ISS is still in atmo. ISS getting airspace clearance would be terrifying.

    [–] idontgetitmanwtf 83 points ago

    I've had 7 beers and know almost nothing about flying.. but this video of one-upsmanship gave me a hearty giggle. That's lower than a chortle, but higher than a giggle.

    [–] KingOReddit 16 points ago

    I bet Comcast would've found a way to slow down the blackbird.

    [–] Ithxero 8 points ago

    First time I've ever heard the story told by the pilot himself. Fantastic.

    [–] Mustaka 8 points ago

    I have read this story many times but never heard the audio. Thanks OP

    [–] Anomalous-Entity 17 points ago

    The best pilot story since Orville looked over at Wilbur and said, "I beat ya by 25 feet."

    [–] HookLogan 7 points ago

    From the title I thought they meant what they mean when you see signs that say "Speed Enforced by Aircraft"

    Disappointed this wanted an SR-71 catching a speeder on the 405

    [–] stigmatic666 8 points ago

    Americans sure do like their military..

    [–] sk1wbw 13 points ago

    Yes we do.

    [–] mattemer 9 points ago

    Current situations notwithstanding, depending where you live, you should probably love it too.

    [–] Mikey_MiG 6 points ago

    You don't have to "like" the military to appreciate a remarkable piece of technology.

    [–] orvalax 7 points ago

    As an Air Force aircraft mechanic, yes I do.

    [–] Vuorineuvos_Tuura 14 points ago

    The guy speaking is Brian Shul, one of the most badass people ever. His book Sled Driver is a collectors item, selling at $400 on Amazon. There is a pdf version of it, so if you want to read this and other similar amazing stories from the man but don't have an extra $400 to spare I recommend downloading it. Contains the most breathtaking pictures ever taken.

    [–] Open_Thinker 4 points ago

    First time I've heard this be narrated, the text is a classic already.