I drive past the one on display in New York on the way to one of my customers. I wonder if it will *ever* stop looking like the coolest thing that ever flew?
And maybe, with the help of this exhaustive (160 pages!) book, me & the boys will get it started up and take it out for a ride.
Jim - this is a tremendous find! Now I'll be up all night reading it, but i
t ought to give me more than enough info to get the bird off the ground. Th
e really hard part is that it's on the deck of an aircraft carrier which is
, in my estimation, somewhat shorter than the required 8,500 feet to get th
e thing in the air. Of course, we could fire up the catapult, but that's a
whole other can of worms.
Seriously, though, this is going to be some interesting reading, and it WIL
L keep me up at night. Thanks for the link.
Used to work in Nevada City, east of Beal AFB. One day heading back to
the shop from a nearby eatery, happened to look up and saw one glide by
on approach. I swear, it made not a sound, and if I'd never seen one
before, might have thought it a UFO at first glance. Flat black, silent,
and moving very fast for a low altitude aircraft.
I do have, btw, a Haynes Shuttle manual, just in case I ever run across
a deal on a used one...
Jim - this is a tremendous find! Now I'll be up all night reading it,
but it ought to give me more than enough info to get the bird off the
ground. The really hard part is that it's on the deck of an aircraft
carrier which is, in my estimation, somewhat shorter than the required
8,500 feet to get the thing in the air. Of course, we could fire up
the catapult, but that's a whole other can of worms.
Seriously, though, this is going to be some interesting reading, and
it WILL keep me up at night. Thanks for the link.
I wonder if the pilots really memorize and strictly observe all those
temperature restrictions and limits. The CIT limit of 427C is easy if
you're into hot Chevys but the others would confuse me, and I have
four temperature readouts visible from this chair to monitor and
respond to; indoors, outdoors, the basement wood stove and a pot
heating on it.
Years ago I hired a (near) kid fresh out of Air Force who had served as
air traffic controller at Kadena while the Blackbirds were stationed
there. He said (amongst other stories) they had only a _very_ limited
time of a few minutes to get traffic cleared and them off the ground
before they leaked so much fuel they wouldn't have enough to get to the
refueling rendezvous point. It took getting to airspeed and resulting
friction heating to expand and seal the tanks, apparently.
I worked at Offutt AFB as a contractor for almost 30 years. I was fortunate
several times to be on base for a lot of one time events. One of them is
when the Blackbird destined for the SAC museum flew in for its final flight.
We all knew it was coming that day so it kinda felt like a pending air show.
When he finally came in you could see his smoke trail what seemed 15 miles
out. He came in with the landing gear down and when they just skimmed the
runway he poured the cobs to it. I was facing him about a half mile from
the end of the runway. I heard him then felt him. And then he was past me
over my head. Anybody that's heard a fighter jet scorch past you knows that
noise. Square it.
He did at least a dozen repeats. We thought it was the pilot saying it was
his plane and he's not giving it up. Later we found out he was to use up
fuel until only the reserve was left. The fire dept didn't want to clean a
big leaking mess.
A few times when I was on afternoon shift at NASA's Glenn Research Center,
I helped out on the F-106 recovery team. The FAA required the F106 to have
either an arresting cable or net when the runway was shorter than some amou
nt, and Cleveland Hopkins was on the list.
So the crew set out an arresting cable held off the runway on 6" diameter r
ubber pucks. The commercial aircraft were wary of it, many times they would
ask control what they were about to taxi over. We had no arresting energy
system, so the cable was hooked to a huge chain buried in asphalt. The link
s were probably 12" long made of 2" bar stock. the chain was several hundre
d feet long, and the asphalt trench ran along either side of the runway. Af
ter the 106 landed, we unhooked its chute and packed it and the cable in ou
One time were were sitting there listening to Cliff (our pilot) call out po
sitions. He was over western New York which meant he was only a few minutes
away. Finally we saw him coming in over the fence, nose held high (they la
nded hot and blind), when we heard, "no gear locked indicator". At that mom
ent the 106 rotated to near vertical and Cliff went full AB right over our
position. Holy crap! I can only imagine what the SR 71 sounded like.
We had the GASP hung on the belly of the 106 (Global Air Sampling Program)
and we tracked the ash cloud from Mt St Helens until it dissipated over Eur
I'm not sure about that. While I wasn't in the SR-71 Squadron at Beal
we did do a certain amount of support work for them, and our Squadron
Commander even went through the up-grading program and was qualified
on them. I never heard that they allowed fuel leaks.
But, depending on a lot of things they might have been taking off with
minimum fuel which would limit their time on the ground.
Well, I always wondered but he swore was true. So, I just did some
looking and whaddya' know...
"In order for the SR-71 to fly the worldwide missions, it has a special
fleet of modified KC-135Q tankers for refueling. SR-71s run on JP-7
fuel, that fills the six large tanks in the fuselage. The component
parts of the Blackbird fit very loosely together to allow for expansion
at high temperatures. At rest on the ground, fuel leaks out constantly,
since the tanks in the fuselage and wings only seal at operating
temperatures. There is little danger of fire since the JP-7 fuel is very
stable with an extremely high flash point."
From the page at
He said when it came time to roll 'em out, _everything_ else other than
perhaps an immediate emergency landing took second fiddle 'til they were
airborne (and if that aircraft could make one more fly around, it'd
probably wait, too! ;) ).
Having been an air traffic controller, his tendency to not hesitate in
making a decision was certainly quite out of the norm of most young
engineers who had just graduated and taken their first employment (he
had dropped out and done his tour prior to returning to school and, this
time, doing well in getting his degree with honors). I became quite
accustomed to "Please stand by!" when he was engrossed in a task and I
wanted something. :)
Yes, I read that but when the SR's first came to Beal the squadron was
not fully manned and we (SAC) provided some basic support -
sheetmetal, welding, machine shop, hydraulic, etc. What the A.F.
called Field Maintenance. I have been near them when they start but
never say any fuel drizzling out of them. But, they did fly a lot of
short, say 30 minute, flights which would mean that they had a very
small fuel load aboard. The Take off, climb to altitude and refuel was
a fairly standard technique as a jet engine uses a huge amount of fuel
at low altitudes so taking off with a very light fuel load and then
refuel at some intermediate altitude was pretty standard. The B-52's
did it on all long missions and I assume that is what the SR's did
also as they flew Beal to Okinawa in one jump.
Not to make light of anything but controlling the local flight pattern
is a pretty routine practice. When the U-2's landed or took off they
cleared the pattern and the main runway had pickup trucks running up
and down it. When the F-4's practiced tail hook landings they cleared
the pattern, when the B-52's took off, one airplane every 60 seconds,
they cleared the pattern.