Checked off a huuuge bucket list item a few weeks ago...

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by drummer4468, Sep 23, 2022.

  1. drummer4468

    drummer4468 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    My job sent me out to CA for a couple of weeks, so of course I couldn't help but explore in my downtime. Naturally, I looked up the display locations for SR-71s(nothing anywhere near me in the northeast) and came across March Field Air Museum.

    Man...I've seen all of the videos, read the books, watched all of Maj Shul's speeches....and still I was rendered utterly speechless when I walked in the door and stood in its silent, stoic beauty. You couldn't beat my inner six-year-old's smile off my face with a pipe wrench as I walked around it, mouth agape. It took the mustered up willpower of every fiber of my being to heed the abundant "DO NOT TOUCH THE AIRCRAFT" signage, and not to lay my hand on it just once. This plane just...exudes such a powerful presence. A sense of speed, of engineering marvel, even having sadly not flown in three decades. We built this bird 60 friggin years ago.

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    "The Buick"
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    Even a cold shower didn't help afterward, had to run to the nearest flight school and check out in a DA40 just to scratch the aviation itch a little.
     

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    Last edited: Sep 23, 2022
  2. eman1200

    eman1200 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Bro do you even lift
    would have been way cooler if it actually had those ground effect lights and a coupl’a kickers.
     
  3. Timbeck2

    Timbeck2 Final Approach

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    I wish all of you could have seen it fly. I’m lucky to have been able to watch it for 5 years. Double lucky to be in the air on my second solo in a 152 and get kicked out of the pattern while it did some pattern work. At night that flame out the back on take off is something to see. And it stays in burner until it blends in with the stars and you can no longer hear it.
     
  4. guest user

    guest user Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I've had the opportunity to see an A-12 and an SR-71 in museums. Absolutely beautiful birds. The SR-71 (US Air Force Museum, Dayton OH) had a nose module that was designed to allow different missions beside it. Very impressive when you consider the missions they went on, etc.
     
  5. WDD

    WDD En-Route

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    I love how it had to be built with Titanium, and the only source with enough at the time was the USSR. They formed a dummy corporation that bought it from the Russians who didn't figure out what it was going to really be used for.
     
  6. Tantalum

    Tantalum Final Approach

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    The March museum is fantastic and underappreciated, glad you enjoyed it!!
     
  7. geezer

    geezer Line Up and Wait

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    Steam guages are not adequate if you have a high performance plane?
    Unless you are a true high performance pilot.

    The incredible sleekness is in stark contrast to the cockpit instrumentation. I have seen them in museums that did not have the canopy open, or platform to see in, so your pictures are a first for me, thank you. All of your pictures are outstanding.

    I was in the Washington air traffic control room, at Dulles, and watched a data drop at Norfolk. They then made a left turn, and returned to the south. After the drop, they climbed to a more efficient altitude and a 4 digit speed. The turn took them north to Harrisburg PA, and west of Cumberland MD. I commented on the speed and altitude, the controller hit a few keys, and the data block disappeared. The Blackbird was still a myth then. The controller had no explanation for the apparent UFO speed and altitude! Years later, I learned of the data drop system, and delivery to CIA.

    I have had the privilege of talking with a Blackbird pilot, and he seemed to think that panel was completely adequate, although he did feel that monitoring the engines to keep them happy could have been better. Improved automation of the thrust management continued through the years, and the famous "backfires" became less of a problem.

    I have been told that the ones in museums are complete except for intelligence packages, and could be returned to service if needed.
     
  8. Rgbeard

    Rgbeard En-Route

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    now I am sad. I was right at the March museum this past weekend but family needs had us driving by vs stopping.

    Need to adjust priorities.
     
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  9. Jeff Oslick

    Jeff Oslick En-Route PoA Supporter

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    What are the snakes painted on the side? The number of SAMs fired at it and missed?
     
  10. soilboy

    soilboy Filing Flight Plan

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    I was a firefighter in the Air Force, stationed at RAF Mildenhall 1974 - 1976. The SR 71 started flying from there during that time. When the hangar was built and the plane was set to arrive our department was given extra training on the fueling operations. We were told the plane would be fueled in the hangar and the plane crew chief would do the fueling. We were also told that he would be filling the Triethylborane tanks. Triethylborane is pyrophoric, so it ignites upon contact with oxygen. It was used to ignite the JP-7. The demonstration we had included them pouring some of it on the ground where it ignited. We were told if the crew chief bailed off the plane while fueling and came running from the hangar, just back up and let it burn, because our foam would not be able to extinguish the fire.
     
  11. Timbeck2

    Timbeck2 Final Approach

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    The missions were flown out of Kadena Air Base, Okinawa. That’s where I was stationed. The SR-71 was called the Habu, which is a venomous snake on the island. Now I don’t know which missions warranted a Habu painted on the airplane because I’m sure a lot more missions were flown than there are snakes.
     
  12. Jeff Oslick

    Jeff Oslick En-Route PoA Supporter

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    Cool - I might have heard that plane at some point. Lived in Seoul in '83-'84, and would frequently hear the Blackbirds make their run up north. Sonic boom, and then maybe 30-40 minutes later the boom on the return.
     
  13. drummer4468

    drummer4468 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I'll forever be jealous of those who have gotten to see it fly. I still hold out a tiny foolish shred of hope that someday, over the rainbow, they'll get one back in the air for a few demo flights or something. Hell, I'd settle for one hi-def video. I was also stationed on Oki for a few years and heard tons of stories. Including those of the MPs having to patrol all of the planespotters and confiscate their film.

    Oh, I loved it. Fantastic is an understatement, I was very surprised at the number and variety of aircraft they had on the display ramp, I'll post more photos shortly. I wish I'd have stayed longer, if only it wasn't 115 degrees out.

    That would be my guess, I haven't been able to track down the origin of those decals yet. Either SAM misses, MiGs outrun, or pilots that flew that particular plane out of Oki.
     
  14. L J Donelson

    L J Donelson Pre-takeoff checklist

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    There is an A-12 parked in front of the US Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville and clearly visible to drivers on the interstate passing by. I've taken many friends by to see it when they visit and all say they had no idea! It's an amazing aircraft.

    That's a great website to peruse if you are interested in seeing all about the Blackbird.
     
  15. flyingron

    flyingron Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    A few years ago at Sun and Fun I got to hang with a bunch of SR-71 pilots (we were accompanying an SR-71 flightsuit that was on loan from the Smithsonian for the event). Amusing is that there was a lot of security between the two cockpits. The pilots were just told where to fly. The guy in back knew the mission's intelligence target. Amusingly, there was no intercom. There is a light in the back seat that says "The pilot has departed the aircraft, you should consider ejecting, too." The pilot says the missions always involved something called NIIRS that he never knew what it stood for. I piped up that it was the National Imagery Interpretability Rating Score, something I spent a lot of my career working on.
     
  16. Pinecone

    Pinecone Pattern Altitude

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    And a non-standard instrument layout. WAY not standard. HSI is above the AI.
     
  17. Tantalum

    Tantalum Final Approach

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    If you are ever there on a quiet day and find a willing docent they can open up some of the planes outside on the ramp..! I've had an obsession with the C-119 Flying Boxcar forever and it was a real treat to get to climb up inside one and sit left seat. Such a beast

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  18. Tscottme

    Tscottme Filing Flight Plan

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    There is a nice YouTube video from Erik Johnson called "SR-71 Cockpit Checkout".
    Also Peninsula Seniors has a great YouTube channel with lots of retired pilots and engineers, etc form the Southern California aerospace industry. There are several SR-71 presentations.
     
  19. Tscottme

    Tscottme Filing Flight Plan

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    There are SR-71s at the Museum of the USAF near Dayton, Warner-Robbins Museum Warner Robbins, GA, and the SAC Museum in Ashland, NE. Hill AF Museum near Ogden, UT also has an SR-71. The USAF museum in Dayton also has the very rare XB-70 bomber and X-15 research aircraft.
     
  20. Timbeck2

    Timbeck2 Final Approach

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    that’s how we knew it was about to fly. We’d see all the Japanese photographers outside the fence. There were also a lot of “fishing boats” near the base.
     
  21. rtk11

    rtk11 Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    Thank you! I had NO idea that a SR-71 was at the March Field Air Museum! And I've lived out in SoCal all my life! D'oh! That is now a "must visit" location for me!
     
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  22. woywoyboy

    woywoyboy Pre-Flight

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    There's also an SR-71 at Castle Air Museum at the old Castle AFB site at Atwater, CA, in the Central Valley. It's a great museum to visit, but, sadly, you can't see into the SR-71's cockpit, just walk around the plane itself. There's a lot of other good planes at the museum, including (among a bunch of others) a Vulcan, a B-58, a B-29, and my fave, a B-36. Well worth spending a day visiting the place if you're in Northern or Central California, but most of the exhibits are outdoors, so at this time of year it's going to be hot and sunny….

    And, of course, you can fly in to Atwater (KMER) and easily walk to the museum, something I've done myself but not for a few years.
     
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  23. Southpaw

    Southpaw Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    I lived in Merced back in the mid 60's . We had tons of "Federal Impact Funds" available for the new high school shops then. My wood shop was totally equipped with Oliver Industrial equipment .Amazing equipment .
    When they scrambled the B52s off, all class room instruction ceased as the noise was incredible.
     
  24. Peter Anderson

    Peter Anderson Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Castle is a great place to visit. Their museum has a ton of amazing aircraft. They also have open cockpit days twice a year where u can get in the seat of a blackbird and many other planes. Come check it out sometime!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
     
  25. flyingron

    flyingron Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    There's one at Udvar-Hazy as seen in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.
     
  26. Skip Miller

    Skip Miller Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    I went to High School in Suffield, CT, on the extended centerline of KBDL runway 6. The B-52s at Westover AFB (now KCEF) used to depart KCEF and touch and gos at KBDL. They would overfly the school with all 8 screaming! All activity stopped. The sound of freedom, indeed!

    -Skip
     
  27. woywoyboy

    woywoyboy Pre-Flight

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    I'll Bet :). I've only been under a bunch of departing B52s once (in the UK, a long time ago), and that was louder than Concorde, which is saying something…
     
  28. woywoyboy

    woywoyboy Pre-Flight

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    And, indeed, it turns out the next open cockpit day is this October 8! I didn't know you could get into the SR-71, but that makes it an even more attractive event. Definitely worth going to, whether you can get to one of the open cockpit days or just the normal displays…
     
  29. TipTanks

    TipTanks Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I have seen the one in the Seattle Museum.... very cool to see in the flesh. Still leaking Jet A out of the tanks, onto the ground. Awesome.
     
  30. Warlock

    Warlock Pattern Altitude

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    Got to see it depart the Paris Airshow in 1989…never realized at the time how special an event that would be in my Aviation Journey…
     
  31. Kitch

    Kitch Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Very cool pics. There is a blackbird on display at the Cosomsphere in Hutchinson KS. Very cool to see even before I was an airplane geek.
     
  32. GaryM

    GaryM Pattern Altitude

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  33. Tantalum

    Tantalum Final Approach

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    hey it came from the ground in the first place, so no harm there :D
     
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  34. Pinecone

    Pinecone Pattern Altitude

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    Not Jet A. SR ran on JP-7
     
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  35. Shepherd

    Shepherd Final Approach

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    I used to watch them launch at Eglin and in Thailand.
    The sound from the engines felt like a punch in the chest.
     
  36. Archer Jack

    Archer Jack Pre-takeoff checklist

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    What a world! The amount of money we spent building those things and flying them to take some pictures that any kid with a laptop and Google Earth can now see from his mom's basement. Gotta love it. Btw, we spent a summer at Castle in 62 while my dad did his training for KC-135 after transitioning from KC-97's. Good times.
     
  37. Pinecone

    Pinecone Pattern Altitude

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    U-2, SR-71, and Government satellite images are MUCH better than Google Earth
     
  38. X3 Skier

    X3 Skier En-Route PoA Supporter

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    USAF Museum at WPAFB also has a YF-12A.

    The Museum has views of the YF-12A and SR-71 cockpits on their web site. https://www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/

    C
    heers
     
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  39. Ghery

    Ghery Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I saw that one back in 2019. There are SR-71s that I've seen at the Museum of Flight at KBFI and one at the museum in McMinnville, Oregon. The one at the Museum of Flight has the drone on top of it, as well.
     
  40. skier

    skier Line Up and Wait

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    I had to do some Googling after that statement. Some of the statements I found online about the SR-71's camera capability:
    • The TEOC camera could shoot pictures with a 6'' resolution from the operational altitude of the SR-71.
    • The resolution of the TEOC camera was good enough to identify a human face at 15 miles
    The U-2's camera had a resolution of 2.5 feet from 60,000 ft.

    Those are all insane capabilities. Makes you wonder what the current state technology is.